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Sissi, l'impératrice rebelle (2004)

TV Movie  -   -  8 March 2004 (France)
7.0
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The last three days in the life of Elizabeth of Austria before her assassination

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sophie
Didier Bezace ...
Docteur Mayer
...
Frantz
Malik Zidi ...
Rodolphe
...
...
Marie (as Xenia Rappoport)
Viktor Kostetsky ...
Gondrecourt
Yuriy Itskov ...
Lucheni (as Youri Itskov)
Liolia Lediakina ...
Ludovica
Tatyana Ivanova ...
Catherine Schratt
Lisa Nilova ...
Elene
Artur Nossovsky ...
Rodolphe (jeune)
...
Frantz (jeune)
Julien Hans di Capua ...
Andrassi
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The last three days in the life of Elizabeth of Austria before her assassination

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Fascinating subject, interesting script, unimaginative direction, debatable star
18 March 2005 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

Sissi may be forever linked in movie fans' memories with young and lovely Romy Schneider in those saccharine Austrian 50s films that made her life seem like a fairy tale. But Elizabeth of Austria's REAL tormented life was far more interesting and eventful, and this TV-made French-German film tries to reassess and de-glamorize the "myth" -- and half-succeeds.

Her life story was so fascinating that we tend to be condescending with the usual clichés that abound in any "royalty" movie, and also to the unimaginative, hurried, obvious direction (the final assassination sequence really sucks and is historically inaccurate, as are other situations depicted in the film). Production values are OK considering it's a TV production, locations are stunning and costumes are fine. The script links Sissi's troubled spirit and soul-searching with then uprising science of psychology, having her undergo sessions to talk about her life. The strict routine of Austro-Hungarian Royalty is glimpsed in some very good moments -- like when Sissi, to her horror, is literally "paid" in golden coins for having consumed her marriage with the Prince (did that really happen? Anyway, the scene works). Or when we see that the main job of some 2 or 3 of her chambermaids is just to comb her body-long hair. Or when we witness her despair as she realizes she will have no say whatsoever concerning her beloved son's upbringing and education.

The film relies heavily on the thin shoulders of Arielle Dombasle: if you can accept her very 21th century facial lifts and make-up as 19th century Sissi, OK. If you don't, it's going to be rougher. Anyway, this miniseries is far from bad and worth a look, if only to get a glimpse of the Austrian Empress's tumultuous life story. Not for historians, though.


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