Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Amour fou.

The only redeeming factor about Jessica Hausner's best known film to date Lourdes (2010) was the performance of Sylvie Testud as the wheelchair bound Christine who visits the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes for the healing properties of its spring waters. Every thing else about the film was disappointing, as was the Austrian directors fourth feature Amour fou (2014) for which she also wrote the screenplay. Set in Berlin in 1818-1819 the story follows the 34 year old German writer Heinrich von Kleist (Christian Friedel), who had a successful novel published in 1808 entitled The Marquise of O, and his 31 year old married lover Henriette Vogal (Birte Schnoink) in the conclusive stages of there lives. Kleist is a strange character who wants nothing more than to commit suicide but wants someone to join him in a death pact. Marie (Sandra Huller) a young lady he intended to marry refuses to take part in Kleist terrible deed so he sets out to find someone else to accompany him in this bizarre undertaking. When Mrs Vogal, who suffers from an undiagnosed illness, captivates our writer he knows that he has finally found his true companion.
Christain Friedel and Birte Schnoink play the doomed lovers.

This soporific movie with its cheerless plot about death and depression does at times bring to mind the dourness of some of Fassbinder’s work and in fact Christian Friedel could actually be the young German filmmaker with his similarity in stature. Although one cannot criticise the acting, it's cinematography, the design or its colour palette it’s a rather uninteresting take on the 'tortured' artist genre which, at a screening I attended, managed to send a large percentage of its audience to sleep.

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