Watched the DVD again 25 years after I watched it at a movie theater in 1984. I didn’t remember the exact plot besides it, probably wouldn’t have sunk in at my young age. It’s when one reaches the middle age and looking back, people can really appreciate it meant to be NOT in the top of his/her field and the envy/jealousy brewed to the highest degree seeing the “top” gun on top of his/her game and having the talents to sustain it above all others.
The movie is narrated from the perspective of Salieri, whose respect for Mozart turned him into a jealous and scheming competitor. Although Salieri was adored and respected by his employer, the Austria empire, he found in his heart never as good as Mozart. His competitiveness and strive for the best caused him to construct conniving schemes against Mozart. He was convinced that all of his schemes caused Mozart’s death, especially his behind-the-scene commission of the “Requiem Mass.” It’s possible that Mozart’s composing of “Requiem Mass” may have sunk him to the bottom of his health. But by historical account, Mozart probably brought on his own death by his excessive drinking and partying. Well, if you can not be the best, why not be the destroyer of the best? Another one-up by Salieri?
It’s sad to see Mozart died so poor that even a proper funeral was’t held. His body was dumped into a pit and buried along with all the nameless people. Unfortunately, many great artists have died broke and miserably. But we know their work, especially Mozart’s, live on and continue to make a positive impact on our life.
The most dramatic scene at the end: Antonio Salieri said, “I speak for all mediocrity of the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint. I absolve you!” I guess he went nuts but his words are powerful and perhaps calming. Theoretically, there is only one or few “bests” like Tiger Wood, Michael Jordan, and Michael Phelps. It’s OK to fail to become one because Antonio Salieri has forgiven you and absolved you.
The movie, full of Mozart’s symphony and opera pieces, are quite enjoyable. Watching on my desktop also allowed me to pause and google on many of the interesting bits such as “Don Giovanni,” “Requiem Mass,” and etc. It’s been a wonderful artistic experience.