Directed by Francois Ozon
19th – 25th May 2017
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Frantz deals with falsehoods, whopping great lies and deception of the highest order.
Set in the German town of Quedlinburg in 1919, Anna (Paula Beer) – an accomplished acting performance – is grieving for her fiance, who was killed at the Somme the previous year.
She visits the cemetery to lay flowers on his grave but is surprised to see a man standing next to it, seemingly paying tribute to him.
He is a former French soldier Adrien (Pierre Niney), and once the two of them become acquainted, he, in some ways, helps ease the mental torment of Anna and Frantz’s parents (Marie Gruber and Ernst Stotzner), who regard her almost like a daughter, by talking about his pre-war friendship with him.
But Adrien is not what he seems. He is a complex and mixed-up character. There is something out of kilter with him.
These are factors which strengthen the impact of the film.
There are a number of symbolic touches within the movie. Perhaps most notable is the swimming symbolism. Adrien joyously swims in a river located in a wooded area in Quedlinburg, with Anna looking on, while sitting on the grass.
But in a later scene she returns to the same spot but with deadly intent.
Amid the predominantly monochrome filming there are segments of technicolour, which produce a warm tone and effect, in contrast to the often sombre and austere nature of the story.