This is a film about the Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, born a Bavarian duchess, known as Sisi, and still obsessed over by the Viennese tourist industry. Despite the presentation of her, especially in a series of sentimental films in the 1950s, as a fairytale princess, she was a deeply troubled woman, as this film, set in 1877/78 when she was 40/41, shows. She was obsessed with maintaining her slim figure, and ate very little whilst maintaining a rigorous exercise regime. She also travelled a lot rather than spending time in Vienna.
The film gets what would now be described as anorexic behaviour right, and shows her travels including a visit to Northamptonshire, although it ignores her close connection with Hungary. It also shows how she struggled with her official duties and the attention they brought. I was a bit confused by the title, though: I would take “corsage” to mean a small bunch of flowers attached to clothing, but it seemed to be intended more along the lines of “corset”. Sisi wore her corsets laced extremely tightly – and a title of “corset” would obviously be a metaphor for the restrictions of the Empress’s life. So maybe something got lost in translation (the film is mainly in German, with English subtitles).
It ends with a suicide attempt off the coast of Italy, which is fictional and was rather depressing, but the general idea of the film, the pressure on female royals and to some extent on female celebrities, and the effects that that can have, is obviously still relevant today and rings very true. Don’t watch this if you’re looking for something light and festive, but it’s worth seeing if you’re prepared for what’s really a rather gloomy story.
One thought on “Corsage”
I want to watch this one some day. I’m watching the German Sisi miniseries at the moment and Netflix’s Die Kaiserin is still on my watchlist. Seems like the Germans don’t get tired of Sisi.
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