The Mostly Mozart Festival comes to Lincoln Center each summer. This year fans can also follow Mozart's journey in a new documentary. NY1's Stephanie Simon spoke with the filmmaker about the film and his journey as well.
We know the music; we think we know the man, but Mozart is more than “Amadeus,” the 1984 Oscar-winning film about the 18th century composer.
“Many people’s understanding of Mozart is based on ÎAmadeus,’” says director Phil Grabsky. “So, for example let me tell you that he was not poisoned by Salieri, who doesn’t even get a mention in the film, he doesn't die a pauper, he had a very loving relationship with his wife, which is not the way that it was portrayed in the film.”
In his new documentary, “In Search of Mozart,” Grabsky explores Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's extraordinary genius and his every day life.
“I just traveled around Europe to all the places he went to and I did 100 interviews and 80 live performances to try to get to get to grips with the real person,” says Grabsky.
This film follows Mozart from his first composition at age five until his death at 35. It's the first full-length documentary on the musician. It's just opened here in New York at Cinema Village.
“We've had cinema screenings worldwide, but this is very special for me because I was born in New York. I was born · in Far Rockaway,” says Grabsky. “That's why I've flown in from England to be here.”
“In Search of Mozart” follows the musician’s entire life: his music, his travels, his travails, but its creator says it’s not just a biopic, it's a mystery.
Based on his interviews and Mozart’s own letters to his family, Grabsky insists Mozart was not the eccentric bad boy portrayed in “Amadeus” and elsewhere. He often had money troubles, so to support his family he was constantly working.
“He's writing some of these piano concerti, that we now think as amongst the greatest ever written, he's writing them a week before a concert, because he needs something to play,” says Grabsky.
And, his music continues to be played, despite constant predictions that the genre is dying.
“Everyone listens to Mozart; everybody hears Mozart. It's on our mobile phones, our cell phones,” says Grabsky.
What we may forget is that even the world's most exalted geniuses are still very human.
In Search of Mozart
Now Playing at Cinema Village
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University Place & Fifth Avenue
— Stephanie Simon