Romain is a very successful fashion photographer who's diagnosed with terminal cancer. He copes by being cruel and nasty to those he loves, until a visit with his grandmother changes his outlook. But, his boyfriend's moved out, now what?
Germany in the 1970s. Whilst waiting for his girlfriend, a young student, Franz, allows himself to be picked up by 50-year old businessman, Léopold. In his apartment, Léopold provokes Franz into revealing his homosexual experiences and soon manages to seduce him. Six months later, Frantz has moved in with Léopold and they appear to live as an ordinary married couple. The strain is beginning to show, however, and after a row Frantz threatens to leave. Whilst Léopold is away, Frantz is visited by his former girlfriend, Anna, and their romance is soon rekindled. Before the two lovers can escape, Léopold returns and his charms persuade Anna to stay. Léopold's ex-lover Vera then makes an unexpected appearance and the menagerie is complete... Written by
The film version of Fassbinder's play retains the theatrical structure
with 4 acts, 4 actors and 4 great performances. The dialogue wins you
over at once and keeps you in rapt attention hanging on every word.
Leopold a persuasive self-indulgent bi-sexual restructures the lives of
3 people as he introduces them to new sexual adventures. First there's
Franz a good-looking 20 year old who is contemplating marriage with his
girlfriend Anna. He becomes confused about love when he has a
homosexual dream which Leopold is only too happy to recreate once he
has enticed the somewhat inexperienced Franz into his bed. Then there's
Anna who is agreeably surprised at the change in Franz's sexual
attitude. She too is overwhelmed by Leopold's advances towards her.
Thirdly there's Vera - now a woman, once a man - Leopold's ex-lover
perhaps more confused and disappointed than any of them.
It's an entertaining romp as we watch the hand of experience "create"
new lives for each of them. Leopold always in search of novelty knows
what each victim is yearning for and he is only too ready to meet their
desires....at least until the novelty wears off.
I felt the first three acts were absolutely flawless. Act 4 with its
black humour was less appealing I thought. The telephone call to his
mother was quite unforgettable....."I think I'll go to Heaven because
I'm young!"....and spoken with such dead pan sincerity. And the
follow-up call to mother was a real gem.
Yes...it's the dialogue that fascinates and holds the play together...
the casting too is exceptional....and as for the old game of Ludo....
it will be so much more meaningful to me in the future!
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