Icarus Films, which is the distributor of the recently reviewed classic collection "On Strike!," once again shows how documentaries should be made in releasing the 1984 Daniel Schmid masterpiece "Tosca's Kiss" on DVD on November 4, 2014.
As cliched as it seems, the following clip (courtesy of YouTube) of the trailer for this remastered version of "Tosca" nicely captures the artistry, music, humor, and heart of the film.
Current notable aspects of "Tosca" extend beyond its inclusion in the 2013 Venice Film Festival to it inspiring Dustin Hoffman (who is behind the production of the DVD release) to direct the 2012 indie flick smash "Quartet." The fact that marathon sessions of the scifi series "Stargate: Atlantis" and similar fare repeatedly have postponed planned viewings of "Quartet" both shows the risks associated with sending a fanboy to do a man's job and support the 30 year-old point in "Tosca" that modern audiences lack proper regard for opera. Exactly where fond memories of the Bugs Bunny classic "The Rabbit of Seville" fit in is uncertain.
"Tosca" awesomely documents the lives of the overall mentally alert, somewhat physically strong, and hugely talented opera singers, composers, and other artists who call the Casa di Riposa in Milan home. This building is part of the legacy of well-known composer Giuseppe Verdi, who set things up to ensure that many people who devote their lives to music do not wind up without a roof over their heads in their final years.
The charitable nature of the home is an element regarding one sad aspect of the film; an administrator shares that a fairly recent loss of a revenue source endangers the current financial feasibility of the home.
Director Daniel Schmid shows the excellent instincts that have earned "Tosca's" numerous awards over the years in making the retired divas and their co-residents the stars of the film. Hearing this group discuss their careers, collaborations with their now fellow residents, Verdi, and numerous other intellectual topics is just as entertaining as listening to old ladies bicker about things such as using a cane and whose room is larger and other footage of a "poor old dear" composer who clearly is past his prime.
The more amazing part of "Tosca's" is seeing these oldsters perform. They truly sound terrific and clearly still hold themselves up to high standards. A very apt (and highly amusing) duet in a hallway near the end of the film and another scene in which a resident dons a costume from a trunk provide some of the best moments in the film.
The only spoiler regarding this film is that the fat lady never sings; this hopefully is a good sign that ain't ever going to be over for the still operating Casa di Reposa.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Tosca" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.