I’m not a fan of Mahler on the Couch, the fictionalized biopic opening today at the Film Center, though I’m glad to have seen it for a few reasons. For one thing, it tipped me off to Percy Adlon, who wrote and directed the movie with his son Felix. Looking up the old Reader capsules of his Sugarbaby, Bagdad Cafe, and Rosalie Goes Shopping has convinced me that Adlon’s made some interesting movies, even if I haven’t seen them yet.
More importantly, the movie inspired me to put on some of Mahler’s symphonies for the first time in years. I’ve been especially drawn to his sixth, which he wrote soon after marrying Alma Schindler. It’s puzzled many that Mahler would write one of his darkest works (the sixth is nicknamed the “tragic symphony”) at one of the happiest times of his life. It doesn’t ruffle me all that much; I always assumed that symphonies and memoirs were two separate things.