In the nineteenth century, seventeen year old Effi Briest is married to the older Baron von Instetten and moves into a house, that she believes has a ghost, in a small isolated Baltic town.... See full summary »
In the nineteenth century, seventeen year old Effi Briest is married to the older Baron von Instetten and moves into a house, that she believes has a ghost, in a small isolated Baltic town. She soon bears a daughter, Annie, and hires the lapsed Catholic Roswitha to look after her. Effi is lonely when her husband is away on business, so she spends time riding and walking along the shore with Major Crampas. Instetten is promoted to Ministerial Councillor and the family moves to Berlin, where Effi enjoys the social life. Six years later, the Baron is given letters from Crampas to Effi that convince him that they had an affair. He feels obliged to challenge Crampas to a duel and banish Effi from the house. Written by
Wow, I am out of sync on this German film. While the overall score is very respectable and the reviews are mostly glowing, I didn't like the film at all. Now I've seen about a dozen Fassbinder films and I often have really enjoyed them, but watching this one was a chore.
First, the film's style seems less innovative or interesting than just dull and, dare I say it, cheap. The black & white film looked more like a way to save money than anything else and the film played like a long series of vignettes all strung together with awkward dissolves. This made it all seem very episodic--like the audience is getting snippets instead of seeing a story.
Second, the story wasn't particularly interesting. The film played like a Bergman film WITHOUT the complexities. And, sadly, the film was slow and the characters uninvolving.
Overall, I found watching this film a chore. There are many wonderful German films out there, but I assume the average person would also find this film dry and unapproachable, as you need a lot of patience to stick with this film.
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