The 18th century literary genius Friedrich Schiller falls in love with the sisters Charlotte and Caroline von Lengefeld. After a passionate summer together in a menage a trois, jealousy and ... Read allThe 18th century literary genius Friedrich Schiller falls in love with the sisters Charlotte and Caroline von Lengefeld. After a passionate summer together in a menage a trois, jealousy and rivalry endanger their union.The 18th century literary genius Friedrich Schiller falls in love with the sisters Charlotte and Caroline von Lengefeld. After a passionate summer together in a menage a trois, jealousy and rivalry endanger their union.
Beautiful landscapes, beautiful interiors with subtle natural lighting, beautiful actors and some beautiful moments don't save this film from being a serious disappointment that may be tolerable on a TV screen, but certainly not on a cinema screen.
Allegedly this is a story about passion, and early on in the film there is a promising moment when Schiller, soaking wet and half-frozen after rescuing a child out of a stream, is warmed up by the sisters clinging to his body; this was quite erotic, but sadly it remained the only erotic moment in the whole film. The director's approach to sensuality and passion here is much too buttoned up; the result is bland and soporific. You can't have women like Herzsprung and Confurius in such a film and never have them undress; this is simply inexcusable.
I won't talk about the score here; the music is so irrelevant that it doesn't even affect the film negatively. I'd like to talk about scenes: Usually, a film, be it a Hollywood film or an art film, is made of scenes; a succession of scenes, with each individual scene having a beginning, an ending, a development in between, and a relation to the preceding and to the following scenes.
Dominik Graf obviously doesn't believe in scenes. Take, for example, the beginning of his film: First shot is a close-up of Confurius sitting in a coach. I expected that I would get to know this character now and that I would be guided into the world of the film. Well, I was wrong. Suddenly an ugly voice-over starts explaining who this girl is and what she is about to do. Then we cut to something else. So what about the opening scene? There simply is no opening scene! This is terrible. Imagine a writer writing a novel and not even getting his first sentence right. The editing is terrible throughout. I remember at one point there is a cut to a wide shot of a street, and about half a second later there is another cut away to something else before we even had time to appreciate what is going on in this street. Terrible. However, the general problem concerning the editing is not that it is too fast, but (and I don't know if the writer/director or the editor is to blame for it) that the editor was incapable of giving the story a compelling structure, a recognizable rhythm. Instead of a succession of meaningful scenes we get an erratic tapestry of meaningless pretty shots, and even if these shots group themselves to a kind of individual scene from time to time, there is no weight behind it, no sense that this scene had to start at exactly this point and had to end at exactly that point. In contrast to the sad mess that "Die geliebten Schwestern" is, you may want to have a look at Kubrick's "Lolita" (there may be many other good examples, but this film comes to my mind right now as a benchmark for masterful writing): Instead of trying to cram as many scenes of Nabokov's novel as possible into the screenplay, they wrote mainly long or very long unforgettable scenes, that give the actors time to breathe and to unfold.
Bottom line: If you love the art of filmmaking and wan't to spare yourself some serious frustration, I don't recommend this one.
- Aug 16, 2014