La Bohème Synopsis

Paris, 21st century. In their Latin Quarter garret, the near-destitute artist Marcello
and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by feeding the stove with pages from Rodolfo’s
latest drama. They are soon joined by their roommates—Colline, a philosopher, and
Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an
eccentric nobleman. While they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord,
Benoit, comes to collect the rent. After getting Benoit drunk, the friends urge him to
tell of his flirtations, then throw him out in mock indignation at his infidelity to his
wife. As the others depart to revel at the Café Momus, Rodolfo remains behind to
finish an article, promising to join them later. There is a power cut. Mimì, a neighbor,
knocks on the door and asks for a light. As she enters the room, she suddenly feels
faint. Rodolfo gives her a sip of wine, then helps her to the door. Mimì realizes that
she dropped her key when she fainted, and the two search for it. Rodolfo finds the
key and slips it into his pocket. In the moonlight, the two get to know each other
Rodoflo tells Mimì about his dreams and she talks to him about her lonely life.
Rodolfo’s friends call from outside, urging him to join them. He responds that he is
not alone and will be along shortly. Happy to have found each other, Mimì and
Rodolfo leave together for the café.
Amid the shouts of street hawkers near the Café Momus, Rodolfo inbtroduces Mimì
to his friends. They all sit down and order supper. The toy vendor Parpignol passes
by, besieged by children. Marcello’s former sweetheart, Musetta, makes a noisy
entrance on the arm of the elderly, but wealthy, Alcindoro. The ensuing tumult
reaches its peak when, trying to gain Marcello’s attention, she loudly sings the
praises of her own popularity. Sending Alcindoro away to buy her a new pair of
shoes, Musetta finally falls into Marcello’s arms. A “gilets jaunes” or yellow vests
protest walks by the café, and as the bohemians fall in behind, the returning
Alcindoro is presented with the check.
At dawn, a cabaret in the fringes of the city. Musetta as the mistress of ceremony
and guests are heard drinking and singing. Mimì arrives, searching for Rodolfo.
Marcello comes out of the bar, she tells him of her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant
jealousy. She can’t handle him anymore, she believes they should part. As Rodolfo
emerges from the bar, Mimì hides nearby. Rodolfo tells Marcello that he wants to
separate from Mimì, blaming her flirtatiousness. Pressed for the real reason, he
breaks down, saying that her illness can only grow worse in the poverty they share.
Overcome with emotion, Mimì comes forward to say goodbye to her lover. Marcello
runs back into the cabaret upon hearing Musetta’s laughter. While Mimì and Rodolfo
recall past happiness, Marcello returns with Musetta, quarreling about her flirting
with a customer. They hurl insults at each other and part, but Mimì and Rodolfo
decide to remain together until springtime.
Months later, Rodolfo and Marcello, are now moving out from the garret. They have
both separated from their girlfriends and they reflect on their loneliness. Colline and
Schaunard bring a meager meal. To lighten their spirits, the four stage a dance,
which turns into a mock duel. At the height of the hilarity, Musetta bursts in with
news that Mimì is outside, she looks very weak. As Rodolfo runs to her aid, Musetta
relates how Mimì begged to be taken to Rodolfo to die. She is made as comfortable
as possible. While the friends decide to collect money to buy her medicine, Colline
goes off to pawn his overcoat. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first meeting
and the early happy days of their relationship. The others return and as Musetta
prays Mimì slowly drifts into unconsciousness. The friends realize that she is dead,
and Rodolfo collapses in despair.

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