Wednesday, August 30, 2017

CastleDrama: Effi Briest (2009)

You see, I am a bit of a unicorn for I have never read "Effi Briest" by Theodor Fontane. Generations of German pupil have spent hours disecting the book published in 1896 that essentially started the genre of social realist novels in Germany and inspired many others including works by Thomas Mann. Somehow I always got around it despite the fact that I actually wrote part of my bachelor's thesis about Fontane. However, what I did do the other week was to watch 2009's dramatisation of the novel by the same name and I liked it. Though I can't quite believe the ending was Fontane's...

Effi Briest tells the story of a young noble woman by the same name. At the age of 17 she is married to a man more than twice her age, Baron of Innstetten. The couple moves to a small town on the Baltic sea. While Innstetten works on his social advancement and is often away for weeks at a time, Effi does hardly find any friends. She also suffers from nightmares about their haunted house fuelled by both her husband and his housekeeper. After about a year of marriage and the birth of a daughter, Major Crampas, a married womaniser, arrives to the small town where Effi lives. The two soon start an affair, which is broken off by Effi when she and her husband move to Berlin. Yet, she keeps her lover's letters - something that will ultimately lead to her marriage's end and her social downfall. However, I think I could have done without the 21st century's twist of events at the end of this movie. Better leave Fontane as he is with all his 19th century dramatic endings.

The trailer unfortunately is only available in German.

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