Featured Posts

To top
23 Dec

Vicky Krieps delivers an electrical performance


Vicky Krieps in Corsage
Image: Courtesy of Felix Vratny. An IFC Movies Release

The primary draft for this review was cheeky and short: “Vicky Krieps. That’s it. That’s the review.” And while the presence of the Phantom Thread star alone must be enough to entice you to look at writer-director Marie Kreutzer’s sumptuous drama Corsage (in select theaters December 23), there are many delights to be present in this fictional retelling of a yr within the lifetime of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. However, to scale back the film’s tender yet exacting visuals as well its modern aural riffs to “delights” is to disclaim the way in which Corsage is a masterful and melancholy meditation on loneliness with a sucker punch of an ending.

As a title, “corsage” is a thematically wealthy concept. Bodices and corsets are in themselves figural embodiments of the constrained lives that those that wore them often led. Yet the corset was also necessarily tied to vanity, to women’s autonomy, and even to their agency; as we’re shown several times throughout Corsage, Empress Elisabeth required various ladies in waiting to assist her into that waist-cinching apparel. Yet somewhat than merely posit how such trappings were fashion (and trendy) prisons for ladies like Empress Elisabeth, Kreutzer’s project also explores the privilege and power afforded by such garments.

Corsage opens with Empress Elisabeth entering her fortieth yr. Adrift in her husband’s world and wallowing within the grief of a lost child, the Queen of Hungary herself is liable to bouts of melancholy. It’s not only that her royal duties bore her, though they do; it’s why she’s mastered the act of fainting on the spot to get out of public appearances. Or that she’s mournful concerning the way her marriage is now utterly devoid of sexual intimacy; the emperor, it seems, has found apt ways to manage. It’s that she continually stares out into the world round her and he or she finds little that comforts her. There’s horseback riding, yes. And shameless flirting. And the occasional visit to wounded soldiers. But overall, she’s dissatisfied with what’s grow to be of her.

Kreutzer centers all of this on the Empress’ body. Her birthday—not to say her depression—has left the Empress all of the more open to scrutiny, along with her weight and her body continuously being talked about. Her body is continuously on the mercy of a public and a populace who see her with little else but contempt. She knows her weight is fastidiously being observed, that her public appearances are ready-made instances to look at just how unengaged with the world she stays.

Corsage – Official Trailer | HD | IFC Movies

As Krieps allows us to see, though, the Empress’ sullen expression—that dazed and glazed look that seems so self-revealing—offers but a glimpse into her existential crisis. There’s depth to what looks like insipid vanity, layers to what look like easy requests. The Empress’ inner world is awash with insights into her own slowly self-effacing impulses. “No person loves no person,” she notes at one point. “Everybody loves what he wants from others. And we love anybody who loves in us that which we would really like to be.” There’s a nihilism to the Empress’ actions and multi-lingual words. She could also be a cipher to those round her (“She’s like a book to me,” certainly one of her attendants writes, “A riddle on each page.”) but, the more time we spend along with her, the more we realize that she’s more self-assured and self-reflective than most. She each blooms and withers in equal measure, making us wonder if one can truly occur without the opposite.

As we follow the Empress’ fortieth yr (which incorporates, we must say here without spoiler worries, an instance wherein she throws herself out a window), it’s clear Kreutzer is using this most cryptic of historical figures to assume what coy, forced smiles in official portraits can tell us a couple of woman’s seemingly listless life. Fairly than solely make the Empress a spoiled royal alienated from her country, her roots, her people—her daughter and son, even!—Kreutzer finds moments where her protagonist shamelessly indulges in her own desires and thus finds some solace amid a lot restlessness.

Vicky Krieps in Corsage - Courtesy of Film AG. An IFC Films Release

Vicky Krieps in Corsage
Image: Courtesy of Film AG. An IFC Movies Release

Capturing such depth in a personality one may otherwise describe as vapid isn’t any easy feat. And here’s where Krieps is available in. The Luxembourgish actress, who’s long been capable of embody an alluring sense of ambiguity—hers is a face that reveals and obscures in equal measure—finds within the Empress a most formidable match. Whilst the Empress cooks up recent ways of hiding and evading eyes each private and non-private, Krieps as a substitute opens up her face to disclose ever more about what haunts Kreutzer’s leading lady, letting her grow to be a model for a recent sort of woman in what’s ostensibly a dying world.

Such an approach necessarily makes Corsage brim with Twenty first-century feminist ideas (and ideals). On this, Kreutzer’s alternative to recruit Camille to construct out a contemporary, “sad girl” musical rating to accompany the Empress’ melancholia feels less like an obvious attempt to offer the film a recent air and more like a call that stresses the timelessness of her experience. We may possibly be squarely situated in various European royal halls, but Krieps’ protagonist feels out of time, her sardonic, dry wit a balm against the staid world she’s forced to live inside. By the point Kreutzer guides us to the film’s climactic conclusion (which really underscores the way in which the filmmaker has embraced the license inherent in any “fictional” retelling of history), Corsage establishes itself as certainly one of 2022’s most ravishing cinematic experiences, a treatise on boredom that’s as electric because it is energizing.

Recommended Products

Beauty Tips
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.