Pillars of Society

Film

Time Out says

Hypocrisy, opportunist exploitation, small-town gossip and greed: the ills infecting the bourgeoisie in the sublime '50s weepies of Douglas Sirk were already deliciously apparent in his German films of the '30s. Characteristically dissecting a decadent middle-class family, his Pillars of Society - adapted from Ibsen - employs the homecoming of black sheep brother-in-law Johann (Schoenhals) to exhume the buried sins of corrupt capitalist Councillor Bernick (George). Just as illicit desire and deceit fester beneath Bernick's respectable facade, so lucid detachment and acute psychological detail underlie Sirk's smooth, shimmering visuals: Brechtian songs and discreet symbolism keep things cool and clear until the repressed passions finally erupt in a cathartic sea-storm.

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