Sunday, March 22, 2009

Christine (1958)

I had no big expectation on this movie for the reviews were not positive. Critic Roberto Chiesi wrote it was ‘a pale adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’ and ‘a banal drama’. Christine is a remake of Liebelei (1933), a beautiful movie by Max Ophüls, who refused the offer to make a colour version 22 years later. After his death, in 1957 the project was passed to director Pierre Gaspard-Huit. If Liebelei stars Magda Schneider as Christine, in the remake it's her daughter Romy who plays the role.

Set in Vienna in 1906, 2nd lieutenant Franz (Alain Delon) ends his affair with the Baronne Eggersdorf (Micheline Presle) because he has found his true love in Christine (Romy Schneider), but at the same time, the Baron (Jean Galland) discovers the truth and challenges Franz in a duel to the death.

The story is simple, but I love this movie. The sets, the costumes and music are wonderful, not to mention the beauty of its two lead roles. Romy Schneider is shining in this. The innocent love of Franz and Christine is hard to find in nowadays movies. They are like two kids, playing happily in the world belongs only to them. The happiness depicted makes the sad ending very moving. We all feel the loss. “I don’t like stories with bad ending,” said Christine; but what can she do? Franz wants to start a new, but the past won’t let him go. “He had promised he loved me always, but he died for another.” It’s a bitter truth which Christine cannot accept. However, we can’t say that Franz dies for the Baronne, right? And I’m upset because Christine thinks so.

Christine is worth to watch, not only because of the sweet love story, but also because of its historical value. In this project, Delon and Schneider first met and would become ‘les petits fiancés de l’Europe’. If you know the story of them both and how it ended, the happiness we see in this movie evokes a sad feeling.

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