Monday, 22 April 2013
The Countess (4½ Stars)
This film has grown on me since I watched it last monrh. Click here to read my review. In that review I called Countess Bathory remote and unemotional. That was a mistake. Julie Delpy portrays her as a deeply emotional woman. All that she did she did from love. She fell in love with a man 18 years younger than herself, and she felt cursed by being too old for him. This is what drove her to the excesses for which she has become famous. She killed dozens, maybe hundreds of young girls, but she did it because of love.
We also see that Erzsebet Bathory was hated because she was a strong, intelligent woman. Men felt threatened by her, so they plotted in secret. I find the scene chilling in which Gyorgy, Dominic and Istvan sit at a table planning to arrest her as a witch. Gyorgy, the man who proposed marriage to her; Dominic, the man who shared her bed; Istvan, the only man she had ever loved. All three men conspiring against her.
This is a very human portrayal of Erzsebet Bathory. Beneath all her atrocities she is a woman we can love and sympathise with. I praise writer/director Julie Delpy for achieving this monumentous task. This is the pinnacle of her career so far, and it will be difficult for her to exceed it in the future.