Looking for work as a violinist, Josef comes into the orbit of a rich young woman. She introduces him to a hedonistic existence free from religious intolerance. Josef gets an incredible commission: to write an opera for the San Carlo.
The film itself is excellent. It has a slightly different angle on straight biographical narrative which is fine enough, but where it excels is in the mood, that is in the sense of contemporary space, such that we feel drawn into the scenes. This is as much in the writing as in the production which feel authentic. The time devoted to the actual music is well made and the music is strong; the set pieces around opera work especially well, not just for the staging but the singing too.
An artist's life is not predictable, nor often very easy, and Myslivecek's career exemplifies this arc in spades. He lived fast and easy for many years and then it didn't, but he may be unique in enduring a pompous lecture from a royal patron while the said royal moved his bowels. That particular scene does punctuate the quality of mood and moment that this film does very well.
For anyone interested in biography and classical music, this is highly recommended.
Official submission of Czech Republic for the 'Best International Feature Film' category of the 95th Academy Awards in 2023