This movie isn’t nearly as dark as it pretends to be.

The Curse of the Gothic Symphony centers around the behemoth that is the Gothic Symphony — the longest, biggest symphony ever written – and the difficulty people have in organizing its performances.

Until this documentary, the Gothic had only played on a handful of English stages due to the fact it’s two hours long, requires hundreds and hundreds of people and is, generally, not well-liked.

But that didn’t stop a group of music lovers from getting it played in Australia, despite it taking one man more than 20 years of effort.

The movie tries to blame the difficulty of getting the symphony played on a curse, and this is the root from which my complaints with the movie stem. The curse is all people talk about (more or less), and it’s highlighted to such a degree that it’s annoying.

A good documentary on struggle – say Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams – lets you see struggle on people’s faces, in their voices, in their environments, their desires. A mediocre documentary tells you these things and punctuates them with dark clouds and thunderclaps.

If you are a classical music buff who harbors an affinity for Havergal Brian, Curse may very well be for you. But if you’re in the market for a cinematic experience, see something else.

Curse plays at 7:30 p.m.

Other Highlights: Friday, April 26

Winter Light is for those with Norse blood. It’s a documentary that seeks to capture life in Norway during a particular time of winter when the sun dips below the horizon and casts vanilla rays up from the earth. (Theater 5, 3:15 p.m.)

The Last Dogs of Winter. This documentary takes a look at the long hard road sled dogs face. (Theater 5, 6:45 p.m.)

Summer Games. Who can resist such delicious counter-programming against the two previously mentioned highlights? (Theater 2, 7:15 p.m.)

For the festival schedule, and a complete listing of all the movies being shown, click here. Ticket information is available here.

For more of the WCCO Movie Blog’s coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.


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