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Eva has just gotten married to an older gentleman, but discovers that he is obsessed with order in his life and doesn't have much room for passion. She becomes despondent and leaves him, returning to her father's house. One day while bathing in the lake she meets a young man and they fall in love. The husband has become grief stricken at the loss of his young bride, and fate brings him together with the young lover that has taken Eva from him. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Dripping with symbolism and filled with marvelous cinematography, Extase is so much more than the erotic drama we've all come to expect. This is almost a silent film, with what dialogue there is in German, and highly simplified German at that. Perhaps the filmmakers intended the film to reach the widest possible European audience, as anyone with even a little high school level Deutsch can easily dispense with the subtitles. The story is of little importance anyway, with the film succeeding on a cinematic level, not a narrative one. Symbols of fecundity and the power of nature overwhelm the human characters--there are even scenes where flowers obscure the face of supposed star Hedy Lamarr--and there are moments here that will remind viewers of the works of Dreyer, Vertov, and Riefenstahl. If the film has any message to convey, I think it's a political one: bourgeois man is timid and impotent; working class man is a happy, productive creature; and woman is the creator, destined to be unfulfilled until she has borne a child. This blend of Soviet socialist realism and National Socialist dogma doesn't overwhelm the film by any means--it's a beauty to watch from beginning to end--but it does place it in a very distinct artistic era. And, oh yeah, Hedy does get her kit off.
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