Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Romy (4 Stars)

"I spent most of my money on men, alcohol and clothes. I wasted the rest" (Romy Schneider).

I reviewed this biographical film in great detail four years ago. I don't want to repeat everything, so please click here to read it.

Romy Schneider is often called the greatest German actress since World War Two, even though most of her films were made in France. I can't judge it, because the only films I've seen are the Sissi trilogy, which she made as a teenager. Others say that she was a great actress who wasted her career making bad films, but I find that doubtful because three of her films have a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe that's German prejudice? Germans look down on the French film industry. It was a slap in the face when Romy turned her back on Germany and emigrated to France in 1958.

Romy movied back to Germany after marrying the German director Harry Meyen in 1966, but she still went to France to make films. She said that German films offered no roles that were good enough to her. She wanted to appear in films written by Heinrich Böll, especially "The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum". She wrote to him repeatedly, imploring him to recommend her for the film adaptation of this novel, but he never replied. Why not? Didn't he think she was good enough? Or didn't he like her image with the constant scandals? Either way, it was downright rude to ignore her.

I feel like that not having watched more of Romy Schneider's films is a lack in my film education. I need to watch some of her films, especially her French films. I checked Netflix, and as expected not one of her 63 films is listed. If you're interested in culture, Netflix isn't the place to find it. Amazon Prime has two of her films. That's better than nothing. It's a good place to start.

I found the circumstances surrounding Romy's last film heartbreaking. It was about a woman whose son was a musical prodigy. Romy's 14-year-old son David was selected to play her son in the film, his first role as an actor. Before the filming began David suffered an accidental death. But business is business, life has to go on. Romy made the film. When she turned up to start filming the new actor was a young blond-haired boy who looked uncannily similar to her son. That was terrible.

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