Bride of the Wind
Is a dreary and inept soap opera any more tolerable when it pretends to peer into the private biographies of famous artistic figures? In Bride of the Wind, a sodden ”feminist” vulgarization of the life of Alma Schindler, we follow Alma (Sarah Wynter), a young and pretty nobody, as she seduces and weds the middle-aged Gustav Mahler (Jonathyn Pryce), who is already a controversial conductor-composer staking his claim to greatness in turn-of-the-century Vienna. The film skitters through their marriage like a flip book with every third page missing, and then, with even less coherence, it sketches in Alma’s dalliances with a handful of follow-up mentors, notably the mad-hatter expressionist Oskar Kokoschka (Vincent Perez). The claim is made throughout for Alma as her own woman — she’s a composer, too, damn it! — yet the character we see is defined almost entirely in relation to her stick-figure artist lovers. Wynter, her lips parted, suggests Cate Blanchett locked in a freeze-frame of Imploring Sensitivity, and the miscast Pryce plays Mahler as squishy and self-pitying, without a hint of the composer’s soulful rectitude.