- 1h 49min
Meriora Gillibrand (Ellen Vogel) disguises herself as a man to avoid prosecution for murdering her lover.Meriora Gillibrand (Ellen Vogel) disguises herself as a man to avoid prosecution for murdering her lover.Meriora Gillibrand (Ellen Vogel) disguises herself as a man to avoid prosecution for murdering her lover.
Based on a novel by Filip de Pillecyn, inspired on a 19th century woman's diary, it tells the story of Meriora Gillibrand (Ellen Vogel), a woman who killed a suitor in her youth, and has been hiding from justice for decades dressed as a man known as "Monsieur Hawarden", travelling along with her maid Victorine (Hilde Uitterlinden). All Meriora's reflections on genre, self-image or identity, are spread throughout the movie with excessive intellectual resonance, while, on the other side, everything related to Victorine is intensely worldly, lascivious, and mundane.
According to reviews of Pillecyn's novel, the treatment of the subject is romantic, so I am not sure what were the origins of Meriora's reflections, which later became topics of frequent debate, or if it was the screenwriter or the director who introduced the subtexts of lesbianism and pedophilia: the relationship between Meriora and Victorine is never openly assumed, and the interest that Meriora (who seems to be in her late 50s) has for the 13-year-old boy Axel (Xander Fisher) goes from maternal affection to hidden eroticism.
While the cinematography and locations are beautiful, the direction is overly cautious and antiseptic, and little effort was made to make actress Ellen Vogel look like a "monsieur", resulting in an effeminate lead. In spite of everything, as a pioneering film that announces the themes of gender and atavisms, as well as later films such as «Albert Nobbs», among others, it deserves a view.
- Jun 19, 2021