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The Last Rhapsody
(2011, feature, digital, colour, 75 min., Stereo)
Co-produced with France
Director of photography:
Utolsó rapszódia Ltd.
Catherine Film Sarl / FR
Péter Kálloy Molnár
The biographically-inspired film made in Hungarian-French co-production to crown the Liszt Year recalls the final days of Ferenc Liszt, a true celebrity of the 19th century, and his last love affair. It is based on the diary of Lina Schmalhausen.
In 1911, to mark the centenary of Ferenc Liszt’s birth and the 25th anniversary of his death, a Budapest theatre is preparing for the premiere of a play about the composer’s final days in Bayreuth. Suddenly a mysterious woman appears at one of the rehearsals, asserting that the play does not correspond to reality, that Liszt did not die in the manner known from various novels and recollections. The actors want to learn the truth, and so the woman reveals the painfully beautiful relationship between Liszt and one of his last students, Lina Schmalhausen, which lasted from the middle of the 1870s to his death.
The captivating film is set in three different periods of time – 1886, the year Liszt died, the preceding ten years and 1911 – in Bayreuth and Budapest. It also recalls Liszt’s friendship with Richard Wagner.
The Last Rhapsody
is an exciting, fast-moving and heart-rending film rich with deep emotions. It recalls the final days in the life of one of history’s greatest composers and the eternal mystery of the relationship between artist and muse. It is a story of passionate love, death and immortality and of unconditional devotion.
The director brings Ferenc Liszt’s final days close to the audience, with both historical authenticity and emotion.
The film-maker’s primary task is to entertain the public – at the highest standard that each requires. With this film viewers also learn about a tragic, concealed period of Ferenc Liszt’s life, the story of his unfortunate death and the tale of his last great love, as reflected in the meeting and passionate relationship of Artist and Muse.
” Bence Gyöngyössy
Montreal The World Film Festival