Of all Schlöndorff's many literary adaptations, this sombre movie from Marguerite Yourcenar's novel is probably the best. It's set in a Baltic country house in 1919, surrounded by echoes and traces of the war, and the meat of it is a gay/straight triangle: Communist sympathiser Sophie (von Trotta) loves German officer Erich (Habich), who seems to be repressing a passion for her brother (Kirschstein). But it's drained of (melo)drama: Schlöndorff films it with eerie detachment, like a noir Effi Briest, the better to underline the politics. One memorable indulgence is a squawking performance from Valeska Gert as a crazed aunt.
Cast and crew
Geneviève Dorman, Margarethe von Trotta, Jutta Brückner
Margarethe von Trotta