“Beautifully made and very moving” – Geoffrey Macnab, Independent.
At the end of World War I a young German lady mourns the death of her fiancé killed fighting in France. On one of her regular visits to his grave she meets a mysterious, dashing, young Frenchman. What follows is both unexpected and surprising…
François Ozon | France/Germany | 2016 | 113 mins | 12
“There should really be a medical term for the head-spinning, brink-teetering sense of giddiness felt by film critics when they spot a reference to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The feeling hits you with rippling regularity during Frantz, the new romantic mystery from François Ozon – although Ozon being Ozon, every riff and tribute is upside down, back to front, and bilingual to boot”. (Robbie Collin – Telegraph)
‘Frantz’ is a spectacularly beautiful, lyrical and surprising film. Rolling Stone magazine described it as a, “…rare beauty, this odd –duck of a period piece from the great French director Francois Ozon (‘Under the Sand’, ‘8 Women’, ‘Swimming Pool’). Frantz starts out as a remake of the 1932 film Broken Lullaby by Ernst Lubitsch.”
The story centres on Anna (Paula Beer), whose fiancé, Frantz (Anton Von Lucke) died in the First World War. Frantz’s empty grave is in the village of Quedlinberg, where his parents, Dr and Mrs Hoffmeister, live. Anna is staying with them as the daughter in law they almost had. On one of her many visits to Frantz’s graveside, she notices a Frenchman standing quietly by the grave. Over time she gets to know Adrien (Pierre Niney) and perhaps to fall in love with him. Initially the Hoffmeisters find it hard to even speak to Adrien since he an enemy soldier, and the French murdered their son, but his story works as a salve to their broken hearts and they too welcome him into their lives. They are all unified by their love for Frantz, whose influence permeates the entire film.
The two main characters are amazing together. Anna is stunning, measured, somehow of the time. Adrien is slender and birdlike, with a neat pencil moustache and a face that is handsome and enigmatic in equal measure, a cross between Buster Keaton and David Hyde Pierce. Adrien becomes a surrogate Frantz for Anna, bringing colour into the monochrome grief Anna and Frantz’s parents are facing. Their chemistry between Anna and Adrien is palpable and won them the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the Venice Film Festival. Their performances are outstanding and are well complimented by Philippe Rombi’s subtle and reflective original score.
Visually this film is perfect. The production is realistic and nostalgic, with visual references from works of the German romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich and Michael Haneke’s ‘The White Ribbon’, another edgy early 1900s German piece. Every shot has a purpose and meaning and every shot is beautiful.
Weighted vote 89.6%