Full Monteverdi is a film which uses Monteverdi’s fourth book of Madrigals (written in 1603) to explore the emotional states of six couples in the process of splitting up.

This intriguing idea mixes the modern and classical and is entirely sung with no dialogue. Despite the lack of conversation the film is not lacking in plot. It’s beautifully shot with emotions presented in their rawest states by the cast (I Fagiolini – a British solo voice ensemble specialising in Renaissance music) The film is packed with interesting facial expressions and body language but it’s the composition of the film that is most impressive. Director John La Bouchardiere has cleverly used the symbols that we all recognise from films about marriages breaking down.

Within scenes we have close up shots of a broken picture frame, the giving of an engagement ring and then later a husband removing his wedding ring as he commits adultery. Everything is beautifully balanced and what may seem incongrous; couples singing opera in a modern restaurant setting seamlessly works.

The film begins in a restaurant where each couple begins to argue and then after a series of flashbacks in which we see the reasons why the relationships are breaking down we finish in a coffee shop where the characters sit alone at lonely tables.

The fact that there is no dialogue at all seems to heighten the emotions in the same way that singing is the most intense portrayal of emotion.

Eventually we give up studying the subtitles and allow the music and the imagery to tell the story.