Fassbinder develops an aesthetic which, with distancing effects and an uncompromising commitment to short "anti-dramatic" scenes separated with fades to white, forces us to engage with an uncomfortable detachment. By no means easy to watch in one go, one can argue the film invites you to sample it in small doses as if reading a novel - to contemplate both the social dialectic and the brilliant visual composition.
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!
It may seem dull and tedious to some, but Effi Briest is another film from Fassbinder that I ended up falling in love with. The framing of many shots, often dividing characters with reflections, is gorgeous, helped by the simple black and white look throughout. Solid performances help keep viewers entertained during the more meandering moments. I feel this would make an interesting double-bill with Barry Lyndon.
In two minds about this film really. There were times I thought it was average, and times when I thought it was exceptional (them mirror shots!) so it gets a four. It's a film likely to improve with retrospect. Solid drama about the manipulation of youthful naivety. Hanna Schygulla reached her performing apex in this film.
The only good thing about this long-winded drama of manners was the hats. Effie wafts about looking into the far distance, with 70s glossed lips parted invitingly,'spontaneously' offering her gloved hand, and throwing herself at her man's knees until you want to scream. She finally acts like flesh and blood but not before endless scenes of repressed propriety. The end was predictable and didn't arrive soon enough.
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.
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).
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.