In Paris during the summer of 1914 a succession of brief liaisons begins and ends with a soldier and a tart, but on the way moves humourously and sometimes poignantly through a fascinating panorama of society and of attitudes to love.
Julien Dandieu, leader of the socialist political party PRU is asked to be part of the new conservative government as minister of foreign affairs. However his reputation is somewhat ... See full summary »
Elizabeth sends telegrams to her old boyfriend Ben in NYC and to her younger sister Leo in Rome to join her in Paris, where she is selling her dead father's estate. When Ben and Leo arrive, a mysterious adventure begins.
An all-knowing interlocutor guides us through a series of affairs in Vienna, 1900. A soldier meets an eager young lady of the evening. Later he has an affair with a young lady, who becomes ... See full summary »
Five short comic sketches, all unrelated to each other, except that they are all expressions of Italian sexual humor. In one sketch, Marty Feldman plays a bodyguard, hired by her father to ... See full summary »
Historical evocation of Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin ... See full summary »
Carlo (Antonio Salines) and Elena (Sydne Rome) have been happily married for six years, but now Carlo has suffered a mysterious loss of his virility. Together, they try various schemes to ... See full summary »
Of all the film versions of Schnitzler's play, this is far and away the most faithful both to the letter and the spirit of the original. (Though the celebrated Max Ophuls version, LA RONDE (1950), is the greater film, it takes extensive liberties with, and rather romanticises, Schnitzler's text.) Veteran Viennese director Otto Schenk is perfectly attuned to the cultural nuances of the play, and evokes a wholly credible and finely-textured recreation of his native city circa 1900, free of the usual clichés and sentimentality. Refreshingly, he roots the work in its specific historical time and place (even the Viennese accents sound right) and lets the brilliant text speak for itself. There is no "opening-out", and the dialogues are played out in their proper settings, which are very nicely realized.
In a departure from theatrical tradition, Schenk eschews blackouts or dissolves when it comes to the sex -- as it does in all but one of the ten two-handers that make up the cycle. Try as one might, the resulting bouts of matter-of-fact rumpy-pumpy call to mind the jolly German soft-core porn of the era, and do not entirely work; but it is a brave and worthwhile experiment, evidently undertaken in a Schnitzlerian spirit of frankness rather than out of a desire to "sex-up" a costume drama.
The strong ensemble cast do a generally fine job. The performance that stands out in every way is Maria Schneider's, as the "Sweet Young Girl": inspired casting and a luminous screen presence.
Sadly, the current version of the DVD (as at 2007) lacks English subtitles, so non-speakers of German may need to bone up beforehand with one of numerous available English translations of the play. It's worth the trouble, though.
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