Amour fou

Jessica Hausner

German poet Heinrich von Kleist proposes committing a double suicide to his lover Henriette Vogel. He truly believes that this act will praise and commemorate their love. Keen on paradoxes, Hausner examines the romantic sensibility and insanity with both rigour and irony, and delivers a visual masterpiece.

Young Romantic poet Heinrich is trying in early nineteenth-century Berlin to overcome the inevitability of death through love. 'Would you like to put an end to your life, with me?' he asks the women he meets at countless cultural evenings. When his lively, sceptical cousin Marie proves impervious to his weltschmerz, Heinrich turns his attentions to Henriette, the incurably sick wife of a business acquaintance.
Austrian Jessica Hausner (Lovely Rita, Hotel, Lourdes) based her refined, solidly designed costume drama Amour fou around the life and death of the German author, poet and essayist Heinrich von Kleist (Michael Kohlhaas, Die Marquise von O.), who made a suicide pact with cancer sufferer Henriette Vogel: they both shuffled off this mortal coil in the early morning of 21 November 1811.
Amour fou, however, is neither an overly serious biopic nor a heavy drama; it is much more a tragi-romantic, slightly absurd parable about the ambivalence of love.

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