“Mahler on the Couch” portrays composer’s meeting with Freud

Posted on: May 18, 2012

In Friday’s (5/18) New York Times, David DeWitt writes, “Sigmund Freud is having a good stretch on screen as a therapist to fin-de-siècle stars. … In the German film ‘Mahler on the Couch,’ Freud treats the composer Gustav Mahler. This time Freud is more of a cipher, but there’s that sly humor again. The scenes with Karl Markovics, as Freud, are the lingering appeal of this artfully composed film, framed with aesthetic care and scored with Mahler’s music, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen (working with the Swedish Radio Symphonic Orchestra). Freud’s presence in the film springs from a playful premise: What happened when Mahler, a sufferer of migraines tortured by his wife’s infidelity, turned to Freud for relief?  The scenes with Freud and Mahler frame our view of the more documented marriage at the film’s center. Mahler (Johannes Silberschneider), a gentle if controlling presence, is besotted with his younger wife, Alma (the entrancing Barbara Romaner), a composer herself and a free spirit. Her infidelity, Mahler’s therapy suggests, brings out the contained passions of these two troubled souls; their romance contains an exquisitely fatal flaw.”

Posted May 18, 2012