Event Title

Chopin Onscreen: Media Representations of Frederic Chopin

Location

King Building 101

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2018 5:30 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 6:50 PM

Abstract

The purpose of this research project is to investigate the relationship between biographical films about Chopin and the context in which they were produced. Chopin’s life lends itself well to the “tortured romantic artist” trope, due to his estrangement from his home country, his romantic troubles with George Sand, and the illness that led to his untimely death. His dramatic story has yielded several fictionalized interpretations of his life. This project explores several of these adaptations, discussing the portrayal of Chopin’s character as well as his music, and how the cultural context of a film’s place and time of production affects this. I will analyze several films, including: A Song to Remember (American, 1945), Młodość Chopina (Youth of Chopin, Polish, 1952), La Note Bleue (The Blue Note, French, 1991), Impromptu (British, 1991), and Pragnienie Miłości (Desire for Love, Polish, 2002). I will also explore a video game, Eternal Sonata (Japanese, 2008). Each of these media come from a different sociopolitical context, and the representation of the Chopin’s character changes accordingly. The directors exaggerate specific aspects of Chopin’s story, and create a fictional persona tailored to their audiences, turning Chopin into a relatable figure across time and culture.

Keywords:

music, Chopin, film music, cinema

Notes

Session VII, Panel 17 - Cultural | Producers
Moderator: Afia Ofori-Mensa, Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Research, Assistant Professor of Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies

Major

Musical Studies; Russian and East European Studies

Advisor(s)

Charles McGuire, Musicology
Arlene Forman, Russian

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Apr 27th, 5:30 PM Apr 27th, 6:50 PM

Chopin Onscreen: Media Representations of Frederic Chopin

King Building 101

The purpose of this research project is to investigate the relationship between biographical films about Chopin and the context in which they were produced. Chopin’s life lends itself well to the “tortured romantic artist” trope, due to his estrangement from his home country, his romantic troubles with George Sand, and the illness that led to his untimely death. His dramatic story has yielded several fictionalized interpretations of his life. This project explores several of these adaptations, discussing the portrayal of Chopin’s character as well as his music, and how the cultural context of a film’s place and time of production affects this. I will analyze several films, including: A Song to Remember (American, 1945), Młodość Chopina (Youth of Chopin, Polish, 1952), La Note Bleue (The Blue Note, French, 1991), Impromptu (British, 1991), and Pragnienie Miłości (Desire for Love, Polish, 2002). I will also explore a video game, Eternal Sonata (Japanese, 2008). Each of these media come from a different sociopolitical context, and the representation of the Chopin’s character changes accordingly. The directors exaggerate specific aspects of Chopin’s story, and create a fictional persona tailored to their audiences, turning Chopin into a relatable figure across time and culture.