Ambitious German imperial hussars veteran baron Geert von Instetten takes office as coastal district administrator, hoping to e promoted to the colonies. His childhood love, Luise, married ...
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Ambitious German imperial hussars veteran baron Geert von Instetten takes office as coastal district administrator, hoping to e promoted to the colonies. His childhood love, Luise, married local estate owner von Briest and now arranges for their daughter, Effie, to wed the baron, rather then her beloved cousin Dagobert. In his creepy home, built and filled with exotica by an ocean captain whose Chinese servant is said to haunt it, Effie believes to meet ghosts. She starts an affair with married, swagger major von Crampas. Written by
The German 2009 movie "Effi Briest" is one of the more recent and also more famous takes on the successful novel by Theodor Fontane. Director is Hermine Huntgeburth, writer is Volker Einrauch and this film here runs for a fairly impressive 2 hours. The title character is played by Julia Jentsch and other known names in here are Sebastian Koch, Misel Maticevic, Juliane Köhler and Thomas Thieme, a favorite of mine. So the cast here is certainly experienced and they all have been in successful films and won quite a fair share of awards during their long careers. So what is the reason the film did not work so well? Maybe it is that Jentsch was not the best choice for Briest here? I think she is a good actress, but usually one that delivers the most in rebellious characters with lots of dedication. Briest may be that too, at least to some extent, but the fact that she has to surrender to the rules of her era for almost the entire film requires a completely different skill set.
Or maybe it is just me who is not really that interested in the entire story of Effi Briest. Admittedly, I also never read the book, which may have helped in appreciating this film more than I did. Still I believe that costume dramas and period pieces are are (besides science fiction) the one area, in which German films really almost never deliver. Tough to say what may be the grounds for that as there are many interesting works by German writers, who totally excelled, but if they could see these film adaptations, I am fairly certain they'd be mostly disappointed. As for this one here, it is simply not a particularly interesting and engaging watch and the last shot with Effi smiling while we see Koch's character look at her desperately was also fairly cringeworthy. A bad way to end the film. The best scene was possibly the dueling between Koch's and Maticevic's characters. This was really the only moment when I felt truly entertained. But this is obviously not enough, especially for a 2-hour-film. I do not recommend it. Maybe check out Fassbinder's approach instead, which I will soon as well.
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