“A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.”
Vicky Krieps transforms into real-life 19th-century Austrian lioness, Empress Elisabeth aka Sisi, for “Corsage,” writer/director Marie Kreutzer’s reimagining of the historic ruler. The period piece is officially Austria’s Oscar entry for Best International Feature at the 2023 Academy Awards after lead star Krieps won the Un Certain Regard for Best Performance at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
“Corsage” was officially selected to screen at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and as part of the main slate for the New York Film Festival. The film opens in theaters December 23 from IFC.
The official logline reads: “Empress Elisabeth of Austria is known for her beauty and fashion trends. But in 1877, she celebrates her 40th birthday and must fight to maintain her public image. With a future of only ceremonial duties in front of her, she rebels against her public image and comes up with a plan to protect her legacy.”
Krieps stunned in “Phantom Thread” and “Bergman Island” before taking on real-life historical figure Empress Elisabeth. The film tracks the empress’ travels to England and Bavaria, visiting former lovers and old friends to reignite her will to live and find purpose in the history of her youth in order to protect her legacy.
Kreutzer partially revises history, while also shaking up the details of Empress Elisabeth’s reign. Krieps had to stretch herself physically for the role, but told IndieWire, “I’m very fast in adapting physically to things. Otherwise one month and a half wouldn’t have been enough. So I had to learn the fencing from scratch, and horseback riding. I knew that, but not sidesaddle. So how do you steer your horse now with one leg? I had a timetable.”
Of the film’s historical liberties and anachronistic details (such as rotary telephones and vacuum cleaners thrumming in the background despite being in the 1870s), Kreutzer said, “I made many revisions to Empress Elisabeth’s real story, but most are smaller details. The most significant difference is in the ending to her story. Mostly I’m filling in what could have happened in between certain known dates in that one year of her life that I depicted in the film — and I wanted to give her the power to make her own decision about the end of her life.”
“Corsage” premieres in theaters December 23.
Check out the trailer below.