Blue Note

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If you’re a fan of Ken Russell’s particular brand of stylistically dizzy biographies covering the lives of old-school classical composers, then you’re going to love The Blue Note, Zulawski’s outré ode to Frédéric Chopin (played here by concert pianist/first-time actor Janusz Olejniczak.) Simultaneously achieveing wistful and surrealistic tones, the film covers the last few days of fragile Chopin’s professional life, as well as the (ahem!) overzealous behavior from the phalanx of Chopin’s celebrity admirers. Set at a lush countryside estate, The Blue Note expertly drifts back and forth from tender “love triangle” mode to hyper-imaginary dream-like sequences, all aided by a near-constant beautiful stream of Chopin’s piano music on the soundtrack. As well, the film is one of Zulawski’s most personal projects, as Chopin’s Polish exile in France within the confines of the narrative mirrors Zulawski’s own similar post-’70s exile.

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