Friday, May 19, 2017


I went along to the Watershed this afternoon to see Francois Ozon’s “sumptuous period piece set in the aftermath of WW1, where a young woman forms an unlikely bond with a man she encounters at her late fiancé’s grave” (as the Watershed’s blurb puts it).
In a small German town after the end of the war, Anna (beautifully played by the beautiful Paula Beer) mourns daily at the grave of her fiancé, who was killed in battle. One day a mysterious young Frenchman Adrien (again, very well played by Pierre Niney) also lays flowers on the grave… and the pair embark on a friendship – in which Anna finds some solace in memories of her beloved.
That’s all I’m saying… you need to see the film!
This largely black-and-white film is apparently a loose adaptation of the 1932 Ernst Lubitsch drama Broken Lullaby, which was in turn based on a play by French playwright Maurice Rostand – although Ozon has written his own new second half of the story.
The film is part-romance, part anti-war and highlights the struggles, sufferings and reactions of people from both sides (in this case, German and French). The film also highlights the rise of nationalism in Germany immediately after the first world war – a theme which has been echoed recently with a rise of nationalism in Europe generally (eg. Marine Le Pen’s far-right party gaining popular support in France; UKIP’s voice in the depressing Brexit vote… and some politicians calling for a return to borders).
It’s a powerful film about remembrance, love… and the pain (some would say ‘futility’) of war.
I very much enjoyed it (and was completely captivated by Paula Beer’s portrayal of Anna!).
PS: My enjoyment of the film was somewhat marred by the two loud-mouthed, elderly (my age!), ‘posh’ ladies sitting immediately behind me - who insisted on commenting on what was happening on screen in ‘stage whispers’ throughout the film – DESPITE me twice turning round and giving them my ‘look’!!

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