User Reviews (3)

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  • I saw this film a year ago in Italian and understood nothing. I loved it. Now I have finally seen it in English and understood everything. I now love it even more.

    In my opinion, the most beautiful part of Lezione Ventuno is the perfect pairing of incredible music with images that make the notes come to life more than ever before. Beethoven, Vivaldi, Rossini - their music is used to enfold the viewer in a world of shimmering sound. This might not seem that important to some, but seeing as how the movie itself is about Beethoven, music and beauty, I believe it to be the key to the whole production.

    The three stories interweave very well, each one complimenting the other and eventually coming together in resolution which was, to my mind, perfect in its tragedy. The story in the mountains had its moments of unexplained oddity, but on the whole was so visually stunning that I was willing to overlook it.

    I will admit that this movie seems to be very subjective as to whether one likes it or not. I loved it, but others have not been quite so entranced. Still, I suggest you watch the movie for yourself and make your own opinion.
  • Baricco -an amazing writer who has worked a lot on music- did in Lezione 21 a beautiful, compelling and touching essay about Beethoven's Ninth. With amazing images, obviously incredible music, and clarity, he takes the viewer in a trip through the most famous symphony of all times.

    I can understand why some were bored by the film. It is not a fictional film in itself, nor is it a documentary. It is a literary essay transformed into images and music, using every resource needed -beautiful photography and surprising scenes, vintage characters that explain their time, and a literary quality that few have achieved, all building an insightful, passionate explanation of music.

    Baricco did a film that is not essential for a movie lover, but it is a must for anyone who wants to fathom the importance, the beauty and the strength of Beethoven's Ninth.
  • ceche10 October 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    I'm not exactly a spoiler lover, however I feel there is a scene in this film I must describe to get to my point. If it's any consolation at all, the scene takes place very early on in the film, so I'm sure that will soften the blow. The scenario is a nocturnal view of a frozen plain: a small bunch of strange figures enter the frame, clad in long black mantles, as if they were coming straight out of Venice's world famous carnival, and, following the tempo of the background music, twirl harmoniously whilst carrying a coffin, at the centre of which a few candles are burning, creating the only source of light in the scene. The image is so chillingly haunting that it leaves you dumbstruck and appears to be setting the pace for a film dominated by the impetuous and mighty score borrowed from Beethoven's impressive repertoire, imposing itself as a painter of its own portrait through the big screen. Unfortunately, the audience is in for a disappointment: the film soon turns into practice material, a purely academic exercise set into motion by one who strives to reach intellectual perfection, pure theory concerning the chief systems of existence, and instead makes a false move, trapped by self-absorption and rhetoric. The characters are unpleasant, excessively loquacious and, what's most incomprehensible, given the seemingly glossy finesse spread throughout the whole film, really foul-mouthed, as if the audience thought they were going to see "Hustle and Flow". It's truly a shame that John Hurt had to be involved in all of this, because even his genuinely melancholic portrayal of eccentric professor Mondrian Kilroy is toned down by the pithy lines he has to deliver. All taken into account, Baricco's philosophical tour de force consists of nothing more than a far too carefully put together series of trivial symbolisms, deprived of a visceral bond with Beethoven's compositions, which in fact would have justified their basic nature. The music itself, cut and patched up at the director's will in the hope making the scenes more catchy, is never given the opportunity of becoming a stand-alone character in the story and remains an anonymous and disposable accessory. To tell the truth, it is in the extremely rare occasions in which Baricco puts aside his ego and allows a glimpse of music to shine by itself in a scene that what is dragged through an hour and three quarters without ever emerging finally takes place: pure and unconditional beauty. The choice is all yours...