She has been described as a Habsburg pop star, the first royal celebrity, the first female figure to be shamed by the media, and a long-undiscovered 19th-century feminist icon.
Empress Elisabeth of Austria is now reinvigorating the modern age with two new films, two TV series (including a Netflix biopic) and a novel.
The latest of these, Corsage, opened in German cinemas on Thursday and premiered in Cannes in May, surprising some critics for its shift from a traditional empress romantic image to a darker psychological study. Her suffering in the shackles of court life is reflected in the title. The scene, described as “painful to watch”, depicts Sisi, played by Vicky Krieps, being strapped into her tiny corset and insisting that her maids, whose hands are blunt from trying, make her become tighter. Opening in 1877 on her 40th birthday, as she struggled to meet the expectations she had to stay forever young — fed on orange slices and beef broth — the film ended with a reportedly shocking scene, critics said. Saying it’s worthy of Quentin Tarantino.
Meanwhile, the TV series Sissi is a bleak portrayal of her bitter marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph and her brutal exploitation at the hands of the Habsburgs as a pretty puppet, which she only sees in her Producer of a proper heir to the throne. So far acclaimed, its candid depiction of her sexuality has caused a stir.
Sissi, as she is better known, is best known in German-Austrian actress Romy Schneider’s popular TV trilogy of the 1950s. Schneider also later played a more mature princess in a 1972 Luchino Visconti film about her close friend, the gay, eccentric King Ludwig II of Bavaria. “Sisi sticks to me like cereal,” the actress later complained.
A Bavarian princess who was assassinated by Italian anarchists at the age of 60 for rejection by Sisi before she was identified as a suitable future wife for Franz Joseph and married him at the age of 16 and had four children Known for accepting legal restrictions. Habsburg court life. Dominique Devenport, who starred in the Sisi series airing on Germany’s RTL+, said the character “worked” a relatable one due to her strong female narrative. “She asked the questions people asked themselves today,” she told German media. “How can I stay true to myself, what decisions do I have to make, and how do I meet everyone’s expectations of me?”
The Netflix series The Empress, due to hit theaters in the fall, is expected to join rivals to help spark new interest in the aristocrat, who was, to some extent, predictably widely compared to the late Princess Diana. There is an existence between Austrian filmmaker Marie Kreutzer’s “Corsage” and director Pablo Larrain’s Spencer’s 2021 historical fiction drama Similarities, the show follows Diana’s tormented life.
Süddeutsche Zeitung praised Kreutzer for subverting Sissi’s sweet image, showing her masturbating in a bathtub, smoking a cigarette, reaching out to courtiers, taking heroin to calm her nerves and calling her husband a jerk. “Kreuzter produced a shock therapy,” its critics wrote. He praised her for liberating Sisi from “Romyschneiderisation, Romy Schneider himself would be the first to approve”.
Karen Duve’s novel, expected to be published in September, will flesh out another side of her character: a glowing hunter and dressage rider. Duve describes Sisi as an “undiscovered feminist icon”.
Vienna’s Hofburg and Schönbrunn palaces, where Sisi lives, have long attracted those who wanted to follow her. Her fitness ring and pommel horse, which she is said to overwork on a daily basis, are one of the main attractions, while her face is adorned with everything from chocolate boxes to opera glasses. Sisi’s story recently proved a box-office success in the German-speaking world as the stage musical Elizabeth, which drew 10 million viewers between 1992 and 2019, but never made it to the English-language stage. It developed a particularly strong cult following in Japan, where it played out.
But Austrian commentator Hans Rauscher has said the recurring revival of Sisi’s story has a more sinister appeal. On the surface, he wrote on Der Standard, “the charm of a beautiful young woman, the queen of European empires,” but in reality, he said, it was a rather banal story, “of an overwhelmed teenager who marries at 16. It was given to her cousin, a pedantic fellow, and she contracted a venereal disease.”Describing the new work as “spicier, although as indigestible as Romy Schneider describes it,” he believes interest in Sisi has a lot to do with the Austrian-related traits she exhibits – “Depressed, believes obedience is higher than freedom, neurotic” – This “may explain Sisi worship,” he said.