A Response to the film 'Amadeus'

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A response to the film 'Amadeus' , written for my Film Literature class in College. Please note a particular attention to the theme of 'Self' consciously noted in every film watched during the semester.

Submitted: September 29, 2014

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Submitted: September 29, 2014



‘AMADEUS’ Film Response

There were two particularly interesting aspects to Amadeus with regard to the idea of self. It asked two major questions. The first of which, “are we nothing if not for our creative identity, and once removed, are we still the same person?” and as a development on that idea, “if music is our freedom of expression, with others so easily manipulating its journey and course, are we only in part responsible?” Mozart was only able to perform when he was given the opportunity. With that often taken away he was no longer himself, a shadow of his own image. When we think of self, and independence, we think of freedom, but we never consider the puppet masters potentially at play. For the entirety of the film, I couldn’t help but empathize with Mozart’s incessant frustration. Watching Salieri secretly obstruct his creative progress and undeniable talent brought me to a point I hadn’t experienced in either of the other films previous. I was beginning to see a pattern of control, and more specifically a hierarchy of power and wealth that trumped creativity. Art, as a symbol of individualism, was seen as something bought, something controlled, manipulated; in fact the very opposite of its true purpose. Salieri refers to Mozart’s’ music as a “gift from God”, something beyond the reach of wealth and corruption and yet finds itself suffocated under the weight of royal consent. However, even with a depressing ending there was a greater purpose in the message. Amadeus was tortured, but in the end granted the ultimate gift of immortality. His music still today sits at an untouchable level, he has and will be remembered until the end of time and in a sense, this stands to prove that while art may often be a gift, controlled, when those in control are stripped of their posts, should the talent have been memorable, its power will inevitably live on and honor the artist in a way beyond the ‘mortal’.

Louis Shaw


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