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“Corsage”: a true-false Sissi | VAT News

“Corsage”: a true-false Sissi | VAT News

The extraordinary Vicky Krieps lends her features to an anachronistic version of Sissi, the Empress of Austria in this overly measured feature film.

Elisabeth, Empress of Austria (Vicky Krieps, noticed in the excellent “The Hidden Thread” by Paul Thomas Anderson) has just celebrated her 40th birthday. Since we are in 1877, women of this age are old, just good for scrapping. Elisabeth is therefore aware that her beauty, famous throughout Europe, will irremediably wither, thus depriving her of all utility and therefore of all identity.

Far from being an examination of a woman’s vanity at the end of the 19th century, “Corsage” is a fierce critique of the dictatorship of youth exerted – historically and still today – on all members of the female sex. But there is more. Because the one who is nicknamed Sissi goes on a tour of Europe during which she sees former lovers again and takes a particularly hard look at her lack of political role, the shackles of the monarchy and propriety as well as on the place women in society.

The emphatic, even rigid staging of director Marie Kreutzer suits the subject perfectly, constantly sending the Empress back to the golden cage of which she is a prisoner and whose bars she herself helped to forge. With its anachronisms, “Corsage” could bring to mind Sofia Coppola’s “Marie-Antoinette” or even, more recently, the series “The Great” with Elle Fanning in the role of Catherine of Russia. But where the two works present their sovereigns as contemporary heroines, the filmmaker’s screenplay plays the historical card of gravity, seriousness and skilfully mixes the true with the false in order to deliver Elizabeth’s internal and external battles to us.

We deplore, especially with regard to “The Great”, voluntarily outrageous, this very calm and measured “Bodice”.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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