Famed for her turbulent lifestyle and intense on-and-off relationship with legendary French actor Alain Delon, Austrian actress Romy Schneider became a sensation at home when she was still in her teens by starring in a series of films about Empress Elisabeth of Austria in the hugely successful Austrian Sissi trilogy. She later moved to France where she made some of the most successful films of her career with some of the most acclaimed directors of the 60s and 70s including Luchino Visconti, René Clément and many more.
A year before her untimely death at the age of 43 and whilst at a detox clinic in the seaside town of Quiberon, Brittany, Schneider posed for exclusive photos and gave a deeply alarming and honest interview to a German journalist about her state of mind. In her new film 3 Days In Quiberon, director Emily Atef (The Stranger in Me) offers a beautifully well executed account of those 3 days in a film which stars German TV star Marie Bäumer whose eerie resemblance to the film star adds a huge dose of realism to the subject matter.
We first meet Romy at a five-star detox facility where she prepares to welcome controversial journalist Michael Jürgs (Robert Gwisdek) who is accompanied by photographer Robert Lebeck (Charly Hübner), a close friend of the actress. Found in a frail state by her childhood friend Hilde Fritsch (Birgit Minichmayr), Romy is advised not to give the interview as it may jeopardise her recovery and might put a strain on her relationship with her estranged teenage son. Over the three days, we start to understand the severity of Schneider’s mental and physical state when she is step up, plied with drink and prodded by the opportunistic and needlessly antagonistic interviewer who hopes to get his money’s worth from her.
Atef, who writes as well as directs, offers a raw and honest account of what happened during those three fateful days in a stylish black and white film which pays homage to Schneider’s iconic status and consequent fall from grace. The director manages to paint a picture of woman whose life has been marred by tragedy and self-sabotage and who finds herself unable to say no to those who may not always have her best interests at heart.
Offering Schneider as generous and honest, almost to a fault, Marie Bäumer gives a career defining and truly outstanding performance. Elsewhere, Robert Gwisdek gives a self-assured and decidedly inspired performance as the opportunistic and borderline sexist journalist Michael Jürgs who in the end can’t help but be swept up by the actress’s childlike infectious charm and lust for life.
Overall, 3 Days In Quiberon presents an honest study in toxic celebrity culture and offers beautifully well-observed, intense and hugely revealing account of a woman who became emblematic of how female celebrities were and continue to be treated by the ruthlessly misogynistic press, in comparison to the way their male counterparts are handled.
3 Days In Quiberon is in Cinemas from Friday November 16th