Wednesday, April 12, 2017

[Review] Frantz

Lies and truth. Love and loss. Director François Ozon's Frantz is a deeply emotional, classically told period drama about the intricate complications and lingering wounds of war.

1919 Quedlinburg, following the aftermath of WWI, a young German woman named Anna (Paula Beer) grieves the death of her fiancé Frantz (played by Anton Von Lucke in flashbacks), making routine strolls to his gravesite. One day, she happens upon a mysterious weeping Frenchman who we will come to know as Adrien (Pierre Niney), while he's leaving roses on Frantz's grave. Anna reaches out to him, and the two form a bond as she learns about Frantz's final days. Very intriguing...

This film is brilliantly shot--every single frame looks like a pristine work of art. There's also an interesting use of color, as the picture alternates between black & white and full color, with the shifts seeming to depend on subtle turning points or changes in mood. The narrative brings up weighty conflicts and tragically poignant daggers, as well as themes of friendship and forgiveness in the face of the toughest barriers. There's even a slight hint of Hitchcock influence to it all.

It's greatly acted too, with Paula Beer anchoring the turmoil and mixed whirlwinds of emotion--her eyes displaying their own story. Pierre Niney carries a convincing sense of secrecy, regret, haunts, and compassion. He reminded me of a young Adrien Brody, and not just because his name is Adrien here. The film also showcases a beautifully sighing musical score of stirring strings--a violin actually playing a significant part within the story. The melodic notes--so sorrowful, so moving...

( 8/10 )

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