The already somewhat tense relationship between a father and his son, both renowned conductors, become even more complicated when one of them is called upon to conduct La Scala in Milan, the father’s ultimate dream to crown a long and brilliant international career.
Inspired by the Israeli feature film Footnote, winner of the prize for best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 and finalist for the Oscars the following year in the category of best foreign language film, Maestro(s) is essentially worth the meeting at the top between Pierre Arditi and Yvan Attal. Rather than making them academic scholars working on the Torah, like the characters in the original Joseph Cedar film, Bruno Chiche (I Have Not Forgotten, One Inside The Other) chose to transpose this story of rivalry between a father and his son in the world of classical music.
The dynamic between the two men, whose relationship, without being hostile, is still not simple, is evoked from the start when Denis Dumar (Yvan Attal) wins a prize at the Victoires de la musique Classique in l absence of his father François (Pierre Arditi). The latter, also a renowned conductor, preferred not to attend the triumph of his son. Caught between the two, Hélène (Miou-Miou makes the most of a more peripheral role) tries, as always, to temper things between a husband and a son exercising the same profession.
The performances are top-notch and the music here is put to good use. Taking place in an elegant environment, the story is however sewn with white thread, insofar as the whole stake of the film rests on a simple misunderstanding. We will learn very quickly that at La Scala in Milan, we got the wrong name when contacting the chef to whom we wish to entrust the artistic direction of the august institution. Since he learned the news, François, for whom it is the realization of the dream of a life, floats on a cloud. How do you tell him that La Scala actually wants to hire his son instead?
That such a serious organization would make this kind of mistake (which is all too conveniently attributed to an assistant) and then leave it to Denis to break the news to his father is hard to believe. But the way the misunderstanding is resolved is even more so. That said, Maestro(s) nevertheless looks very good, especially thanks to the actors.