The Marquise of O (1976)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Period Film, Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - France, West Germany  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Eric Rohmer's adaptation of the Kleist novella is a quietly charming, exquisitely wrought film. Set during the 18th century, the film focuses on an unmarried young Marquise (Edith Clever) who becomes mysteriously pregnant months after having narrowly avoided rape. Rohmer's fascination with Christian themes continues with this gently ironic twist on Church doctrine. The soul of the film is a beautifully modulated performance by the legendary German actress, who charts a gradual course from delicate embarrassment to desperate humiliation with stunning control. Rohmer practices his customary restraint, like Mizoguchi, registering the most passionate moments from a distance. Slyly commenting on the bourgeois obsession with respectability by setting it against the suggestively miraculous event, he makes the discomfort of the young woman's parents at once comic and touching. Bruno Ganz, as the unusually tactful Count, puts a brilliant finish on this wise and witty fable.