This film achieves maximum impact through subtlety Like a great book there are many reversals and one of the more Interesting uses of color in a long time to make the characters real and immediate to us.
Ozon delivers a post WWI tale of reconciliation, mourning, lies, hope and compromise. Gorgeously shot by d.p. Pascal Marti and wonderfully acted by leads Pierre Niney and Paula Beer this elegant and moving film deserves discovering. Also of note is a great turn by Ernst Stotzner as a German doctor well aware where the fault of war lies. Ozon's filmography entertains many genres and this ranks amongst his best.
To the victor go the spoils, which in this case is a very lovely German woman. The law of the caveman says: I kill your husband and you come with me. Only it's modernized. He just wants forgiveness, which isn't very manly, but very Christian of him. It seems like she talks herself into wanting him, given all the bad choices around her. I particularly liked that everything was understated. Ozon is a master.
3.5 Gorgeous cinematography. Could easily be trimmed by 20 minutes. Audience is way ahead of plot in first part, as so many clues Adrien is not telling the truth. Then it takes an interminable amount of time for Ana to go away. Grateful for the non-storybook ending, and for the vision of an unmarried woman able to exist on her own.
I am usually not a big fan of François Ozon but have to admit this film is really good and a beautiful way to speak about reconciliation and forgiveness within Europe. Set after the first world war a French man travels to Germany and spends some time on the tomb of a fallen German soldier. This mystery - why he is doing this in a rather hostile environment - slowly enfolds but never quite the expected way.
Another fascinating screenplay and a well-directed film by Ozon. Very, very delightful photography and editing of color vs b/w. Actress Paula Beer is remarkable, recalling the late Romy Schneider in parts.