The Very First Biopic Like the Very First Fascination...
Rosemarie Retty Albach - better known as Romy Schneider - born on the 23 September 1938 as a daughter of the famous German actress Magda Schneider and actor Wolf Albach Retty has been one of the most popular actresses of Europena cinema. She fascinated her fans when she was still alive and she does the same, long after her tragic sudden death, when an entirely different generation can deservedly call her an icon of 'cinema grandee.' What lies in the uniqueness of this woman? What made a humble Bavarian princess 'Kaiserin Von Oesterreich' (empress of Austria) of the 1900s? What made a young actress of SISSI Trilogy an international celebrity? Is it her genius, her unusual talent? Or is it, apart from that, her SINCERE HEART for the audience?
The question will certainly occur not so easy to answer as Romy's entire life and career were highly sophisticated. Yet, some answers may be provided by this biopic, the first 'Spielfilm' (movie with cast) about Romy Schneider.
Although it is practically impossible to present the whole life-story with feelings, emotions, experience in a 90-minute screen production, the movie memorably highlights the key events that influenced Romy, her career and, particularly, her private life and inner self. This applies clearly to her relationship with her mum Magda Schneider (Maresa Horbiger), which is resembled already in her early childhood (in the opening scene, we see little Romy watching her mum and dad in the famous 1935 movie by Geza Von Bolvary). Moreover, this inner self applies to relationships with men, from her stepfather Hans Herbert Blatzheim (Heinz Hoenig) to the most beloved son David. Here, I would make a short note about the scene that struck me, as a viewer, when Daddy Blatzheim comes to Romy with a suitcase full of money. It was, for him, the effect of SISSI's success...Romy saw it differently...
The biopic is structured by means of linear content as well as flashbacks. Some events are not openly showed, yet indicated; some others are emphasized. What I particularly liked were the two aspects: Romy's fascination with Alain Delon, the great playboy of women's desires and Romy's experience with Luchino Visconti, the great count-director of Milan who, as Delon points out in the film, best understands actresses. This is built upon Romy's memory step by step from her SISSI stardom to her leave for France and her gradual adaptation to the new environment and new challenges.
By casting Jennifer Schwarz in the lead, the director nicely crafts the image of Romy in viewer's mind. She is not only similar to the real Romy Schneider, but she also portrays her character in a pretty satisfactory manner. As far as other cast are concerned, they all give pretty good performances but no one stands out as worth special attention. Here I would say that the casting is based more upon looks than great talents of the actors/actresses. Such characters like Delon portrayed by Giullaume Delorme, Luchino Visconti portrayed by Alberto Di Stasio, Daddy Blatzheim (Heinz Hoenig) are well recognizable. Nevertheless, I would agree with the other commentator's opinion that acting is no masterwork and, consequently, the performances are definitely not the strongest point of the film. Yet, this aspect is significant, particularly, if we recognize the movie as a biopic of the Actress whose life was occupied by the desire to give the best of herself, the Actress who undeniably can be treated as one of the greatest ones in the history of European cinema.
I am glad that some bitter events, including the separation with Alain Delon and, of course, the death of Romy's dear son, David, are not revealed so openly. The crew do not step into Romy's life brutally. The film-makers' intentions clearly respect privacy that Romy desired so much, especially in the most bitter moments of her life. This aspect is nicely highlighted as a strong opposition to the paparazzi and photographers who do anything, even climb the walls of a cemetery or dress as nurses, in order to take a picture of the grieving mother. Besides, there is a nice short mention about LA PASSANTE DU SANS SOUCI, Romy's last film, the film she desired to make with her son. Yet, the fate of hers occurred to be mute to dreams.
Memorable little biopic, 'memorable' because it's the first one, 'little' because it's no masterpiece whatsoever. Yet, criticism will not do justice since no work on screen will ever substitute Romy Schneider: her persona and her life. ROMY is a pleasant film about a celebrity, and...its initial nature makes it so fresh, so new like the very first fascination of a story of life, a story of love, a story of endless walking towards happiness...
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