17-year-old Effi Briest is forced into a loveless marriage with the elderly Baron von Instetten. Living as the aristocrat’s trophy wife, Effi endures her provincial existence unhappily. Because of her husband’s constant traveling, she finds companionship with Major Crampas, a charismatic womanizer.
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Fassbinder proves that a film about adultery can be compelling without showing any actual adultery. Effi Briest is a great film (the mirror shots are fantastic as always), and now I want to read the novel. Somehow I got a Jane Eyre-ish vibe from this though—could it be all the talk of ghosts?
According to Schygulla's autobiography (http://digitaldacapo.com/hannaschygulla/de/das-buch.html) she had a nervous breakdown while finishing shooting this movie and even considered giving up acting for good. She took some time off to finish her studies, struggling with writing a final paper on schizophrenia and the link between art and mental illness.
Effi Briest is a carefree young woman,who marries an older upwardly mobile aristocrat.She accepts her new life,but forms a relationship with a known womaniser.Fassbinder not only shows effi's alienation,through his use of camera and mise en scene,but he also intentionally alienates the viewer through what he chooses to show and not show.We are voyeurs looking through the camera.We are the reflections in the mirrors!
So beautifully directed. Intense and philosophical. Schygulla is perfect. Every Fassbinder's film seems to teach you something about human feelings that you've forgotten, or to ask you to stop and think about them. It took me a while to watch entirely this film, but it's highly recommended.
Eine großartige und filmisch vielschichtige Literaturverfilmung, deren ruhiger, in viele Handlungsfragmente aufgespaltener Gang jedoch einige Geduld vom Zuschauer einfordert. Fassbinder bricht Theodor Fontanes Romanvorlage durch Stimmen aus dem Off und Texteinblendungen auf und akzentuiert mit diesen medialen Besonderheiten bestimmte, auch für die Entstehungszeit des Films typische gesellschaftliche Verhaltensmuster.