Film Review: ‘Amour Fou’

Christian Friedel and Birte Schnoeink

In November 1811, in accordance with their suicide pact, the great German Romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist shot and killed Henriette Vogel on the shores of the Kleiner Wannsee outside Berlin. Then he shot himself in the head. There are undoubtedly many ways you could tell this story, and some of them would be of the lip-trembling, violins-keening variety. Amour Fou isn’t that. Instead, Austrian director Jessica Hausner has fashioned a formal, feminist, wickedly humorous variation on history.

The movie suggests that Henriette (the placid Birte Schnoeink) is a Napoleonic-era version of a 1950s American housewife.

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