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Film Description
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Film Title:
The Magic Flute

Programme: SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Country: United Kingdom/France
Year: 2006
Language: English
Time: 135 minutes
Film Types: Colour/HDCAM
Rating: 14A
The Magic Flute

SCREENING TIMES:  
Thursday, September 07    2:00 PM    VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN)  Buy tickets now
Friday, September 15    8:30 PM    VARSITY 8  Buy tickets now

Production Company : Idéale Audience 
Foreign Sales Agent : Celluloid Dreams 

Executive Producer: Stephen Wright
Producer: Pierre-Olivier Bardet
Screenplay: Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Fry, based on an opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Emanuel Schikaneder
Cinematographer: Roger Lanser
Editor: Michael Parker
Production Designer: Tim Harvey
Sound: James Conlon
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Principal Cast: Joseph Kaiser, Amy Carson, Benjamin Jay Davis, Lyubov Petrova, René Pape

On the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, Kenneth Branagh has adapted one of the composer's most famous operas for the screen. "The Magic Flute" was one of his last compositions and it has found a special place in the hearts and minds of audiences. Highly popular in its day, it was intended to be enjoyed by the ordinary people: Mozart wrote in the vernacular German, his native tongue, rather than the conventional Italian, the language of virtually all opera at the time. It was also full of elaborate Masonic imagery and allusions - a snub to the establishment and its traditions.

Branagh is no stranger to bringing fresh perspectives to bear on great classics. Here, he moves the action and familiar characters from the timeless, fairy-tale world of most productions to the trenches of the First World War, amidst the horror and mud of the Western Front. Tamino is wounded in a frightful battle and mercifully rescued by a trio of field nurses, while the endearing Papageno is a bird keeper who checks for gas in the trenches. It is not long before these two soldiers are dispatched on a daring mission to save Pamina, who has been abducted by Sarastro. Tamino has fallen instantly and hopelessly in love with her after seeing her photograph. What ensues hews to Mozart's captivating tale of two men seeking their respective loves and dealing with the trials that confront them along the way.

Written and reconceived by Branagh from a libretto adapted by Stephen Fry, Branagh has mounted this production in as provocative a manner as Mozart did in his time, not only through modern staging but also by having it performed in English. The film features James Conlon conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and a cast of rising young superstars including the Canadian tenor Joseph Kaiser, American baritone Benjamin Jay Davis and British soprano Amy Carson. If Branagh adapting Mozart might seem unlikely, he responds to the material magnificently, convincing us that this opera indeed benefits from a novel re-staging. Mozart's music has never sounded so timeless.

- Piers Handling

Kenneth Branagh was born in Belfast and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). An acclaimed actor and director, he is best known for his interpretations of Shakespeare's plays. He made his directorial debut in 1989 with Henry V and has since directed film adaptations of Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing (93), Hamlet (96) and Love's Labour's Lost (00). His other films as director include Dead Again (91), Peter's Friends (92), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (94) and A Midwinter's Tale, which played at the Festival in 1995. The Magic Flute (06) is his most recent film.

Associated with European Film Promotion,
an initiative supported by the
European Union’s MEDIA Programme.
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