Francois Ozon’s latest film, Frantz, is one that you may want to see twice. Once for the story, and then again to pay attention to the creative devices and background subtleties that comprise this complex cinematic artwork.
A slightly varied remake of the 1932 Ernst Lubitsch film, Broken Lullaby, Frantz tells the post World War I story of a French soldier, Adrien, who appears in an anti-French German town to pay respects at the grave of a German soldier (Frantz). He acquaints himself with Frantz’s parents and Anna, Frantz’s would-be fiance, telling them of his friendship with Frantz. But there is a twist to the story after which the plot moves in a different direction until it again butts against another twist.
Filmed in black and white with some almost imperceptible transitions to colour, it is exquisite to watch. There are insightful observations about war, point of view, deception and assumption without becoming preachy. All performances are strong, but Paula Beer as Anna stands out.
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich.