German Language Filmfest - Amour fou

Presented by the Embassies of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg in Ottawa as part of the German Language FilmFest

This blend of fact and fiction examines the German Romantic movement of the early 19th century though a wry portrait of poet Heinrich von Kleist.

Poster art for Amour fouConvinced the world is beyond redemption, Kleist (Christian Friedel) yearns to end it all in a romantic double suicide, something for which bourgeois housewife Henriette (Birte Schnöink) – married to a government official, with a young daughter to raise – would seem an unlikely candidate.

However, fate soon intervenes to give her a reason to humour Heinrich, and acclaimed Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner (Lourdes) subtly points up the absurd humour in the poet’s self-involved pomposity without losing sympathy for those, like him and the sensitive Henriette, who don’t quite fit into the rigid conventions of the world around them. And unlike other accounts of Kleist’s death, Hausner pays full attention to the motives and emotional life of lesser-known Henriette.

This is a fascinating look at a world about to be swept away by social change, and though not all viewers will be attuned to its urbane wit, the film’s poise and intelligence are undeniable.

– Trevor Johnston, Radio Times

Nominated for 8 Austrian Film Awards (including Best Picture) and Winner of Best Screenplay and Editing.

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