Beyond fans of Mélanie Laurent—who furiously fingers a fiddle and wears flashback wigs—The Concert may appeal to those who delight in stereotypes. (Jews like money!). Andrei Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) pushes a broom at the Bolshoi, where he lost his status as star conductor 30 years ago under Brezhnev for refusing to fire his Jewish musicians. Intercepting a fax from the Théâtre du Châtelet inviting the legendary orchestra to perform in Paris, Andrei rounds up his former colleagues in a scheme to pass themselves off as the real Bolshoi. To right an injustice from three decades ago—and to occasion more interminable flashbacks—the fallen maestro insists that violinist Anne-Marie Jacquet (Laurent) be the soloist for the performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. The emotional climax: Smeary mascara runs down the cheeks of Miou-Miou, playing Anne-Marie's manager and a Link to Her Past. Witless director Radu Mihaileanu, continuing the theme of false identity from his previous Live and Become (2005), holds the following truths to be self-evident: Nothing is funnier than a Russian speaking syntactically absurd French (except maybe a half-empty Communist meeting hall). And nothing salves historical and ego wounds quite like 12 minutes of bombastic strings.
Hot strings: Laurent on fiddle.
Opens at Harvard Exit, Fri., Aug. 6. Rated PG-13. 119 minutes.