Posts Tagged ‘Bicycle Thieves’

Frantz

May 24, 2017

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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