In the aftermath of World War I, a young German woman mourning the death of her fiancé Frantz, forms a bond with a mysterious Frenchman visiting her beloved’s grave.
The war has just ended and Anna (Paula Beer) is still living with Frantz’s parents, who are shattered over their son’s death. Meanwhile, the citizens of Anna’s small German town are just beginning to emerge from the shadow of the war. Spying a stranger laying a bouquet of roses on Frantz’s grave one day, the quietly grieving Anna is both surprised and intrigued. Hesitantly, the visitor reveals he is a French soldier, but with the horrors of the war still so raw in everyone’s minds, the small community makes it clear he is not welcome among them.
Adrien (Pierre Niney, The Snows of Kilimanjaro) soon reveals he knew Frantz prior to the war, as the two became fast friends over their shared love of art and music. Anna and Frantz’s parents eventually warm to the sensitive Frenchman, grateful for the chance to relive a connection to Frantz. But despite Adrien’s initial charms, his past slowly reveals itself to be more mysterious and murky than it seems.
Telling a familiar tale of love, remembrance, grief, and mourning in new and surprising ways, Frantz is a brilliant addition to the filmography of François Ozon (Potiche). Shot equally in Germany and France, and in both languages, it is an elegant, beautifully rendered, mostly black-and-white elegy to a lost generation and the legacy it left.
“This new film is exceptional and one of Ozon’s best.” (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
“[Frantz] continues the filmmaker’s long line of complex female heroines and explores many themes dear to Ozon, including mourning and the refuge fiction and/or art can offer in times of crisis. And as usual, the actors are all in fine form.” (Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter)
“It is a cunningly crafted fiction, full of visual artifice and narrative sleight-of-hand, that by the end could hardly feel more sincere.” (Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times)