During the attack on an Italian town by Russian forces, the Marquise of O., the daughter of the colonel in charge of the defence, is attacked by a group of Russian soldiers. A Russian Count comes to her rescue, and falls in love with her. While he is away, she discovers that she is pregnant, though she cannot explain how that happened. Her father repudiates her, and she has to reject the Count while trying to find out who the father of her child is.Written by
What can I say about Rohmer? the guy's a cinematic genius. Who else can capture so much reality out of situations that in most directors' hands would be nothing but facile theatricality that exhausts itself in one viewing? Rohmer's best films stand up to endless viewings, in fact, they're so detailed and well thought out, you don't get anything significant out of them until you've watched them many times. The Marquise of O is definitely one of his best. It's his only film that doesn't deal with the love problems of his contemporary French bourgeoisie--his only 'period' film made in the original German language of the book by Heinrich von Kleist it was based on. It is a deceptively simple looking work of pure art. Nuance upon nuance comes pouring forth from every actor as they give the subtlest and greatest performances of their lives under Rohmer's direction. Nothing fancy here on the surface, just a totally authentic look that seems to have stepped right off Goethe's time, as if Rohmer actually went back in time to the 18th century and shot himself a documentary. The film is, among many other things, a very strong criticism of the Christian mores of the period and how easily they can turn from being life-affirming and productively disciplinarian to prejudice and farcical cruelty.
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