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What exactly is it that a conductor does?

I'm watching the movie "The Hidden Face". (seriously great movie). The primary actor is a conductor. What exactly is it that a conductor does? All of the orchestra has the music, so each should know their part. I'm confused as to why the conductor is considered such a genius, unless he/she is the author of the music and has a certain way of interpreting it. Even so, I don't get it. Forgive my ignorance. But please explain.
Thank you.

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    Dec 10 2012: They are the guys punching tickets in trains and trams.

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