Projections - Movie Reviews

Bride of the Wind

Bride of the Wind

Bride of the Wind knows how to extravagantly dress itself up with a modest budget, but there is little beneath the lush showcasing around the purported ardent, grabbing life of Alma Mahler who inspired many diverse, important artists in Vienna at the turn of the 20th Century.  Her character would be perfect fodder for a Jackie Collins novel but Bruce Beresford's plodding biopic, while a stylish fin de siecle, doesn't admirably evoke the legacy of the female composer who bedded so many effete sophisticates.

Even fans of Collins' steamy novels wouldn't be pleased as the situations feel as wooden and stiff as many of the accents heard.  Alma was married thrice, the first to Gustav Mahler, played by Jonathan Pryce, and the real life composer offers a generous wealth of music that is as rich as the rest of Bride of the Wind is not.

The director of Driving Miss Daisy and Double Jeopardy does show much promise from the opening credits with historical black and white footage of Vienna fading into the crimson dressed Alma confidently strutting into a lush, hued ballroom from a monochromatic drawing parlor.  At the outset, there's no question that Alma has the means to savor Vienna's finest, in more ways than one.

Alma is played with a degree of petulance by Sarah Wynter (The 6th Day), formerly a model, and she strikingly resembles a red-headed Cate Blanchett, and with her pronounced Vienna accent, is sonorously similar to Blanchett's Russian refugee in The Man Who Cried.

Though Wynter ranges widely with sardonic wit and an uncommon subversive quality the young woman entering early adulthood doesn't make the viewer privy to how she stimulated a lot of renowned members of the arts.

The class of Jonathan Pryce as Mahler helps in the early sections of the film, subtly rendering the anguish and pride that befits a Jew who had a change of allegiance to Christianity in order to enhance his work as a musician.

Vincent Perea, who starred opposite Kim Basinger in last year's I Dreamed of Africa, provides some decent support as a strange expressionistic painter; Oskar Kokoschka, whose masterwork is the film's title and who helped bring fame to a woman who probably could find love from within the artistic passion which governed her lifestyle.

Essentially there are plenty of questions on what make up Alma who felt that all her male companions restricted her opportunity for creativity, as repression clashes with strong feminism in this lustrous but superficial tale that isn't far removed from the lavish Merchant / Ivory concurrent film The Golden Bowl.

Bride of the Wind

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