by Willard Manus
A young woman in a small German town spies a mysterious stranger visiting the grave-site of her fiancé, who died while fighting in WW I.
This is the opening sequence in FRANTZ, the latest feature by Francois (The Swimming Pool) Ozon. Shot mostly in black and whiteonly a few key scenes are in colorFRANTZ goes on to tell a story of love and forgiveness in a quiet, restrained way which is remarkably effective.
The young woman, Anna (Paula Beer), tracks down the stranger, who turns out to be a Frenchman named Adrien (Pierre Niney). I knew your fiancé, Frantz, in Paris before the war, he tells her. We became good friends. I came here to pay my respect to him.
Anna, who is living with Frantzs parents, Hans (a doctor) and his wife Magda, is grateful to hear any news about her beloved Frantz but hesitates before inviting Adrien to visit her at home. The war is only just over and its impact is still felt deeply, particularly by those who lost sons in the conflict. With resentment and hatred of the enemy such a raw, palpable thing, Anna fears that her surrogate parents will treat Adrien with hatred and contempt.
the case at first: Hans will not even speak to Adrien, leaving it up to
Magda to deal with him. Gradually, though, things begin to change and
Hans is able to accept Adrien for who he is, a decent young fellow who,
like most other infantrymen on the front lines, was only fighting and
killing because he had been ordered to do so by his superiors. Also, Hans
can see that Adrien truly cared for Frantz and had shared many warm, carefree
student days with him in Paris, playing music, visiting museums, and reading