Frantz

IMG_1097virginea creeper

Our Virginia Creeper.

To have gone though life without ever seeing this film would be too silly for words. It doesn’t matter if you are a lofty-left socialist eyes cast to heaven, a right wing progressive dodging tax fanatic, or a rabid capitalist in terminal decline, Frantz is a must see film. I would put it on the same level as Casablanca, Bicycle thieves, the Last Picture show or even the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men.

The dialogue is in German and French with English sub-titles. It is filmed mainly in black and white but occasionally changes to a muted autumnal colouring. The story weaves its magic between Germany and France during post WW1 in 1919.

The film begins showing a young woman putting flowers on a German soldier’s grave.  This soldier was never found and the grave is put there out of respect like so many other soldiers killed in action never to be found. The girl turns out to be the ex-fiancée of this soldier killed in France. She is taken in by a German family who are the parents of this soldier killed in action.

A mysterious Frenchman turns up in their lives. I don’t want to give the plot away but suffice to say that the similarity between both sides of this dreadful war shows up in the grieving of the dead sons by parents irrespective of being French or German. Both sides love the same music, the same family get togethers. Why did they kill each others’ sons?

It is a mesmerizing film. The audience from the first opening shot to the end were totally mute. Not a single crunch of popcorn, nor Coke laded belching. This was serious watching. At on stage a woman two seats next to me crunched on something but one side-long glance killed that one. She might have dropped whatever she was trying to munch on. It was just the seriousness of this movie whereby eating or drinking would  be sacrilege.

The last shots shows you a couple sitting on a bench viewing a painting by Edouard Manet’s “Le Suicidé,” –  in Le Louvre museum.

At the end of the film no one moved. The audience was frozen. No coughing or murmurings.  The credits rolled by, hundreds of them. Still no one moved. Finally a man stood up and slowly everyone filed out hardly daring to look at each other. Outside the cinema, and strolling back, the last of the Autumn leaves whirled by. It was windy again.

Go and see Frantz.

 

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26 Responses to “Frantz”

  1. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    It sounds very memorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lifecameos Says:

    A similar message of the similarities for both French and Germans in WW I was shown in the movie :Joyeux Noel” / “happy Christmas”. The war was fought by so many ordinary people who had no personal differences with each other. Always a sobering thought.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Julia Lund Says:

    I’ve not heard of this film, but will look out for it now … Thank you for highlighting it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yeahanotherblogger Says:

    It’s on my list.
    Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    A blogger in the US where I had also posted ‘Frantz’, remarked that, as it hadn’t grossed much money , it could not be much good.!
    I agree, the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins are much better.

    Like

  6. berlioz1935 Says:

    Thanks for the tip, Gerard. We intend to go when it comes to our cinema on the 8.6. We saw a trailer in the cinema last week. We love those kinds of films they are food for the mind and soul.

    Soldiers don’t fight for freedom or democracy. They fight for survival.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. chris hunter Says:

    Thanks gerard, I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    Like

  8. berlioz1935 Says:

    We went and saw the film yesterday. It is an anti-war movie par excellence. War messes with people’s lives. Many end up in an early grave and the survivors are marked for life.

    They always tell us we fight for freedom and democracy. This is a lie. People are forced to defend the lifestyle of the rich and the ruling class.

    In the end, the soldiers fight for their own survival. And so it was in this film.

    I liked the film on different levels.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. chris hunter Says:

    Gerard, in light of the film being discussed I will post here my recent commentary on war, hope I’m not out of order.

    In The Wake of Terror

    Many have opinions regarding middle-eastern generated terror, those responsible for it, and how it could be solved, if ever.

    As is well known western nations have an arms-fest going in the region, selling billions of dollars of weapons to one side or the other, not to stem the tide of war, but in fact brutal economics, the money generated is to die for.

    But just how did this long-running Arabian fiasco develop, what is its genesis, who is really responsible and what would it take for it to end, is there even an answer?

    Without going back to the Garden of Eden and the forbidden apple, is it possible to put a floor beneath the argument – is there a point in history where it could be said, “that’s it,” the moment in time this whole terrorism nightmare began?

    Arguably the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement is the floor – a ‘secret’ deal brokered between Britain and France (including Russia) to carve up Arabia after WW1, despite the fact the Arabs in question fought (in expectation) for the British Empire and never more famously than alongside Colonel T.E. Lawrence – aka Lawrence of Arabia.

    It was this phenomenal betrayal that so hurt Lawrence, and both during and after the war contributed to his ongoing suicidal state, he was devastated, broken, internally outraged by the situation he found himself in, cornered he took it absolutely personally, which in the light of his illustrious career, his demonstrated humanity and sensitive artistic leanings, is perfectly understandable. He had a conscience.

    Lawrence got to understand the Arabs, at least the complexity of their culture, he took nothing for granted and realised the need for an impeccable, demonstrated honesty; he was the moral embodiment of the British officer, certainly its aspiration.

    He became trusted, as he was fundamentally trustworthy, and it was this trust that his superiors exploited. His was arguably the greatest compromise of the first world war and the responsibility for it, the aftermath, drove him to levels of behaviour that English aristocracy had never quite experienced, or remembered, a national celebrity masquerading under a pseudonym, hiding without rank in the military. There was no template for it; Churchill was floored.

    A quote from Lawrence’s book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, chapter LXV111:

    “We retired a thousand yards up the valley’s scrubby bed to ambush for the intolerable day. As the hours passed the sun increased, and shone so closely upon our radiant trench that we felt crowded by its rays. The men were a mad lot, sharpened to distraction by hope of success. They would listen to no word but mine and brought me their troubles for judgement. In the six days’ raid there came to a head, and were settled, twelve cases of assault with weapons, four camel-liftings, one marriage, two thefts, a divorce, fourteen feuds, two evil eyes, and a bewitchment.”

    “These decisions were arrived at despite my imperfect knowledge of Arabic. The fraudulence of my business stung me. Here were more fruits, bitter fruits, of my decision, in front of Akaba, to become a principal of the Revolt. I was raising the Arabs on false pretences, and exercising a false authority over my dupes, on little more evidence than their faces, as visible to my eyes weakly watering and stinging after a year’s exposure to the throb, throb of sunlight.”

    So Lawrence lay in ambush with a disparate, yet highly focused mob, knowingly betraying them – they were not fighting for their future nationhood as they thought, were promised, but a secretly planned ongoing colonial subjugation and it sickened him to his guts; the implications he knew without a doubt would be long-term and horrendous. For Lawrence the emergence of ISIS and other terror groups would be as predictable as night following day.

    Is the “bewitchment” upon us – in Arab culture feuds can last for generations?

    The great and famous western corporations have made mega billions out of Arab trade and they do not intend to quit. Yet it is the countries these corporations call home that are hit the hardest by terrorism. The people caught in the crossfire are innocent, people going about their daily lives, they are not the politicians, the corporate leaders, or the arms manufacturers, they are the sad victims of a long history of dirty dealing, that goes all the way back to the shameful Sykes-Picot agreement – that’s where it all began.

    Will greater Arabia ever be allowed to draw its own map and not be subject to the ‘colonial’ map we drew up in 1916 – to suit ‘us’ – or will someone with great zeal press the bloody button and we’ll all go up in smoke? Unstable people abound in all walks of life, from top to bottom. Australia is not exempt, having invaded Iraq on a false premise, standing in front of a beehive without protection, poking at it with a stick. Former intelligence expert Andrew Wilkie warned us but was ignored. Why?

    There is an answer, but it begins with us, with real, honest diplomacy, historic awareness (feuds) and no amount of drones, bombs or missiles will help. That’s just asking for it, and we’re all kind of over it as well – the constant insecurity, the delays in travel, the general distrust that pervades our communities, and the copycat lone wolf attacks – we are reaping the whirlwind but refuse to see our part in it – and that is a problem, if we could see where ‘we’ have historically contributed to this burgeoning nightmare we may just be able to come to terms and seek a solution.

    Finally, on a personal level, I saw it all in South Vietnam when serving with 6RAR/1RNZIR (ANZAC) Battalion in 1969. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than by the allies during the entirety of WW2 and to what effect – it was a dumb military option that eventually led to our humiliating defeat – just as our continual bombing in the middle east is a dumb military option – and will resolve nothing, despite the fact that it is making certain western corporations mega rich.

    Liked by 3 people

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      Hi Chris, I agree with every word you wrote. As a survivor of WW II I am against wars of aggression. Your analysis of the reasons for Arabic anger is correct. At the end of WW I big mistakes were made and not only in the Middle East.

      I was appalled when the West got involved in Vietnam. The Vietnamese wanted a decolonised united country only.

      When 350,000 people in Sydney demonstrated against the war in Iraq we were called “mob” by the then PM John Howard. And they had the nerve telling us Australia was defending our way of life there. It was for our security. Look, how secure we are now.

      In the Arabic tribal culture feuding and avenging is part of their way of life and predates Islam. Plundering the oil was more important to our leaders than peace. Selling weaponry is the icing on the cake.

      We tried to control all and now we are afraid to go or travel anywhere. We became the hunted.

      Liked by 2 people

      • chris hunter Says:

        Hi Berlioz, yes, plundering the oil was/is the holy grail, they don’t give a rats arse about the consequences, the blinkers of greed take care of that….

        We are the hunted.

        Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Feel free Chris. This is an open forum for all. No trolls here.

      Like

  10. auntyuta Says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Suicid%C3%A9

    Thanks for this link, Gerard. I looked at it and found then another interesting link about Suzanne Manet.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Manet

    In the movie’s trailer it says:

    “Director François Ozon’s elegiac tale of love and remembrance is set in a small German town in the aftermath of World War I, . . .”
    As it turns out, this small town is Quedlinburg, which we were able to briefly visit in 1994. Here is a bit of interesting history about this town:

    http://www.uncommon-travel-germany.com/quedlinburg.html

    ” . . . the entire town was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.”

    The following bits about Quedlinburg I did also find very interesting:

    “This town was ruled by women for 800 years. King Heinrich I’s widow, Mathilde, founded a convent for aristocratic women in 936 and their granddaughter became the ruler of the town as the Abbess in 966.
    The Abbesses of the convent ruled the city until 1802, when Napoleon invaded and disbanded the Abbey.

    First Woman Doctor
    Maybe it’s no coincidence that the first German woman to win the right to attend a university was a native of Quedlinburg. Dorothea Erxleben was the first woman to receive the academic title of Medical Doctor in Germany in 1754.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thank you, Uta for all that information. We watched another movie today. A country Doctor. A very French movie, funny and enjoyable, showing the plight of a country doctor going well beyond the call of duty who has to grapple with his own problems.

    Like

  12. gerard oosterman Says:

    A Country Doctor is a charming movie.

    Like

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