The Girl and Death (2014)
In Russia of the post-WWII era, aging doctor Nicolai (Sergey Makovetsky - DUSKA) returns to an old, abandoned hotel outside of Liepzig, Germany, the place where he first met his great love 50 years ago, and relives his romantic tragedy. The hotel still bears the traces of its impressive past. As a young medical student travelling from Moscow en route to Paris, young Nicolai (Leonid Bichevin) meets and falls in love with the beautiful courtesan Elise (Sylvia Hoeks) at the hotel, which is also a brothel. Nicolai prolongs his stay, despite Elise's friend Nina's (Renata Litvinova - PASSIONS) discouragement. After a few days, it becomes obvious that their love is doomed, and he is forced to depart: Elise "belongs" to the old Count (Dieter Hallervorden - DIE DIDI SHOW), who also owns the hotel. Five years later upon Nicolai's return to the hotel on his was back to Moscow, the Count takes violent measures. Elise makes a choice for the young Nicolai and the Count stops his payments to her. Her debts mean Elise, who has also fallen ill, cannot leave the hotel with Nicolai. Elise asks Nicolai to leave alone, but he refuses. She then pretends to reverse her choice, and returns to the Count. Enraged, Nicolai leaves for Moscow. Some years later, a now wealthy Nicolai returns to the hotel to take revenge on his rival. Nicolai snubs Elise and returns for good to Moscow. Elise, desperately alone and ill, remains in the empty hotel, which is closed down following the Count's death. 50 years later, old Nicolai receives a visit at his office in Moscow from old Nina (Svetlana Svetlichnaya - THE DIAMOND ARM). She brings him a book of Pushkin poems containing a handwritten message for Nicolai from Elise. Nicolai decides to return to the hotel forever to relive the tragedy that embodies the end of an era and the vibrant hopes and life of both its young couple and of a new world. (c) Shadow … More
as Der Graf
as Old Nicolai
as Old Nina
as Old Actress
as Customs Officer
as Bell Boy
as Desk Clerk
as Old Nurse
as Old Nicolai
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Critic Reviews for The Girl and Death
With far too much focus on form and feeling rather than a coherent story and character depth, the filmmaker diminishes what the meaning of cinema is all about. And opts instead for the silent imagery and still gaze more suited to the medium of fine art.
The film's emotional center rings coldly hollow, its star-crossed lovers coming off more like projected figures than flesh-and-blood players.
A leisurely-paced, operative love story with well-nuanced performances. If there were any justice, it would be nominated for Best Costume Design, Best Set Design and Best Cinematography.
The sort of movie in which one character will say "Love destroys everything; love is an illusion" to another character mere seconds after the two characters are introduced.
The movie proves to be a fragile conceit. It's as likely to fall apart and cause frustration as it is to induce a reverie.
As lifeless as its heroine, whose fate is so baldly spelled out in that title, this period confection strives for high romance but achieves mere ennui.
There's a difference between elemental melodrama and superficial clichés, and gorgeous cinematography and period production design can only delay this recognizance for so long-and certainly not for two grueling hours.
Though consistently watchable, never plucks the heartstrings in the way of a great star-crossed romance.
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