This week, I will offer a short list of movies and series about music. Unfortunately I don’t have enough space to list all of them, so I’ll give priority to some of my personal favorites.
Mozart in the Jungle
“Mozart in the Jungle” is a web television series from Amazon Studios inspired by the book “Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs and Classical Music,” written by oboist Blair Tindall.
The series focuses on two characters: the (fictional) New York Symphony’s new conductor Rodrigo De Souza (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) and the young and promising oboist Hailey Rutledge (played by Lola Kirke).
In the series’ first season, the main plot revolves around the New York Symphony’s preparation for its new concert season with new conductor Rodrigo, and new substitute oboist Hailey’s musical and personal life and her relationship with Rodrigo. However, what makes this series unique is neither its plot nor its characters. It’s the music – because music is also one of the main characters, instead of just a theme playing in the background. During the 25 minutes of an average episode, you see – and hear – the orchestra playing or rehearsing a symphony, a character practicing a piece, a composer writing a new work, people talking about music. There are no big plots, no stressful moments and no overly dramatic scenes.
So if you like classical music and want to feel relaxed and happy instead of nervous or stressed while watching a series, you should definitely give “Mozart in the Jungle” a shot.
Whether to create music for other people or for yourself is a problem musicians often face. Would you give up your own musical style in order to make popular music, or would you prefer playing music you like in front of only five people? “Frank” is an English movie centered around this question. During the movie we witness the journey of an experimental rock band led by the very talented musician/composer Frank, who always wears a mask.
After their keyboardist has a breakdown and attempts suicide, the remaining members of the band invite a new keyboardist to join them. Although the band is not popular and has a musical style quite outside the mainstream, the new keyboardist thinks the ensemble can become very popular by taking full advantage of Frank’s talents, especially if he too can learn the secret of Frank’s musical abilities and become equally talented himself.
Inside Llewyn Davis
“Inside Llewyn Davis” has a different stylistic tone than most other movies about music. It has the soul of a black-and-white film inside an illusory, multicolored shell. It’s not a success story, simply aiming to make the audience happy. Instead, it’s like a folk song. It shows you something worth fighting for, it offers you hope but not necessarily an ideal future – because folk is about the past, about what used to be, about home.
Llewyn Davis is a struggling folk singer living in New York City’s Greenwich Village. He has lost his former musical partner, his solo album isn’t selling, and he’s sleeping on a friend’s couch. “Inside Llewyn Davis” follows one week in this period of his life – with all its love, disappointment, dedication, melancholy and folk music.