In Vienna, about 1900, a dashing man arrives at his flat, instructing his manservant that he will leave before morning: the man is Stefan Brand, formerly a concert pianist, planning to leave Vienna to avoid a duel. His servant gives him a letter from an unknown woman, which he reads. In flashbacks we see the lifelong passion of Lisa Berndle for him: first as a girl who was his neighbor; next as a young woman who, in secret, has his child; then as a mature woman who meets him again and abandons husband and son to be with him. Each time he does not remember who she is or that they have ever met. By morning, he has finished the letter, and her husband awaits satisfaction. —IMDb
Max Ophüls (born Maximillian Oppenheimer, 6 May 1902, Saarbrücken, Germany – 25 March 1957, Hamburg, Germany) was an influential German-born film director who worked in Germany, the United States and France. He made nearly thirty films.
He started his career as a stage actor in 1919 but moved into theatre production in 1924. Two years later, he became creative director of the Burgtheater in Vienna and, having had 200 plays to his credit, turned to film production in 1929, when he became a dialogue director under Anatole Litvak at UFA in Berlin. He worked throughout Germany and directed his first film in 1931, the comedy short Dann schon lieber Lebertran (literally In This Case, Rather Cod-Liver Oil).
Of his early films, the most acclaimed is Liebelei (1933), which included a number of the characteristic elements for which he was to become known: luxurious sets, a feminist attitude, and a duel between a younger and older man.
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Reading his own love story without knowing it, tragic. Love the scene of the fake train with the scenery of foreign lands passing through the window. And also the musician who is tired of standing and playing music, she says : "I'd like to play for married people. They've got homes."
A masterpiece in its own delicate terms. Like St Augustine & his psalm, the present is penetrated by the past (the visual rhymes) & the future (the pamphlet Brand autographs with its train) & as in a dreamier Stendhal love is an illusion but ah the capacity to love nearly divine. I recognize its mastery, but wish I liked it more: a failure of my sensibility & my relative insensitivity to stories of amour fou
Also: Free Korean films in New York, first reviews of Geoff Dyer’s Zona and more.
Nothing too thrilling opening nationwide this week, so let's go local first and then overseas before running down the multiplex fare. "Visual