A film by Marie KREUTZER

Cast : Vicky Krieps, Florian Teichtmeister, Katharina Lorenz, Colin Morgan

2022 / drama / Austria - Luxembourg - Germany - France / 112'’ / Color / status : completed / German, French, English, Hungarian / long feature-film / All Rights / International collections

Empress Elizabeth of Austria is idolized for her beauty and renowned for inspiring fashion trends. But in 1877, ‘Sissi’ celebrates her 40th birthday and must fight to maintain her public image by lacing her corset tighter and tighter. While Elizabeth’s role has been reduced against her wishes to purely performative, her hunger for knowledge and zest for life makes her more and more restless in Vienna. She travels to England and Bavaria, visiting former lovers and old friends, seeking the excitement and purpose of her youth. With a future of strictly ceremonial duties laid out in front of her, Elizabeth rebels against the hyperbolised image of herself and comes up with a plan to protect her legacy.

A bold and timely reflection on a woman’s worth and agency in 19th century Europe, that pulls back the curtain on Empress Elizabeth (Phantom Thread’s Vicky Krieps), revealing the modern aspirations and darkest secrets of this disruptive early influencer. Directed by Marie Kreutzer (The Ground Beneath my Feet, Berlin 2019 Competition).


“A superb Vicky Krieps gives the Empress new clothes in a brilliant reclamation of the ‘Sissi’ legend. A bold costume drama. Embodied by a sly Vicky Krieps — in the best showcase for her defiantly peculiar charisma since Phantom Thread. A witty subversion of biopic and costume-drama clichés. The handsome, mischievous Corsage displays a different, if no less passionate affection for the woman struggling to breathe inside the corset — the kind of love that sets her free. The film feels like an invitation into a secret conspiracy to reach back through time and, with deft, irreverent 21st-century fingers, loosen the stays on Empress Elisabeth’s corsetry. The savvy production design embellishes the spiky, contemporary feel with atemporal flourishes.”

Variety - Jessica Kiang

“A playful, puckish portrait. Krieps is terrific in a role which depicts Elisabeth as both a victim of her gilded cage circumstances and a chain-smoking self-absorbed uber-bitch. There is a thematic kinship with Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, but in terms of its approach, Corsage has more in common with Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette: both films bring a touch of punky iconoclasm and irreverence to the propriety of the period drama, both embrace the unlovable elements of their difficult, misunderstood subjects. It’s a title which should be of considerable interest to high end arthouse distributors.”

Screen - Wendy Ide

“Vicky Krieps puts in a star turn. An exhilaratingly fierce, uningratiating performance. Brilliantly plays Elisabeth as mysterious and sensual, imperious and severe: a woman of passions and discontents. Like Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and Pablo Larraín’s Princess Diana, the kaiserin lives in a luxurious delirium of loneliness: notionally cherished, actually patronised. A cry of anger from the pedestal-prison of an empress. A shrewd sense of how women are isolated and restricted by whatever status they have been able to cultivate. For Elizabeth, the personal is political.”

The Guardian - Peter Bradshaw ★★★★

“Corsage is a period film that, along with telling a story, inquires into the nature and meaning of period films. It is clever and lush in execution. Vicky Krieps brings great complexity to her portrait of the empress.”

Deadline - Stephanie Bunbury

“A fiery revisionist history. Vicky Krieps shines in an entirely wonderful showing. In the hands of Krieps and Kreutzer, the Empress Elisabeth is an irreverent and tremendously endearing first lady with an insatiable desire to determine her own future.”

Indiewire - Adam Solomons

“A fanciful art-house study of a royal, valued for her beauty and style, who realises that she needs to escape from her unfaithful husband and her rigidly ritualised existence. It’s tempting, then, to call it Spencer for Grown-Ups… Corsage deserves at least as many plaudits. It’s certainly the more intelligent, haunting and waspishly funny of the two films. A deeply sympathetic portrait of Elisabeth, enhanced by Krieps’ delightful performance. Kreutzer’s exquisitely composed love letter ensures that everyone can relate to the Empress.”

The Wrap - Nicholas Barber

“Some will say this is the secret royal love child of Pablo Larraín’s Spencer and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, but it’s better than them both. This precise, daring and intriguing picture is easily good enough to play in the competition. It will be the movie of choice for Cannes’ hipsters, and it’s hard to imagine that there’ll be better films about a loveless marriage and a woman’s struggle for independence this year.”

Cineuropa - Kaleem Aftab

“A brilliant portrait of a woman on the brink. A stunningly invigorating take on the period piece, a vibrant film that rejects the staid conformity of the genre and finds its intimate angles. Corsage revels in the personality and conviction of Empress Elisabeth (played with wit and verve by the brilliant Vicky Krieps). Kreutzer crafts an elegant portrait that grants this historical figure a new lease of agency and autonomy.”

Little White Lies - Caitlin Quinlan

“The finely tuned performance of Krieps brilliantly anchors this restlessness. The actress’s ability to embody Elisabeth’s imperiousness in the face of ultimate restrictions to her role as one of exhibitionism brings Kreutzer’s engaging character study to life. Marie Kreutzer draws upon her ability to sustain a tone of disquiet. The consistently permeating restlessness of Corsage, supplemented by cinematographer Judith Kaufmann’s beautiful warm and cold hues, is notable, with Elisabeth at times resembling a bird in a cage.”

The Upcoming - Matthew McMillan


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