Chopin: Desire for Love

123 minutes

Bankrolled in part by Polish television and PKO Bank Polski, this high-toned 2002 biopic labors to present Frederic Chopin as a national hero, even though he abandoned his homeland at age 20 and never returned, except in his mazurkas and polonaises. Writer-director Jerzy Antczak dutifully begins with young Frederic (Piotr Adamczyk) fleeing Russian-occupied Warsaw for the salons of Paris, but the real story begins when he's wooed and won by the mannish George Sand, whose many affairs have made her an object of scandal. Played with intelligence and passion by Danuta Stenka, the strong-willed novelist struggles to balance the needs of her frail and temperamental lover against those of her high-spirited daughter, who worships Chopin for his genius, and her oedipally challenged son, who hates him for it. Unfortunately the recipient of all this emotion comes off as little more than a high-strung pretty boy, a portrait that's continually belied by the complex sonorities of the works on the sound track. In Polish with subtitles.

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