by Leticia Marie Sanchez
Mozart’s Sister, directed by René Féret, presents a behind-the-scenes look at the life of the Mozart family: ambitious patriarch Leopold, his doting wife Anna-Maria, and his gifted children Woofgang and Nannerl (played by Feret’s daughter, Marie). The film contrasts the exterior aspect of the musical family, including the children’s performances at court with an interior portrait of a family who engages in pillow fights at bed-time, and more sinisterly, the unyielding favoritism that Leopold showed his young son. The rigid Leopold squelches his young daughter’s talents by not only refusing her an education, but by falsely telling her that her compositions (which he passes off as those of Wolfgang) lack merit. The mistreatment of Nannerl was not unusual at the time. In his book “The Other Mendelssohn,” Larry Todd describes the life of another talented and relatively unknown composer, Fanny Mendelssohn, sister of Felix.
It is fitting that the talented young Nannerl composes pieces in a minor key. Melancholy permeates her character, and the dark cinematography symbolises the shadows to which she is relegated.
A dose of light-hearted Shakespearean cross-dressing adds a dose of intrigue, and Nannerl’s new found chum Princess Louise (played with vivacity by Feret’s real life sister, Lisa) allows a flower of friendship to flourish between two passionate young women confined by the walls of the court, the church, and their fathers.
Photo: Real Life Sisters Lisa Feret and Marie Feret, playing Louise De France and Nannerl Mozart
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