Elisabeth at a formal dinner

Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837-1898), the focus of writer/director Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage, isn’t that big a deal outside the Germanosphere. Inside it, though, it’s a different matter. A huge number of documentaries have been made about her in Germany and Austria, going all the way back to 1921. The interest remains fervent in the 21st century. So far this decade she’s made an appearance in no less than five Austrian/German dramatisations of her life – as well as Corsage, there’s the TV series Sisi; feature Elisabeth; another TV series, The Empress; and another feature, Sisi and I (whose release date got bumped when Corsage came along). What’s the fascination? Maybe it’s that she, … Read more

Bergman Island

Chris and Tony

French writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve genuflects before the master, Ingmar Bergman, in her playful and reverential drama set on Fårö (pronounced foe-rer, more or less), the island where Bergman wrote and shot some of his films, and which is now dedicated to promoting his legacy. In meta fashion, Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony are a pair of film-makers arriving on Fårö to seek inspiration for the next projects they are working on. Renting the house where Bergman once shot parts of Scenes from a Marriage, or so they (and we) are told by the woman showing them around, they get down to work, him beavering away in the bedroom, her in the mill next … Read more

The Last Vermeer

Claes Bang and Vicky Krieps

The Last Vermeer is the true story of Han Van Meegeren, art forger extraordinaire, who knocked out old masters by the likes of Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer, among others, during the Second World War and even managed to sell a “Vermeer” to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring for a fortune. Van Meegeren was initially brought to trial in the Netherlands after the War for having sold Göring what was supposed to be a real Vermeer, as a collaborator who had facilitated the expropriation of the cultural property of the Netherlands. But when he eventually admitted that the picture was fake, those charges were dropped. However, because of the skewed logic of … Read more