The Movie – Amadeus, dir. Milos Forman
The Set-Up – Mozart (Tom Hulce) lies dying, while the man responsible, Salieri (F.Murray Abraham) helps him finish his Requiem.
Amadeus is the story of one horribly conflicted man. Salieri loves music, and has given his life to it, but is shamed and angered by the loose cannon genius that is Mozart. So much so that he vows to destroy him. The rub is that Salieri loves Mozart’s music, and is really the only one who realizes that he is hearing something truly transcendent. All these emotions come together in this great sequence. Salieri hopes to be credited as a co-author on Mozarts last work, so his motives are dishonorable, but he is also exhilarated by being up close to Mozart creative process. Look how obediently he hands over the written pages when asked. My favorite part of this scene, however, is when Salieri has to ask Mozart to slow down. Even near death, the music is just flowing out of him. At one point Salieri puts his head in his hands because he can’t fathom what Mozart is trying to explain to him. It think it is right in this moment that Salieri really, really grasps that Mozart is a special being. This clip is unfortunately cut off before the end, but when Salieri finally tells Mozart, “You are the greatest composer I have known”, it’s the final straw. It isn’t hard to imagine that that moment is the one that really sends Salieri on his way to an asylum.