Callas Forever

Film

Time Out says

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.

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