The show Mozart in the Jungle, a commissioned series by Amazon for Prime Instant Video will return for a second season this fall starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Lola Kirke and Jason Schwartzman. Based in New York City and inspired by the book Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, a memoir by oboe player Blair Tindall, the show is set in New York City and follows the trials and tribulations of Hailey, an oboe player and her encounters with Rodrigo, the international superstar who is the new music director and conductor of the troubled (and fictional) New York Symphony.
Beyond an entertaining, binge-worthy first season, Mozart in the Jungle features some wonderful film locations, which urban explorers will recognize. It’s clear the film scouts on this show knows their stuff about New York City and its alternative side. Here are some highlights of New York City film locations from the first three seasons:
Season three takes place in New York City and Venice, with another group of star-studded guest appearances including Italian actress Monica Bellucci, opera singer Placido Domingo, film composer Nico Mully, and NBA player Baron Davis. In Venice some of the city’s most famous landmarks are included: the Piazza San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs, and the famous Grand Canal, on which Bellucci, playing an iconic opera singer, performs with Placido Domingo on two rafts.
1. Rikers Island
One of the standout episodes this season, “Not Yet Titled,” is a documentary style episode filmed in 16mm film that takes place inside Rikers Island. It’s an incredible feat of filmmaking, truly melding the line between faux and real.
The production brought in a real orchestra and the Amazon in the Jungle cast to perform for Rikers Island detainees in the jail yard, with the backdrop of the New York City skyline behind. Given all the controversy over Rikers Island, New York City’s largest corrections facility, and attempts to close the jail by activist organizations like Just Leadership USA and many others, the episode does so much to highlight the humanity of the incarcerated, their physical reality, and their potential. Actual Rikers Island detainees were filmed watching the concert and several were interviewed after for the documentary.
Read a full recap of the episode here.