MAESTRA is a portrait of the La Maestra competition in Paris which seeks to highlight the work of female conductors from around the world. Starting from a pool of over two hundred women the group was reduced to fourteen who went to Paris to compete. The film follows several of the women from around the world as they prepare for the competition and then take part.
This is an excellent look at a small group of women that make up less than 3% of their chose profession. Sure Marin Alsop has been in the spotlight for years, but outside of her there I am guessing that there is no other women who might be known by anyone outside of the classical music community. If all goes right many of the women profiled will soon become household names.
I am a sucker for much of what goes on here. I grew up watching Leonard Bernstein’s lectures where he came on and explained how a conductor shapes the music, and in MAESTRA we get to watch as the women discuss how they are going to shape their pieces. We get a wonderful sense about how they take the notes printed on a page and turn them into a living breathing piece of music. I had such a good time that I had a big stupid grin on my face as we watched the women create magic before our eyes.
This film is a delight. There is very little that is wrong with this film, other than a sense that perhaps they should have either focused on less women (though don’t ask me what they should have cut) or made into a miniseries because there is simply too much good stuff for a 90 minute movies.