You know the type of movie that you want to like more than you do because of certain themes (for me, in this case, feminist themes that recall Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own)?

Mozart’s Sister (Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart) is like that in the sense that it is based on some historical fact – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did have an older sister who performed as a child but was not allowed by her father to compose music – but there are important parts of the film that challenge willing suspension of disbelief and seem too spot on to make the film more nuanced and complex than it is.

The film I wanted Mozart’s Sister to be, a movie with similar themes but more sting and ache and beauty, is another French film Camille Claudel.  In this historical drama, yet another female artist struggles against the patriarchy, but the story is richer with indelible scenes and images and moments throughout.

Isabelle Adjani plays the title role in this 1988 film, and Gerard Depardieu plays her mentor and lover, Auguste Rodin.  I don’t own too many DVDs aside from those I use in teaching and research, but there are some films I want to know that I can always see at a moment’s notice if I have a need to revisit them, and Camille Claudel is one of those films.




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