Tuesday, December 17, 2019

"Amadeus": An Allegory of Donald Trump and His Haters

The 1984 movie Amadeus is one of my favorite films of all time. As a child I would watch bits and pieces of it over and over again on television, because something about it fascinated me. I never really understood it until I saw it again, this time from beginning to end, in my twenties on television. This past weekend, however, I got the chance to finally see it on the big screen on 35mm film, and now it has firmly established itself within me as one of my all time favorite films.

Over the past few years since Donald Trump became President of the United States, he has become an object onto which certain folk with a certain ideology have projected their deep hatred. It is an unreasonable hatred with absolutely no justification, though they would argue there are a myriad of justifications, yet it exists in a very real way. Observing this hatred, I have come up with many allegorical examples that depict this phenomenon in contemporary American society in a way that explains why this is so. One of these, and perhaps one of the better ones, is the movie Amadeus.

One of the great things about the film Amadeus is that it can be an allegory for many things, but when I was thinking about the haters of Donald Trump a few years ago, it was this film among other things that immediately came to my mind. Not being able to recall it perfectly in my head, it was not until this past weekend when I watched it again after many years that I realized how truly suitable it is.

I am tempted to end this discussion right here and let each individual watch or rewatch the film again with what I have said in mind to interpret it for themselves. This being said, for me, the figure of Amadeus Mozart in the film can be a type of Donald Trump, sometimes as he truly is, sometimes as he is viewed by those who despise him. The people that come into Mozart's life are also analogous to the roles of those around Trump, from those who hate him to those who adore him. Mozart's genius is undeniable by its fruits, for which many love him despite what they also may find disagreeable in him, and for which many hate him.

Those who hate Amadeus Mozart in the film do so primarily for his character. How could such a musical genius and prodigy behave this way and that way, say this and that? They want him to be as refined and virtuous as they think they are and want him to live up to their noble standards, but they are just left continuously aghast at every turn. Moreover, he is capable beyond anyone else of producing the most exquisite high art, but instead mixes his high art with low art, to the point of using such things as scatological humor in his operas. The people love him, while those who think highly of themselves see it as scandalous and unbecoming and want to censor him at every turn. Mozart furthermore has a boundless arrogance, and an intensely irritating laugh, who would be completely dismissed if he did not have the results and success to back him up.

It can be said that Amadeus is a film about having to accept someone for who they are even if we don't want to, simply because what they produce is beyond masterful, or as the film portrays it, something eternal and divine. Perhaps it is a lesson in humility. It is depicted sort of in the model of a confession by his rival, who has withered away in his hatred for over thirty years since the demise of Mozart. At the end of the film this rival, the man who hates him most and who tries to kill him, ends up becoming Mozart's last consolation and help in producing one of his finest pieces, showing us what can happen if hatred is put aside and work is done together for the common good - a most beautiful composition.

If your looking for a film that is a good allegory of our current political climate in the United States, then watch Amadeus. However, if you have no interest in a political allegory, which is actually a very human allegory, then I still encourage you to watch it as one of the finest films ever made.