The Concert Movie Review

Don’t let the awesomely bad excuse of a movie poster fool you (see image above – the borders are part of the poster *ugh*). The French movie industry actually did it. They produced The Concert, a movie that’s heartwarming and funny at the same time. And yeah, I am as surprised as you by that fact as I totally know the European movie industry normally cannot tell a good plot/story even if their life depends on it.

The plot revolves around Andrei Simoniovich Filipov (had to use IMDB to get the name right). He’s a former conductor of the Russian Bolshoi orchestra who’s now working as a cleaning man. This guy accidentally learns that a Paris theatre needs an orchestra. Without wasting a second he gathers his old musicians and sets off to France.

And as Filipov doesn’t waste a second The Concert doesn’t either. Basically all the stuff above happens in a mere five minutes with the exception of the back story. It’s almost a miracle to me that a European movie finally manages to get the actual plot start rolling without shoving the miserable life of the protagonist down my throat for hours. It starts with the opening montage, which is quite a clever feast by the way. We get introduced to the protagonist in a way which made us all in the audience believe he’s a conductor. It’s just at the end of the credits we learn he’s in fact not. But before we can even start to think he’s an amateur the plot reveals that Filipov not is but was a conductor. And only seconds after we are at the first plot point which starts the main plot of the movie. It’s one of the rare European movies I’ve seen which is told that fast. The director really doesn’t waste a single frame of film.

The rest of the plot mainly is about getting Filipov’s old musical comrades and preparing for the concert. Well, the preparation doesn’t really happen at all as all the musicians use their chance to start a life in France. Yep, somehow they get a job in some mere hours, but that’s not really important here. The thing is that Filipov’s more or less without an orchestra trying to fulfill his dream and trying to finish what he’s begun thirty years ago. Of course that leads to a lot of emo and angst. It’s exactly those scenes that dragged most to me.

Somehow I get the feeling her neck is photoshopped

Somehow I get the feeling her neck is photoshopped

It’s not that those scenes are bad. But watching some people sit on a table in a sitcom like fashion and reminiscing about their lives is not that thrilling after I’ve witnessed scenes of almost total absurdity and fun. Well, at least we have those sad moments, too, and I am sure there are enough people out there who’ll love them.

If you’ve wondered why I didn’t mentioned any kind of musical preparations which is quite usual for an orchestra: there’s isn’t. The Concert manages to be about a concert all the time while avoiding this topic on an epic level. At first I thought this would end up as a disaster (hell, it’s like an action flick without action). But to my utter surprise it worked exceptionally well. The whole movie is about The One Concert. Nothing more nothing less. So it’s almost logical that The One And Only Concert has to be the first and final moment in which they actually play classical music. After all hardship and problems they faced in those slightly dragging drama moments, the second the misfits finally start playing felt  almost magical (I’m so sorry for not finding a better word) and satisfying. There was nothing I wished the writer should’ve added after this and that’s quite an accomplishment I think.

The Concert even goes full circle on a meta level: as at the beginning the director doesn’t waste a single frame or second at the end. When the performance is over and they’ve bowed to the audience, the movie is over as well.

And byohtheway: when checking out IMDB I found a review which smashed The Concert for being racist. Well, I cannot say the movie wasn’t full of racial stereotypes but I wouldn’t go that far to call that racist. In many ways it’s a comedy, after all, so it’s normal to reduce characters and nations to clichés. But I never felt those stereotypes where negative or bad because every character was written in a way you cannot do anything else t than liking them. So, in my eyes there’s no real problem. Hell, the Simpsons are full of clichés of Germany and Germans whenever you spot one on the screen. But you know what? I love those moments to death because they are so extremely funny. (For those who cannot differentiate a domain name extension even if their live depends on it: I am German)


If you feel the urge to watch a European movie, give The Concert a chance. The movie’s surprisingly well written and well directed movie, containing just the right doses of quirky fun, humor and a little bit of dragging drama.

Quirky fun and humor make this movie quite good.
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  • klaus kleinschmidt

    de? Das muss wohl Deutschland sein; meine alte Heimat. We viewed “The Concert” this afternoon at our retirement home [I was borne in 1934] and despite all the silly business enjoyed it; especially the concert itself – glorious recording of a very familiar piece. BUT, was the violinist fathered by the conductor 29 years ago or was he merely a foster parent – it would be more juicy if he was the father even if it’s not likely.

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