Germany, 1919, following World War I, Anna (Paula Beer) is mourning the loss of her fiancé Frantz (Anton von Lucke seen in flashbacks), who died in the trenches during the war. When she makes her usual trip to place flowers on Frantz’s grave,she discovers that someone else has put flowers on the site. She soon sees the mysterious stranger crying over Frantz’s grave.
A man from Paris, Adrien Rivoire (Pierre Ninny) has come to call on Frantz’s parents, Dr. Hoffmeister (Ernst Stotzner) and his wife Magda (Marie Gruber). But before he can explain his reason for his visit, Dr. Hoffmeister treats him with disdain and asks him to leave. (Many Germans were killed by the French, and vice-versa, during the war and have no use for one another.)
Anna meets up with the mysterious stranger who turns out to be Adrien, and when he tells her that he and Frantz were close friends prior to the war, and that he had come to pay his respects to his parents, she brings him back to the Hoffmeisters’ home. Anna is especially close with the Hoffmeisters, their relationship like daughter and parents, and she would do anything to comfort them. She feels that meeting Adrien and hearing about his connection to Frantz will bring them some consolation.
While Adriens spends a great deal of time visiting with Frantz’s parents, and Anna as well, he is treated with animosity by the people of the town, as are the Hoffeisters and Anna for befriending him. Anna is rebuffed by Kruetz (Johann von Bulow) who has wooed her since the end of the war.
The Hoffmeisters become very close with Adrien and as Anna seems to be getting closer as well, they are quite upset when he suddenly leaves to return to France. The reason for Adrien’s quick departure cannot be revealed in this review. However, as the filmmaker, Francois Ozon says, this movie is about “our need to believe.” It is also about lost love.
Frantz is an excellent film with a cast that is special. The characters are intense and interesting and hold your interest throughout the 113 minutes. Written and directed by Francis Ozon, it is loosely based on Broken Lullaby by Ernst Lubitsch.
French & German Subtitles