Callas Forever

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Maria Callas died a recluse in Paris at 53, heart and will apparently broken by Aristotle Onassis’ desertion. Occasional concerts after her retirement showed the voice, never especially beautiful, had become a wreck. Here, Zeffirelli, the diva’s friend and collaborator, weaves a fantasy about those last years in which Callas is persuaded to mime a film of ‘Carmen’ to her old recording. She ultimately decides it’s untruthful and forbids its release. The result is a multinational mish-mash for the woman’s mag market. We’re deep in Zeffirelli-land here – youths are comely, lads are likely, decor is kitsch, and dialogue is drowned by the thud of cliché hitting earth. Fanny Ardant fleetingly resembles the Greek-American soprano when coiffed and hatted, while Jeremy Irons’s opera-loving millionaire rock-promoter is as likely as Joan Plowright waddling pensionably through the role of a hotshot columnist. Young men smoulder, Callas smoulders, her cigarillo smoulders, the bull smoulders – oh sorry, this Zeffirelli production uncharacteristically omits the livestock. But there’s still a lot of bullshit around.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday November 19 2004
Duration: 115 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Screenwriter: Martin Sherman, Franco Zeffirelli
Cast: Fanny Ardant
Jeremy Irons
Joan Plowright
Jay Rodan
Gabriel Garko
Manuel de Blas
Justino Diaz
Jean Dalric
Stephen Billington
Anna Lelio
Alessandro Bertolucci
Olivier Galfione
Roberto Sanchez
Achille Brugnini
Eugene Kohn
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