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Calling all classical music fans – here’ s a new documentary made just for you…Released to commemorate this year’s 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, In Search Of Mozart is being hailed as the first ever feature-length documentary devoted to history’s most popular classical composer. Based on Mozart’s memoirs and letters home, In Search Of Mozart is a forensic “detective story” that maps his travels across Europe (some 25 000 miles), while stitching together a portrait of the man himself and his relationships.With the help of historians, virtuoso musicians and some of the world’s best orchestras, the film traces Mozart’s rise from a precocious child prodigy to the poorly-paid favourite of royal courts. Mozart might be longer with us but you’d never guess from this film. Documentary maker Phil Grabsky approaches his subject as if he were still alive. He uses paintings, sketches, anecdotes, musical performances and voice over to bring a Mozart to life. People speak of him as if he were a revered colleague in the next room, an idiosyncratic friend, a noisy neighbour or inspired teacher. The film acts almost as a ouija board, channelling the spirit of Mozart into the room in a most physical way.Save for some surprising revelations about his love for potty humour (!), In Search Of Mozart is however nowhere near as much fun as Milos Forman’s exuberant, Oscar-winning portrait Amadeus (1984). But music purists had a hard time accepting the artistic license taken with that piece of fiction filmmaking. Perhaps this meticulous (but over-earnest) talking heads documentary will make up for it. In Search Of Mozart leaves no stone unturned – both its best and worst feature, as at times it feels laboured. That said, it will certainly appeal to those devoted to the man hailed as the greatest musical genius of all time.

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PG