Four Last Songs

Residents of an ex-pat community in Mallocan, Spain, decide to put on a piano recital, but discord breaks out in Brit-Hispanic comedy "Four Last Songs." Sophomore effort by Francesca Joseph squanders a talented cast with weak direction and a worse script. "Songs" looks destined to fade out faster than "La Scala," which went straight-to-tube.

With:
With: Stanley Tucci, Rhys Ifans, Hugh Bonneville, Jena Malone, Jessica Stevenson, Virgile Bramly, Marisa Paredes, Emmanuelle Seigner.

Residents of an ex-pat community in Mallocan, Spain, decide to put on a piano recital, but discord breaks out in Brit-Hispanic comedy “Four Last Songs.” Sophomore effort by Francesca Joseph (“Tomorrow La Scala!”) squanders a reasonably starry, talented cast with weak direction and a worse script by helmer herself. “Songs” looks destined to fade out faster than “La Scala” which went straight-to-tube in Blighty.

American barroom ivory tickler Larry (Stanley Tucci) persuades Veronica (Marisa Paredes), widow of composer Valentin Lucinsky, to permit famous pianist Narcisco Ortega (Virgile Bramly) to play her late great spouse’s music in local outdoor amphitheater. But Veronica threatens to withdraw consent when she sees Larry talking to Valentin’s former kooky mistress Helena (Emmanuelle Seigner), who’s squirreled away as-yet-unseen works by the composer. Meanwhile, Larry’s insecure g.f. Miranda (Jessica Stevenson) is also jealous of Helena, and his long-lost daughter (Jena Malone) shows up looking for him. Meddlesome Brit neighbor Sebastian (Hugh Bonneville) tries to take over the concert, but is distracted by constant arguments with his perpetually soused brother (Rhys Ifans). Thesps struggle to pull off lines like, “you are locked in a prison of your own heart,” but look defeated.

Four Last Songs

U.K. - Spain

Production: A BBC Films, Ingenious Film Partners presentation of a Home Movies (U.K.)/Mate Films (Spain) production, in association with BBC Films. (International sales: Capitol, London.) Produced by Christopher Collins, Ruth Caleb. Executive producers, David M. Thompson, Paula Jalfon, Duncan Reid. Executive co-producer, Mate Cantero Directed, written by Francesca Joseph.

Crew: Camera (color), Javier Salmones; editor, John O'Rorke; music, Dan Jones; production designer, John Stevenson; costume designer, Julian Day. English, Spanish dialogue. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 22, 2006. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: With: Stanley Tucci, Rhys Ifans, Hugh Bonneville, Jena Malone, Jessica Stevenson, Virgile Bramly, Marisa Paredes, Emmanuelle Seigner.

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