|The Russian Count (Bruno Ganz) Coming To The Rescue?|
It’s difficult to believe that this is an Eric Rohmer film. First, it’s a period piece and Rohmer’s films almost always take place in modern times. Second, Rohmer has never been known for his visuals, but for his heavy use of dialogue. The amount of dialogue in this film is dwarfed in comparison to the usual Rohmer film. So out of a 1811 novella by Kleist comes what can best be described as a film adaptation of that novella if it were made with the worldview and understanding that existed in 1811. Well, at least in the sense that films reflect the actuality of the times in which they were made.
The film begins in a tavern where some people are reading about the Marquise of O… who has become pregnant without her knowing how and she wants the father to come forward. Then we are thrust back to an attack by the Russians on a citadel held by the Marquise’s father–the Colonel. Soon the Marquise is grabbed by the invaders and is clearly in danger when the Russian Count appears and comes to her rescue. Brought back to the citadel in shock, it is suggested by one of the staff that she be given a sleeping potion. She is left alone with their footman Leopardo briefly, but he leaves. Then we see:
|The Marquise Half Asleep|
|And The Count Looking On|
Then it’s a fade to black that provides an ellipsis over a crucial period of time that provides the mystery that led to the posting read later in the tavern. At least it’s a mystery to the Marquise and her parents, who go from mystery illness to immaculate conception to a temporary exile of Marquise. To me, and I am sure anyone else, it was obvious. However, as I said earlier, it isn’t the viewpoint of 1976 or 2010 that governs this film, but one from 1811.
This is a unique piece of cinema so if it sounds interesting to you then by all means take a look. For everyone else, I can’t recommend this film.