'Frantz': An Exquisite German Tale of Burgeoning Reconciliation in the Aftermath of World War I
Frantz (2016) is an exquisite and deeply resonant German drama starring Paula Beer as Anna, a young woman residing in Quedlinburg, Germany circa 1919. In the aftermath of World War I, Anna grieves the death of her fiancé Frantz Hoffmeister in combat, yet becomes unexpectedly acquainted with a beguiling young Frenchman named Adrien (Pierre Niney).
Visiting Frantz's grave, Anna is surprised to find Adrien leaving flowers at his headstone as well and invites him to meet Frantz's parents. It's in the home of Dr. Hans and Magda Hoffmeister (Ernst Stötzner and Marie Gruber) that Adrien describes his friendship with Frantz as students in Paris prior to the war, at a time of strained relations between their two countries. Adrien's presence brings newfound ease and restoration to Anna as well as the Hoffmeisters, though he harbors a dark secret he is terrified to disclose to Frantz's loved ones.
Based on the German novel Broken Lullaby by Ernst Lubitsch and directed by French filmmaker François Ozon (Swimming Pool, Summer of 85) Frantz is a warmly sympathetics depiction of loss and reconciliation. Paula Beer carries the show with smoldering shades of sorrow, curiosity and unexpected buoyancy—the storyline tracing along the arc of her emotional journey. Touched with shades of mystery and wry intrigue, it's a deeply emotive period piece worthy of newfound appreciation.
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