Vicky Krieps gives a superb performance as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Marie Kreutzer’s splendid biopic. Blending historical fact and whimsical creative license, Kreutzer takes us back to the late 19th century: the Empress, pushing 40, is a most discontented woman. Obsessed with her appearance, Elisabeth takes her corset as a measurement of beauty, and is determined that it must be laced tighter and tighter. She’s been politically sidelined against her will, and is growing restless and rebellious.
With sly inventiveness, wry humour, and a strong feel for visual splendour, Kreutzer guides us through Elisabeth’s world. It’s one of great opulence, but also stifling confinement; the writer-director portrays the luxury and the oppression as two sides of the same coin. As the Empress moves to protect her legacy and recapture the passion of her youth, the film deepens in power. The final act is a bold departure from the historical record, with Kreutzer asserting her feminist prerogative and giving her film a subversive conclusion.
Best Performance Prize (Vicky Krieps), Cannes 2022 (Un Certain Regard)
Vicky Krieps, Florian Teichtmeister, Katharina Lorenz, Jeanne Werner, Alma Hasun, Manuel Rubey, Finnegan Oldfield, Aaron Friesz, Rosa Hajjaj
In English, French, German, and Hungarian with English subtitles
Thursday October 06
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Alexander Glehr, Johanna Scherz
Photo by Pamela Rußmann
After graduating with distinction from the Vienna Film Academy, Marie Kreutzer worked as a script supervisor and in continuity in cinema and TV productions and made a variety of award-winning short films.
Her first feature film, The Fatherless (2011), has been shown and awarded at numerous festivals, including the Berlinale’s Panorama Special and was nominated for the Thomas Pluch Screenplay Award and the Austrian Film Award. Kreutzer is a board member of the Drehbuchverband und Drehbuchforum Austria since 2007 and a member of the Austrian Film Institute’s supervisory board since 2017.
Filmography: The Fatherless (2011); Gruber is leaving (2015); We Used to be Cool (2016); The Ground Beneath My Feet (2019)