After losing her virginity, Isabelle takes up a secret life as a call girl, meeting her clients for hotel-room trysts. Throughout, she remains curiously aloof, showing little interest in the encounters themselves or the money she makes.
In 1919 Quedlinburg, Germany, a young woman named Anna is still mourning the death of her fiance, Frantz Hoffmeister, in the Great War while living with his equally devastated parents. One day, a mysterious Frenchman, Adrien Rivoire, comes to town both to pay his respects to Frantz's grave and to contact that soldier's parents. Although it is difficult for both sides with the bitterness of Germany's defeat, Adrian explains that he knew Frantz and gradually he wins Anna and the Hoffmeisters' hearts as he tries to connect with them. Unfortunately, Adrien and Anna discover the truth of his motives and things seem shattered for all. However, when Adrien leaves, Anna has her own struggles with the truth and her feelings until she sets out to find Adrien in France. With that, Anna has her own journey to make in more than one sense, even as they both realize that neither have easy answers to their complex personal conflicts with each other and the dead man linking them. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
'Frantz' would be the perfect film to be aired by the bilingual Franco-German television station Arte. It's half German and half French. In fact, the film is about how these two countries come to grips with the aftermath of the First World War. There is a German and a French lead character, and both languages are spoken. This is unusual, but doesn't feel strange. The story starts in 1919, with a young widow visiting the grave of her fiancé, who died in France during the war. When she notices a Frenchman visiting his grave, she is taken aback. He presents himself as an old friend from the time the soldier studied in Paris. But little things reveal that this is not the whole story. Soon, the truth emerges and the story takes some surprising and moving twists. Acclaimed French director Francois Ozon has put a lot into this movie. It is an anti-war story, but also a bitter-sweet love story as well as a portrayal of a society suffering from a post war trauma. It is most of all an appeal for mutual understanding and rejection of prejudice. In this sense, the message is now more urgent than ever, in view of the growing support for populist and even racist politics on both sides of the Atlantic. The film is shot in beautiful and stylish black and white, perfectly capturing the elegance of the period. Ozon doesn't need any distracting subplots or flashy gimmicks, apart from the use of colour in a few scenes. I couldn't quite figure out the meaning of this. Some colour scenes are set in a different time frame, others seem to indicate the rare moments of happiness in a time that's full of grief and sorrow. The very last scene captures one of those moments in a wonderful way.
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