For his first feature film, Cordula Kablitz-Post chooses to get out of the shadow of a woman outside the norm : Lou Andreas-Salomé.

Unfortunately, fallen into oblivion, unlike the men she has met (such as Nietzsche, Rilke, or Freud), Lou Andreas-Salomé, however, was a pioneer in the history of the independence of women. She worked constantly in her private life as in his writings to acquire this autonomy in the face of the men that she felt the equal. Has want to trace the entire life of this muse intellectual, novelist and psychoanalyst who unleashed the passions, the director Cordula Kablitz Post offers a biopic fairly standard over the events by approaching them at an angle more romantic than intellectual.

The film takes place in 1933, in the rise of nazism, and starts with an auto-da-fé of books. Lou Andreas-Salome is at the age of 72 years and lives more and more recluse since the psychoanalysis is forbidden, considered as a science Jewish. It is then that she decides to write his memoirs, helped by the germanist Ernst Pfeiffer (played by Matthias Link) with which it evokes his career – and especially his love affairs – by flashbacks.

By a succession of actresses who do not resemble each other (Liv lisa Fries, Katharina Lorenz and Nicole Heester), and that emit different sensations (sweetness, arrogance, antipathy for moments), in order to interpret Lou at various ages, the film is a little unsettling. Perhaps it is this voluntary, linked to the psychological evolution of the character as they age. Anyway, the good will and undeniable of each allows you to enter into the story. It dates back to the early age, which is taking shape, already, the determination, the will to make a place in the middle of a sibling purely male and get the same rights as her brothers. Cordula Kablitz-Post back about how this girl has built-in intellectual circles in Rome, Saint Petersburg or Berlin, much to the chagrin of his mother, having regard to the conventions of the time. It is mostly through his interactions with men, in his speech as in his actions, the director shows the philosophy of Lou Andreas-Salome : “Otuis your path, so you are and become what you are ! “.

“Lou Andreas-Salomé, a biopic of fiction that does not value the intellectual contribution of his heroine. “

In fact, Lou Andreas-Salomé had adopted a mode of life and thought to be unique of its time. She believed that becoming a wife or lover of a man she would fall instantly under their addiction and lose any chance of equality in the face of them. Initially, she refused, therefore, to any carnal pleasure, and decided very early on that she would never marry. This is probably one of the reasons why, in addition to its elegance, spirit and conversation, it has caused so many desire, even insanity among the great intellectuals of his time (among others, Paul Rea, and Friedrich Nietzsche asked her for her hand without success, but this ruined all the passage of their triangle friendly). What is interesting in the way Cordula Kablitz Post deals with the topic, it is clear that the men were fascinated by this woman, because as well with it as with a man. In a poem dedicated to him, Rilke writes : “You were a friend as are the men “. We perceive clearly, therefore, that at this time the women had a ” housewife “, sexual, maternal, and that it was not with them that we could discuss and even less fun ! The filmmaker also manages to make you feel, especially when the passion of love as its heroine lives on the later with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, feelings of choking, and obstruction caused by romantic relationships. It is precisely this which justifies the choice of life of Lou Andreas-Salomé and that fact that we do not judge. We understand this desire to maintain his mind free and independent, something that is manifestly incompatible as soon as love comes into play, and the inner conflict that plays necessarily between autonomy and intimacy.

In this sense, LOU ANDREAS-SALOMÉ is a film eloquent and successful, it exposes and explains everything, leaving the viewer the freedom to form his or her opinion. However, as soon as we pass to the second part of his life, when Lou Andreas-Salomé began her psychoanalysis with Freud, the interpretation of events put in perspective entrusts himself totally into question the motives, and by the same token, some of the convictions of the latter, which is misleading. Indeed, beyond the staging is whimsical and a bit of a cliché of this scene follows much the idea that this distance that she places between herself and the men is the result of a disappointment, a fear or anxiety generated by a man in his youth. Because of this, it would be somewhere realized, required more than voluntary, as the result of a trauma. It is always possible to deduce that it was able to take advantage of this, and this is the case, but we understand through the words of the director himself ready at the end of the film she wipes some regrets and that all the evil she did, unintentionally, to the men who crossed her way was a heavy price to pay.

In the end, if LOU ANDREAS-SALOMÉ gives light on this fascinating woman, it is a pity that the director has lost on the passionate side of his life at the expense of his intellectual activity because it removes a bit of interest in this tribute. If it has the merit to clarify very broadly the contribution of LOU ANDREAS-SALOMÉ, he had been less annoying in places and more constructive to focus on only a part of his life and further develop on some of his work such as narcissism positive. Despite some unique features in the production (the scenes in sepia), not sure that there remains something else this woman’s spirit that the narrative of a life shockingly outside the norm for his time and the feeling of having been taken at his own game…

Stephanie Ayache

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Original title : Lou Andreas-Salomé

Realization & Scenario : Cordula Kablitz-Post

Main actors : Katharina Lorenz, Nicole Heester, Liv Lisa Fries

Release Date : may 31, 2017

Duration : 1h53min

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