Effi Briest DVD
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Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Produced in 1974
Main Language - German
Hanna Schygulla stars as the youthful heroine in Fassbinder's tragic tale. It's one of the director’s most beautiful and dreamlike works, says Alex Davidson.
Effi Briest was a landmark film in the extraordinarily prolific career of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, made, unbelievably given its maturity, when he was still in his twenties. It was his first film based on a period story in this case, Theodor Fontane’s 1896 novel which he had wanted to adapt many years earlier. He later admitted he was glad he had had to wait, as his younger self would have made a much more straightforward work. The film gave one of his favourite actresses, Hanna Schygulla, her best role yet. Never more beautiful, she is remarkable as the doomed heroine.
Shot in exquisite black and white, it tells the story of Fontane’s young heroine, who as a teenager marries an aristocrat many years her senior. She is left alone for large stretches of time while her husband is away, and eventually enters into an affair with a debonair army major. When the liaison is discovered, Effi’s world changes forever.
This is one of the director’s most beautiful and dreamlike works. And while it is also one of Fassbinder’s most accessible films, his social comment is as bitterly acute as ever.
Alex Davidson on 21st September 2011
Author of 232 reviews
Effi Briest is the story of a 17 year-old girl stifled by a loveless marriage, too naive to understand that her liaison with one of her husband's friends risks bringing disaster on both of them. It is probably the most exquisite, successful and widely distributed film that Rainer Werner Fassbinder ever made.
Hanna Schygulla plays the young Effi Briest, pushed into marrying aristocrat Baron Geert von Instetten (Wolfgang Schenck). Unhappy in her marriage, she is seduced by Major Crampas (Ulli Lommel), which causes scandal in her highly regulated society. When von Instetten learns of their affair, Effi finds herself thrown out of the household with nowhere to go and no-one to turn to.
Publisher: Arrow Films
Format: DVD B&W
Released: 17th October 2011
Cat No: FCD581
by Anon on 18th February 2004
An utterly exquisite delineation of Nineteenth Century Prussia – both its society and natural landscape. The inner restraint and precision of each b&w scene – always ... Read on
An utterly exquisite delineation of Nineteenth Century Prussia – both its society and natural landscape. The inner restraint and precision of each b&w scene – always fading to white – ensure Fassbinder’s ‘dream’ project is never less than meticulous in its rendering of the literary source. Hide
“More a nightmare than a dream”
by Leslie Hill on 18th October 2011
It's hardly dreamlike. More like an account of what the beginnings of Fascism looked like in turn-of-the-century Prussia/Germany! Read on
It's hardly dreamlike. More like an account of what the beginnings of Fascism looked like in turn-of-the-century Prussia/Germany! Hide