German film in which a sensitive girl is sent to an all-girls boarding school and develops a romantic attachment to one of her teachers. One of the earliest narrative films to explicitly ... See full summary »
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German film in which a sensitive girl is sent to an all-girls boarding school and develops a romantic attachment to one of her teachers. One of the earliest narrative films to explicitly portray homosexuality. Written by
Black Francis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Evocative Weimar-era study of Prussian all-girl school, relations
Although it would have been nice to see a well-restored and cleaned-up print of this, which was not the case, it still seems an exceptionally well made film for its era. The camera work was fluid and the sound was decent. It is a rich, provocative study with much to think about. While famously seen as a lesbian story, and that is part of it to be sure, it also concerns the rigid authoritarianism of its particular time and place, which soon led to so much sorrow and tragedy and sends out a strong feminist and tolerant message. The story is never boring and easily holds one's interest these many years later. It is strongly atmospheric and immerses one in the hothouse environs of the strictly disciplined, all-female world, where the girls develop close and intimate relationships and passionate crushes on their favorite teacher, Dorothea Wieck. She is fine here, and so is Hertha Thiele as Manuela, the primary focus of the story, but then the entire cast performs well, including Erika Mann, daughter of Thomas Mann and wife of W.H. Auden, as a bespectacled, tattle-tale instructor always running to the head of the school. The ending sent out a strong message and worked well, though you are left on your own to wonder how things resolved themselves as per the two lead characters. Well worthwhile to see if you can find it!
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