“The Legend of 1900” is a magical journey through music and time. It is set in the years from 1900 through the thirties and tells of a piano prodigy born at sea who never once sets foot on dry land. Named for the year in which he was born, 1900 (Tim Roth) becomes much loved as a talented oddity on “The Virginian”, a vast ocean liner.
He lives his entire life through the stories and lives of the people, the wealthy and immigrants alike, who make their way across the Atlantic from England to the United States or back again. He paints their portraits with his music: what is in their souls and in their hearts.
His extraordinary talent is recognized one day by Max (Pruitt Taylor Vince), a trumpet player who comes on board for a job and they become fast friends. But Max is forever trying to get 1900 to go ashore, urging him to take that first step which along with 1900’s talent will lead to great fame. Word of 1900’s talent even attracts the attention of jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton (Clarence Williams III), who comes on board to challenge 1900 to a dual. It’s a masterful scene of stunning virtuosity!
But, leaving the ship is not a step that 1900 can take. His whole world has been boundaried by the comforting confines of that ship. And so life, even the war, passes 1900 by. He remains forever lost in the sounds of his beautiful music and hypnotized by the rhythms of the ocean.
This is a stunning film of such beauty and originality. It is based on “Novecento” by Italian novelist Alessandro Baricco and features a marvelous score by legendary composer Ennio Morricone.
Tim Roth wonderfully portrays 1900 as a creature both innocent and worldly wise.
Lotta says don’t let this film get lost in the archives of 1999 releases. It’s brilliantly beautiful.