Frantz (film)

Frantz is a 2016 drama film directed and co-written by François Ozon and starring Paula Beer and Pierre Niney. It is about a young German woman whose fiancé has been killed in World War I and the remorse of the French soldier who killed him. It was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival,[2] where Beer won the Marcello Mastroianni Award.[3] At the 42nd César Awards, Frantz was nominated in eleven categories, winning one for Best Cinematography.[4]

Film poster
Directed byFrançois Ozon
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • François Ozon
  • Philippe Piazzo
Based onBroken Lullaby
by Ernst Lubitsch
Music byPhilippe Rombi
CinematographyPascal Marti
Edited byLaure Gardette
Distributed byMars Films (France)
Release date
  • 12 July 2016 (2016-07-12) (Paris premiere)
  • 7 September 2016 (2016-09-07) (France)
  • 29 September 2016 (2016-09-29) (Germany)
Running time
113 minutes
Budget$11.1 million
Box office$6.3 million[1]

Édouard Manet's painting Le Suicidé is referenced and shown several times in the story.[5] Frantz is a loose adaptation of the 1932 Ernst Lubitsch film Broken Lullaby,[6] which in turn was based on Maurice Rostand's 1930 French play L'homme que j'ai tué.


In Quedlinburg, Germany, in 1919, Anna, a young German woman (Paula Beer) grieving over the death of her fiancé, Frantz Hoffmeister, in World War I, leaves flowers at his grave. She sees fresh flowers and discovers that Adrien (Pierre Niney), a young Frenchman, has done the same. Adrien goes to the home of Frantz's parents, Dr. Hans and Magda Hoffmeister, and tries to speak to Hans, but when Hans hears that Adrien is French, he tells Adrien that a Frenchman killed his son and, calling the French murderers, drives Adrien away. Adrien tells Hans, "You are right. I am a murderer". Meanwhile, Anna is rejecting the unwelcome advances of an older suitor, particularly as she cannot forget Frantz. Anna sees Adrien at the grave and sends him a invitation him to the Hoffmeister home. After she tells the Hoffmeisters that Adrien was leaving flowers at Frantz's grave, they relent. Adrien visits and, upon questioning, recounts falsely that he and Frantz were students together in Paris before the war. He even describes their supposed last day together, when they visited the Louvre. Anna takes Adrien to the places she and Frantz used to go together, including the mountaintop where he proposed to her. Adrien, whose demeanour reminds them of Frantz, lifts Anna and the Hoffmeisters out of their despair. The Hoffmeisters ask Adrien, who had been a violinist, but whose hearing was damaged in the war, to play Frantz's violin for them, as Frantz used to do. Adrien asks Anna to go to the local ball with him and she accepts.

Adrien is increasingly unable to maintain the lie. After failing to attend a dinner at the Hoffman's he was invited to, Anna finds him at night at Frantz's grave. Adrien confesses to Anna that he lied about being Frantz's friend in Paris before the war. Actually, they met as enemy soldiers on the battlefield, face to face in a trench where Adrien killed Frantz. Frantz was a pacifist and his gun was unloaded. Adrien found Frantz's last letter to Anna on his body and, wracked with guilt, resolved to visit Germany in order to seek forgiveness. Anna, heartbroken, says that she will tell the Hoffmeisters so that Adrien does not, resolving it is better for the Hoffmans to remain in ignorance of Adrein's role after they have come to like him and see him as a connection to their lost son. Adrien returns to Paris and Anna sinks back into despair, attempting to drown herself. She does not reply to Adrien's letters and destroys one he enclosed for the Hoffmans confessing his true role. After being nursed back to health by the Hoffmeisters, Anna's spirits gradually recover and she decides to contact Adrien again. When Anna sends him a letter several months later, it is returned with no forwarding address.

Magda Hoffmeister, who had encouraged a romance between Anna and Adrien, encourages her to go to Paris to find him. Anna eventually tracks down Adrien at his mother's estate and forgives him, though he says he will never forgive himself. She also discovers that Adrien is about to enter an arranged marriage with a childhood friend, Fanny. Anna realises that the romance she had imagined developing between her and Adrien had all been in her head; all he had wanted from her was forgiveness. She kisses Adrien goodbye at the railway station and leaves. She continues writing to the Hoffmeisters as if she and Adrien are now together. In reality, she is living her own life in Paris, having finally started living again following Frantz's death, as Frantz said she should in his last letter to her.



Critical response

Frantz received generally positive reviews from critics. Ty Burr of The Boston Globe said, "Frantz is pleasurable slow going, developing its themes at an amble but with a measure of suspense, sympathy toward its characters, and a lasting faith in filmmaking craft."[7] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also gave praise, stating that "Francois Ozon's post-WW1 period piece about a German widow and a French soldier takes on xenophobic hatred that's as timely as Trump, making Frantz a film of its time ... and ours."[8]

AlloCiné, a French cinema website, gave the film an average of 3.7/5, based on a survey of 33 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 90% approval rating based on 126 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The website's critical consensus states: "Frantz finds writer-director François Ozon thoughtfully probing the aftermath of World War I through the memories and relationships of loved ones left behind."[10] At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received a score of 73 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
Australian Film Critics Association[12] 13 March 2018 Best International Film (Foreign Language) Frantz Nominated
Belgian Film Critics Association[13] 7 January 2016 Grand Prix Frantz Nominated
Venice Film Festival 10 September 2016 Marcello Mastroianni Award Paula Beer Won
Golden Lion François Ozon Nominated
César Awards[14] 24 February 2017 Best Film Frantz Nominated
Best Director François Ozon Nominated
Best Actor Pierre Niney Nominated
Most Promising Actress Paula Beer Nominated
Best Adaptation François Ozon Nominated
Best Cinematography Pascal Marti Won
Best Editing Laure Gardette Nominated
Best Sound Jean-Paul Mugel, Alexis Place, Cyril Holtz, and Damien Lazzerini Nominated
Best Original Music Philippe Rombi Nominated
Best Costume Design Pascaline Chavanne Nominated
Best Production Design Michel Barthélémy Nominated
National Board of Review[15] 28 November 2017 Top Five Foreign Language Films Frantz Won


  1. "Frantz". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  2. Tartaglione, Nancy (28 July 2016). "Venice Film Festival: Lido To Launch Pics From Ford, Gibson, Malick & More As Awards Season Starts To Buzz – Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  3. Tartaglione, Nancy (11 September 2016). "Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion To 'The Woman Who Left'; Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals', Emma Stone Take Major Prizes – Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  4. "Annonce des Nominations pour les César 2017". César Awards (in French). Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma. 25 January 2017. Archived from the original on 27 January 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  5. Jourdain, Alexandre (7 September 2016). "Frantz - la critique du film". Avoir à lire. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  6. Holden, Stephen (14 March 2017). "Review: 'Frantz,' a Mysterious Frenchman and the Wounds of War". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  7. Burr, Ty (29 March 2017). "There's love and regret to spare in postwar 'Frantz'". The Boston Globe. Boston Globe Media Partners. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  8. Travers, Peter (16 March 2017). "'Frantz' Review: French WWI-Era Mystery Takes on Modern Nationalism". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  9. "Frantz". AlloCiné. Webedia. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  10. "Frantz (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  11. "Frantz Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  12. "The 2018 AFCA Awards". Australian Film Critics Association. Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  13. Staff (7 January 2017). ""Carol" désigné film de l'année 2016 par les critiques belges". 7sur7 (in French). De Persgroep. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  14. Tartaglione, Nancy (24 February 2017). "César Awards Winners: 'Elle' Best Film, Isabelle Huppert Best Actress – Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  15. "2017 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
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