VSL// A terrific movie about music, secrets, love and communism

It’s hard to define just what kind of movie The Concert (in select theaters 7/30) is: a screwball comedy, a heartstring-tugging drama or an ode to the enthrallment of music? In fact, it manages to be all these things.

The focus of the film is Andreï Filipov (Aleksei Guskov), a former celebrated conductor of the Russian Bolshoi Orchestra who, during the Communist era, is fired for retaining Jewish musicians. Thirty years later, ruined by alcohol and depression, he’s able—with equal parts farce and luck—to reunite his old team and go to Paris to reclaim glory. Plus, he has the chance to meet with the mysterious French violinist (Inglourious Basterds’s luminous Mélanie Laurent) he has a secret past with. The film occasionally wobbles due to its many subplots, but when it reaches its emotional climax—at the concert they play (natch)—it is overwhelmingly moving and beautiful, with an emotionally satisfying conclusion. Tissues will be necessary.

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VSL// A terrific movie about music, secrets, love and communism