The story: Anna, a young German woman has lost the man she was about to marry during the war. One day while she goes to his tomb, she discovers that another came to collect. This other one is Adrien, a French soldier. What link had to Frantz ? What will be the consequences of his coming ?
Throughout his filmography François Ozon has never ceased to explore the genres, the musical (Drops of water on hot stones, Eight women), drama (5 times 2, Young and pretty), passing by the camera, the comedy-drama and thriller (Swimming pool and In the house). With FRANTZ, he disappeared, this time, in the melodrama and melancholy, and has a feature film in two parts that through the stories of Anna and Adrien, immerses us in the turmoil of the franco-German relations after the war.
François Ozon sign a film-like demanding, but which turns out to be a sentimental story delicate, accessible and particularly sensitive. The director develops with a certain finesse to his recurring theme of the inner journey and think FRANTZ in an alternation to the least poetic images in black and white and color. Pierre Niney and Paula Beer who embody the first two roles, will give the reply in the languages French and German, and deliver performance perfectly righteous, while modesty and intensity. And Pierre Niney, the ex-boarder of the Comédie-Française reacquainted with the game of excellence that had earned him the César for the Best actor for Yves Saint Laurent in 2015, committing itself very definitely in the running for the awards in 2017.
FRANTZ opens up on the German countryside. In the foreground, a branch of cherry tree in color, the second, a village in black and white. The camera comes with a black and white spreads up to invade the image, the movie starts. Francois Ozon immerses us immediately in a visual ambiguity, a sort of strangeness in time. The two spheres seem to overlap, but which ones ? Are we seeing a dive in a souvenir ? A dream ? Another time ?
This questioning of the nature of what we see, the drama Ozonnienne loads with the ability to put it into an abyss throughout a solid script. Has the way of Swimming pool, Ozon combines the time, the realities, fantasies, and lies in a first part where the melodrama flirts discreetly with the psychological thriller. Adrien is a mysterious being whose reason of the advent in Germany and the link that united them to Frantz remain long disorders. The relationship that is being outlined between Anna and him is maintained also in a construction fragile and evanescent. We grope and FRANTZ can first of all give the feeling of being lost in a lack of rhythm; a feeling of attachment persists, and the plot seems to have trouble, to put in place, but the strangeness that troubles us is none other than the secret d’adrien that François Ozon guard preciously. Once the puzzle is pieced together, the film offers a nice momentum and launches into the second part of the thrilling and poignant.
“François Ozon sign a film-like demanding, but which turns a sentimental story delicate, accessible and particularly sensitive. “
FRANTZ has all along a densely written, mastered and offers a few scenes vibrant. Whether it’s a swim to the edge of the lake where a skin beaded dry in the sun, the singing of the national anthem by patriotic citizens, an act of intimate, tragic, or a kiss on the platform of a train station, FRANTZ plays on the feeling of sensual yet without ever betraying the elegance of restraint. Ozon seeks to reveal the intensity contained in the modesty, the suggestion of inner turmoil. His staging is clean but in no case be devoid of power. While non-spoken and stuttering, the two heroes disturbs us, intrigue us, and manage to touch us deeply. But beyond the romance, FRANTZ questioned the notion of courage, that is necessary to take his life in hand, to ignore the contingencies, follow his heart and forgive. The French filmmaker remains faithful to the bottom-feminist in which he adorns the majority of his filmography. And the character of Adrien, brave at first, admit his cowardice and submission to his destiny… While it will be a woman, Anna, who embodies the resilience and the transgression of his condition.
Beyond its dramaturgy, the great strength of the film comes from its superb photography. True element of the scenario, FRANTZ has his aura to a subtle work on the colour. Ozon made up the sadness and melancholy of an enveloping and bright black-and-white background in soft tones and colorful at the option of the hope, happiness and the feeling of love that sometimes into the heart of Anna. His chromatic palette is the emotional spectrum of the characters, and the game image of the brilliant Pierre Niney and Paula Beer, François Ozon delivers a film that is aesthetically remarkable.
With FRANTZ, we dive into the romantic history and romantic of the two characters that the events in between, the film is a story of love, resilience or destiny ?
François Ozon does not seem to choose, it merely endorse the optimistic message that we issued as of the first plan. As the natural cycle of life, after the dark winter will come the time of the cherry trees in bloom, of “the wind in the branches” and hope. If FRANTZ sometimes shows a bit naive and does not avoid some of the pitfalls sentimentalistes, François Ozon , who displays the ten-eight feature films, directed his film, the more successful and sensitive. FRANTZ has come to a close in the contemplation and a desire to live, what to do with it, certainly, one of his best films.
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