Author(s): D.W. Dillon
"The Ninth Symphony"
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Written by Mark Peploe & Bernardo Bertolucci
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography by Vittoria Storaro
Edited by Pietro Scalia
Art Direction by Domenico Sica
Produced by Dino & Giada DeLaurentiis
Milo Ventimiglia as Nick James
Eva Green as Rachel James
Stanley Tucci as Stephon Lamacq
George Kennedy as Dr. Lukas
Robert De Niro as Chef Richard James (Archive Footage)
Armin Mueller-Stahl as Wolfgang Heller
Tagline: "Bringing pleasure to the world means more than a selfish taste of success"
Synopsis: Nick James (Milo Ventimiglia), accomplished chef and restaurateur had received the fame and recognition his infamous mentor and father (Robert De Niro) so desired. Now, married with children, and enjoying the success of a highly-rated cooking show, with acclaimed restaurants around the world, Chef Nick James would now struggle harder than his father ever would. During a thanksgiving episode on his cooking show, where he looked to introduce a simple but tasty way of preparing a large vegetarian holiday meal for his viewers, he noticed he began to lose the taste in his mouth while filming. Ignoring the advice of his beloved wife Rachel (Eva Green) to see a doctor, Nick popped some pills and tried to forget it. But he could not dodge this bullet or ignore the signs. Frustration in the kitchen got the best of him, and panic attacks ensued, scaring his loved ones. Fearing he would end up like his lost father, Rachel convinced him to see physician, Dr. Lukas (George Kennedy). His diagnosis for the renowned chef of deconstructed flavors' was going to change everything.
Stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth spread to the lymph nodes. Cancer of the mouth was like a bolt of lightening that shocked him into complete obscurity. Nick closed down most of his restaurants, canceled his cooking show and faded away from the limelight. Only Re-opening his father's famous 'Cherry Blossom' candy shop, which would be his one gift to the world now, as he played a meager cashier to the children of the neighborhood. That is until notorious food critic Stephon Lamacq (Stanley Tucci) would pay a visit and try to knock some sense into the drowning chef who was on the verge of losing his tongue from cancer, ultimately killing his taste buds forever. Lamacq, his father's legendary enemy in the food world, would guide him to German head chef, Wolfgang Heller (Armin Mueller-Stahl). Heller was a man, like and un-like Nick's father, who too, had struggled with fame and tragedy. Drudging through the loss of many restaurants, to losing his son to cancer as well, he knew Nick all too well. Within each other, they would form a close bond where Chef Heller cheekily referred to the troubled young chef as "lil Ludwig"; after Ludwig Von Beethoven, who performed his "Ninth Symphony" for the first time after his hearing loss to a thunderous applause. He would take Nick under his wing and show him the meaning of cooking, culture, and how to enjoy life in the face of adversity. Together, they would open a new restaurant that would soon gain world-wide acclaim. Though Nick's health would deteriorate, his hope and desire never faded, and would live the remainder of his short life to the fullest.
What the Press would say:
From legendary director Bernardo Bertolucci who brought you the acclaimed drama, "Cherry Blossom" follows up the tragic but tasteful story with an even more filling and enriched tale, "The Ninth Symphony". Following the hardship journey of the young master chef, Nick James, played by Milo Ventimiglia. His standout performance is mature beyond his years as he tackles a man who battles death to stay on top of his craft. His transformation from frustrated and bitterness to acceptance and wonderment is as cherishing as cherry blossom truffles he peddles. He distances himself from his family and the world, only to rekindle the work ethic and determination his long lost father (cameo by Robert De Niro) couldn't obtain. With the help of a former nemesis played by Stanley Tucci in his memorable reprising role, and a top respected German chef, played by the fierce Armin Mueller-Stahl, who shows him there is much more to learn in the kitchen and in the world. Bertolucci brilliantly parallel's Nick's struggles to that of notorious composer, Beethoven. His metaphors and nods to the brilliant musician brings out the depths of each character with a lead the conquers the screen, through the help of his supporting players. On all fronts, this ambitious sequel not only surpasses it's predecessor but changes the way sequels are made and conceived. It stands alone. As we hope for a trilogy, we can surely be satisfied with Bertolucci's masterpiece for years to come.
Best Director - Bernardo Bertolucci
Best Actor - Milo Ventimiglia
Best Supporting Actor - Armin Mueller-Stahl
Best Supporting Actress - Eva Green
Best Original Screenplay - Bernardo Bertolucci
Best Cinematography - Vittoria Storaro
Best Editing - Pietro Scalia
Best Score - Ennio Morricone
Best Art Direction - Domenico Sica