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Friday, August 28, 2009

Amadeus ... or Adam Cohen?

So I just viewed the 1984 movie Amadeus, starring F. Murray Abraham as the vengeful Antonio Salieri and Tom Hulce as Wolfgang "Wolfie" Amadeus Mozart. Cynthia Nixon, from "Sex and the City" fame, also makes an appearance as the poor, financially manipulated maid / spy. How do I know about the girls from Sex and the City? That is such a Samantha thing to ask.

Being a dinosaur, I give Amadues 4.5 pangeas (out of a possible 5).

It is a fantastic movie and I highly recommend it. It is fraught with diametrically opposing conflicts; genius vs. aspiration, pride vs. acceptance, jealousy vs. friendship, piety vs. debauchery, and at it’s base, good vs. evil.

In the left corner, wearing the pastel paisley printed trunks, is Mozart. He is a drunk, a womanizer, a laughable laugher, a child ... and a pure musical genius. In the right corner, wearing a scowl, is Salieri. He has devoted his entire life to music and composition, denouncing all else so God will bless him the talent he so desperately desires. The two rumble in Vienna.

Salieri is a great musician in his own right, but realizes he will hopelessly be second fiddle to the superior Mozart. The thought of being topped by this, as Salieri says, "creature" drives him to malicious vengeance and partial insanity.

The tragic matter of fact is that if Salieri could have just put his pride behind him and accepted that, on a pure, God-given, talent level, he was destined to be bested by this man, they probably could have gotten along! Salieri would not have been the main attraction, but he would have been supporting the entire operation and bettering himself in the process. At the end of the film, he is scribing Mozart’s dictation, trying to keep up as the master runs through the composition from his bed. In this scene, Salieri is being taught by his superior peer! He is learning! He is incrementally increasing his talent! Too bad it was all a ploy to exhaust the already severely ill Mozart and drive him to his death.

Salieri could have been the father figure that Mozart was always looking for. And just as father teaches son, son would have taught father. Both would have been better off. Salieri would have grown beyond his wildest dreams as a musician and Mozart would probably have halted hitting the bottle so hard and lived a longer, better life.

Instead, Salieri declares to ruin Mozart. The result: Mozart dies of exhaustion and illness and Salieri is committed to an insane asylum where he must live with his tortured thoughts and a world that recognizes his adversary’s music rather than his own.

However, I guess a movie where these two characters just get along all fine and dandy would not have be very entertaining ... fine, the above was more of a general observation. When you are faced with the realization that you are not the best, and never will be, it is far better to partner with, rather than fight, your opposition. Working with those that are superior promises to elevate you beyond your expectations. And just as they will teach you, you can benefit them. Fighting seems to result in death, destruction, and insane asylums.

As a final note, I could not get over this nagging feeling that I’ve seen this movie before; a strange sense of deja-vu. Then it hit me. Adam Cohen. I had already witnessed the very images that were now playing on my television screen. I present the following in corroboration of my claim. You be the judge.

Additionally, if you rearrange the letters in "Amadeus", you get "use Adam" - likely a hint from the movie's director that Mr. Cohen, somehow, traveled back in time to start in this very film!

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