7:30 PM, 26th July, 2017
François Ozon can do anything with a light and graceful touch – even a movie about teenage prostitution (Young & Beautiful), and an excellent one at that, which we screened in 2014. This time he works similar magic on a story of loss after the First World War.
In Quedlinburg, Germany, Frantz – killed in battle, seen in flashback only – is still being mourned by his family and fiancé Anna (Beer). Anna begins to notice an unknown Frenchman (Niney) visiting Frantz’s grave. He then visits the family, saying he knew Frantz before the war – and now the memory of Frantz becomes a bond between the two of them. But the Frenchman is holding back a dark secret. It’s best if I keep this secret. It may have been best if he did, too.
A technical note that may bore you, but please indulge me: this film is in black and white (with occasional, emotionally meaningful flashes of colour). For decades (’80s, ’90s, noughties), black and white films tended to look dreadful, because they were really shot and even printed in colour, making them look like monochromatic mould. Frantz was also shot on 35mm colour film, but graded digitally into the purest black and white. Non-technical version of this note: the black and white is creamy and fresh and wonderful; it makes us feel as though we’re walking through a lost age.