Beautifully acted, exquisitely mounted and fascinatingly evocative of its social setting, Beloved Sisters dramatises the shifting ménage-à-trois of the 18th-century poet Friedrich Schiller and the two sisters who shared his life.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
“TV director Dominik Graf makes an overdue and very welcome return to the big screen with Beloved Sisters, an enthralling, gorgeously mounted depiction of the complicated relationship between the post-Enlightenment writer and philosopher Friedrich Schiller and the sisters Charlotte von Lengefeld (who would become his wife) and Caroline von Beulwitz (his eventual biographer). Retaining the novelistic narrative density offered by television while taking full advantage of cinema’s larger, more enveloping canvas, Graf has created an unusually intelligent costume drama of bold personalities torn between the stirrings of the heart and the logic of the mind, while casting his revealing gaze upon Western Europe’s bumpy transition from the 18th to 19th century… Graf isn’t an ostentatious stylist, but he stages marvelous setpieces… He’s also found a series of inspired devices for dramatizing the intensely passionate correspondence that flies back and forth between the characters with a speed that rivals today’s emails. (This is a movie deeply in love with quill ink and wax seals.) Above all, he’s made one of those relatively rare ‘period’ films that pushes past the stuffy decorousness and mannerism of the dreaded ‘Masterpiece Theater’ school to get at a highly plausible emotional and psychological reading of how people actually lived two centuries ago.” — Scott Foundas, Variety