Fontane - Effi Briest oder: Viele, die eine Ahnung haben von ihren Möglichkeiten und Bedürfnissen und dennoch das herrschende System in ihrem Kopf akzeptieren durch ihre Taten und es somit festigen und durchaus bestätigen
Fassbinder’s adaptation of a late 19th-century novel by Theodor Fontane is an austere period piece. The titular heroine (Hanna Schygulla) is a 17-year-old girl forced into a loveless marriage with an old count. Living as the aristocrat’s trophy wife, Effi endures her provincial existence unhappily.
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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.
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?
With all due respect: this was torture. Like watching paint dry. (Also: What's the point of adapting literature to cinema if you use literary narrative techniques instead of proper cinematic ones? This is barely a film, it's an illustrated novel. A pretty one, for sure).