Film – like music, painting, poetry, etc – is an art, but this decree is often flouted in the name of Hollywood profit and mass audience appeal. Thus, when a film is treated as art, as Carlos Saura does, Io, Don Giovanni, the result is spectacular. One no longer is able to simply watch the film, but is caught up in the whole experience of it. The film takes you on a journey to 18th century Venezia and Wien, where opulence is master and opera is law. Celebrated Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography reigns supreme, from the atmospheric blues of Venetian canals, and magnificent golds in the palaces of Vienna. The film dances and sparkles before one’s very eyes, eased with the brilliantly befitting scores of Vivaldi and Mozart (naturally). It is half-film, and half-opera – as Da Ponte depicts his vision of Don Giovanni for Mozart, the two characters come into silhouette, and the scene behind them is illuminated into the very vision being described. It is lush and romantic, but never makes the mistake of self-indulging. In fact, most of the sets appear as such – painted sceneries of grand libraries and opera theatres, further enhancing the theatrical experience of the film.

Io, Don Giovanni could almost be a cousin to Amadeus; there is a similar quality and approach to the film, but does not try to emulate. It is a bold and audacious endeavour, ripe with jealousy, romance, and of course, music; a verity of meta-opera: an opera within an opera. The result is a masterful exploration of creative spirit and inspiration set in a world of the sacred, the profane, and the beautiful.

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