Director: Francois Ozon
Cast: Pierre Ninney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stotzner
Genre: Drama Romance
Language: French, German with English subtitles
Country of Origin: France-Germany 2016 113 mins. (12A)
Released by Curzon Artificial Eye
In a small German town After World War I, Anna (Paula Beer) mourns daily at her fiance's grave. and lives with his parents, Dr Hoffmeister (Ernst Stotzner) and his wife Magda (Marie Gruber). One day Anna sees a mysterious man laying flowers on Frantz's grave and learns that he's Andrien Rivoire (Pierre Niney), a French musician who was a close friend of Frantz (Anton von Lucke) in Paris where they shared a mutual love of art and music. The pain and anger of Germany's defeat runs deep and Adrien's presence is resented by the locals, particularly Kreutz (Johann von Bulow) who hopes to marry Anna. The Hoffmeister's are soon won over and their initial resentment 'Every French man is my son's murderer' changes to trust and affection as Adrien relates stories, seen in flashbacks, of fun times spent in Paris with Frantz, and their mutual love of art and music. As they begin to enjoy one anothers company, Anna finds herself attracted to Andrien but senses that his sadness hides an untold story. With her letters unanswered after Adrien returns to France, Anna travels to Paris to seek the truth. Were Frantz and Andrien friends or lovers?
Adapted from Ernst Lubitsch's film 'Broken Lullaby' (1932) 'Frantz' is a rich, beautifully composed period piece with a terrific performance from Paula Beer. Shot in black and white with sudden bursts of colour that reflect happier times, Francois Ozon delves into a world of moral ambiguity, deception and lies. Where both sides suffered, can a lie be morally justified to protect from further grief? Marvellous cinema.