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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 April 2017
I purchased this heart rending film purely for the exquisite Baroque music and was not disappointed with it.
Although extremely fictionalised, adding bucket loads of dramatic licence, the film does take us into the sad
world of the castrati, and the barbaric practice of emasculating boy choristers so that their voices might
continue to please the musical cognoscenti of the day.
Stefano Dionisi plays the starring role of Carlo Broschi (1705-1782) the Farinelli of the title, who is castrated
by his own brother, so that the brother Ricardo, a would be composer might achieve fame.
Most of what we see in the film is complete fiction, the portrayal of Handel as an antagonist, the sexual
shenanigans and so on, but the film does deal with some of the fears hopes and aspirations of the castrati.

The music for the film was created by digitally merging separate recordings of a soprano and countertenor
to recreate an approximation of how a Castrato might sound. Farinelli was known for being able to give
great ornamentation to particular arias and was known as the greatest castrato of his day, his rendition
of " Lascia ch'io pianga" by Handel being particularly heavenly.
The film is a sad but interesting account of life at the time with beautiful costumes and exquisite music.

Released in 1995.
106 minutes viewing time.
The language of the film is French and Italian
Subtitled in English
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on 23 March 2017
Contrary to the other reviews, I thought the acting was not particularly brilliant and at times downright wooden. There isn't much depth to the characters, in any case. Neither is there much of a story. I suppose if you are very well acquainted with his life anyway, then this film will just highlight a few of his experiences for you. However, for someone who is more or less new to him, the film doesn't explain much of anything, to be honest. Most of the time I didn't have a clue why he was where he was. For instance, his stay with Philip of Spain (one of the very few things I knew about him) wasn't explained at all. In short, as a biography (if that is what it was meant to be) a complete flop. All in all, a very odd film, very flat - so, to me at least, hugely disappointing.
The only reason I'm giving it three stars is because the music and singing are breathtaking. Can't think how they managed that. I had tears in my eyes at one point. And the scenery, clothes, houses etc, were beautiful.
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on 6 April 2017
Fascinating but historically bitty and probably largely inaccurate. However, a good bit of entertainment.
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on 4 February 2014
it passes a rainy evening well enough, yet lacks a true depth to the characters, although the music is just sublime
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on 9 March 2017
Fantastic!
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on 28 July 2015
Farinelli is a 1994 Belgian-Italian-French biographical drama film directed by Gérard Corbiau and starring Stefano Dionisi, Enrico Lo Verso, Elsa Zylberstein and Jeroen Krabbé. It centers on the life and career of the 18th-century Italian opera singer Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, considered the greatest castrato singer of all time; as well as the relation with his brother, composer Riccardo Broschi. Although based on real-life events, dramatic license was taken to a great extent, and only the basic facts of Farinelli's life are correct, while the plot line is completely fictional and far removed from what is known about real-life Carlo Broschi (1705-1782). For example, the ambiguous relationship between the Broschi brothers, the stormy one with rival composer Handel, and Farinelli's own amorous escapades and over-the-top rockstar attitude are totally spurious. Additionally, Farinelli's brother is given much more importance than he actually had in his brother's career, while Porpora's own (and that of other composers of the Neapolitan School as well) is de-emphasized; the movie also offers a different explanation for how Carlo Broschi came to take the stage name Farinelli than what has been historically ascertained. George Frideric Handel, played by Jeroen Krabbé, is made out to be somewhat of a villain, but that is based on the competition between the London theater at which Handel's music was played and the rival theater at which Farinelli sang for a short period It was released in 1994 and won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 1995. It was also nominated for an Academy Award in the same category..
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on 29 July 2013
Let's clear up one thing, the DVD which I was sent, did have English subtitles available (oddly enough, you had to go to Audio options to choose your subtitles). This is a story about love, the love of the two brothers for each other, the love of Alexandra for Farinelli, the love of music to name but a few, but each love is complicated by other factors. The whole film is a work of art, visually as well as musically, full of rich colours and and subtle depths of emotion. This is a film that will leave memories.
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on 21 March 2017
Love this book. A real insight.
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on 6 February 2013
Having ordered and attempted to play this Blu Ray (the Iif Home Video 110 min Blu Ray) I can confirm that THIS version ONLY has the following Audio Options

Audio - Italian or French
Subtitles - Italian or None

There is NO option, although the Amazon description states that there is, for either French or ENGLISH subtitles..

I have therefore been obliged to retrun the Blu Ray for a full refund
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on 29 December 2014
This disk was reluctant to play at first, but after a few tries at playing it on the PC it worked OK and would play in the DVD player as well. Some reviewers have said that they could not get French language audio or English subtitles, there was nothing but Italian. I had no trouble at all in finding the other audio/subtitle options. It may be that other people got a different version of the disk, or it may be that you have to be able to read (or guess) a few words in Italian before you can get to them. So if you buy it, don't give up right away. Its a great movie with fantastic music.
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