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    SUBJECTS — Biography; Music/Classical;
    Age: 6-12; No MPAA Rating; Drama; 1986; 49 minutes; Color; Available from Amazon.com.

    Description:     This is a fantasy about Franz Liszt, the great pianist and composer. The film shows Lizst after he has achieved success as a performer. At this point in his career, he finds no satisfaction in just playing what others have written and he is looking for a source of inspiration for his own work. One day, on the streets of Paris, Liszt sees a talented gypsy boy playing the violin. He takes the child under his wing and attempts to train him to perform classical music. In the process, Liszt finds the inspiration that had eluded him for so long. "Liszt's Rhapsody" is one of the award-winning Composers' Specials.

    Benefits of the Movie:     This film will introduce children to Franz Liszt and the European prejudice against gypsies.

    Possible Problems:    None.

    Parenting Points:     Around the time that your child watches this movie, play some of Liszt's music and tell your child what it is. Ask and answer the Quick Discussion Question. If your child is very interested in the film, go through some of the other Discussion Questions.


Benefits of the Movie
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Selected Awards & Cast
Helpful Background
Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)
Bridges to Reading
Links to the Internet
Assignments, Projects & Activities

WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students' minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film. Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project.

    Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

      Selected Awards:  This film is a part of the Composers' Specials recipient of the 1996 CableACE Award for Best Children's Series and the Gemini Award(Canada's Emmy) for Best Youth Program or Series. The series also received the American Library Association's Recommendation to all public schools and libraries in 1996.

      Featured Actors:  Geordie Johnson, Drew Jurecka, Peter Keleghan, Ida Carenvali, Fab Filippo.

      Director:  Richard Mozer.
QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:   Why did the gypsy boy try to wash the color out of his face? What does this tell us about the effects of prejudice?

Suggested Response: One of the evils of prejudice is that it often destroys the self-esteem of the persons subjected to the prejudice. This incident in the film is an example of this. The scene is drawn from reality. For many years (perhaps even today) many people with dark skin have purchased skin whiteners to lighten their skin color and make them appear more caucasian.

    Helpful Background:

    Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886) was a renowned pianist, composer, teacher and conductor who actively pursued his career from the age of nine until his death at the age of 75. Liszt was a brilliant performer who was regarded, in his prime, as the world's greatest pianist. Liszt created the concert form of the piano recital in 1839. Until that time even the best pianists performed only with singers or orchestras and with the piano facing the audience. Liszt turned the piano to the side so that the audience could see him and made the pianist the center of the performance.

    Liszt also composed many pieces of classical music creating new musical forms such as the symphonic poem. Liszt was a teacher of great renown whose students worshipped him. When he took up the baton to conduct, he pioneered the modern style of conducting which sought to govern the flow of the music, rather than simply keeping time. Liszt was a mentor to many great musicians including Chopin, Grieg and Wagner. He pioneered the use of charity concerts to aid worthy causes.


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Reminder to Teachers: Obtain all required permissions from your school administration before showing any film.

Teachers who want parental permission to show this movie can use TWM's Movie Permission Slip.
Select questions that are appropriate for your students.


    Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:


    1.  Did Liszt do the right thing in trying to take a child from his life as a gypsy and make him into a classical violinist?

    Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)

    Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.


    (Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)

    1.  Why did most of the people that Liszt knew hate gypsies?

    2.  Do you remember any other stories in which a man bets that he can take someone from the streets and train them? What are the similarities and the differences between the two stories?

Teachwithmovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.

Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: For another film in which the artistic contributions of gypsy culture play a role see, Strictly Ballroom.

This film is one of an excellent series about classical composers created specially for children ages 6 - 12 . The others are: Bach's Fight for Freedom, Rossini's Ghost, Strauss: The King of Three Quarter Time, Bizet's Dream and Handel's Last Chance . The first and perhaps the best film in the series, suitable for children 9 - 12, is Beethoven Lives Upstairs.

    Bridges to Reading: None.

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