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John F. Kutil
Berlin, the Romantic Era. Young poet Heinrich wishes to conquer the inevitability of death through love, yet is unable to convince his skeptical cousin Marie to join him in a suicide pact. It is whilst coming to terms with this refusal, ineffably distressed by his cousin's insensitivity to the depth of his feelings, that Heinrich meets Henriette, the wife of a business acquaintance. Heinrich's subsequent offer to the beguiling young woman at first holds scant appeal, that is until Henriette discovers she is suffering from a terminal illnessWritten by
Cannes Film Festival
Social commentary mixed with an unrealistic (in our time) romantic feelings. I preferred the former and took the latter for granted
I saw this film at the Film Fest Ghent 2014. What I liked most is the social commentary that was intertwined throughout the story. Nice view on the issues of that era mixed with social/salon behavior of those days mixed with how houses internally looked in those days. Especially the discussions about taxes and social order were very informative, in showing how the higher classes thought at that time, while bringing forward a series of arguments why they considered democracy a bad idea. Also, they had very strong opinions why paying taxes was something for the lower classes only, pending a law proposal at that time to extend taxation to everyone irregardless of rank or title.
I'm usually not fond of costume drama's. This time we were lucky to have aforementioned compensations that let me easily watch the slowly developing drama without being distracted by the historic attributes. Of course, what these people motivated to act how they acted, escapes our (at least: my) understanding. But I'm a certified nerd, and does not understand anything where romantic behavior is concerned. And, as a totally different matter, that Heinrich and Henrietta can undertake two journeys without any form of chaperoning, escapes me too.
Acting is superb, to such an extent that we gradually get to understand all major protagonists better and better in the course of the movie. That Heinrich halfway tries again to convince Marie into the suicide pact, makes clear that he actually preferred her all the time (rendering Henrietta 2nd choice). Collective suicide or not, this shifting preference makes the finale still more tragic as it already would be without that complication.
5 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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