Beyond fans of Mélanie Laurent—who furiously fingers a fiddle and wears flashback wigs—The Concert may appeal to those who delight in stereotypes (Jews like money!). Andrei Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) pushes a broom at the Bolshoi, where he lost his status as star conductor 30 years ago under Brezhnev for refusing to fire his Jewish musicians. Intercepting a fax from the Théâtre du Châtelet inviting the legendary orchestra to perform in Paris, Andrei rounds up his former colleagues in a scheme to pass themselves off as the real Bolshoi. To right an injustice from three decades ago—and to occasion more interminable flashbacks—the fallen maestro insists that violinist Anne-Marie Jacquet (Laurent) be the soloist during the performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The emotional climax: Smeary mascara runs down the cheeks of Miou-Miou, playing Anne-Marie’s manager and a Link to Her Past. Witless director Radu Mihaileanu, continuing the theme of false identity from his previous Live and Become (2005), holds the following truths to be self-evident: Nothing is funnier than a Russian speaking syntactically absurd French (except maybe a half-empty Communist meeting hall). And nothing salves historical and ego wounds quite like 12 minutes of bombastic strings.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2010