Vicky Krieps on how ‘Corsage’ is empowering: Women are ‘tired of behaving, tired of explaining our misbehaving’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“Our most important point was to show this woman for who she was and give a woman a voice, representing thousands of women who need a voice,” declares Vicky Krieps about the underlying themes about a woman’s agency and self-determination in the acclaimed period drama “Corsage.” For our recent webchat she adds about the film’s modern take on a centuries-old story, “we use it as a fairy-tale to talk about something, to show something that so many women feel,” she says. “I misbehaved as an actor, she’s misbehaving as a director and I think both of us being women, we were tired of behaving, tired of explaining our misbehaving. We just wanted to misbehave ‘because,’ create a character that is difficult ‘because,’ it is complex ‘because,’ because we all are these people. We, not one of us, is just one thing. We are all multiple things and we are full of contradictions and so that’s really what we wanted to do and I wanted to have fun with it too.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Marie Kreutzer (‘Corsage’ writer/director)

“Corsage” is written and directed by Marie Kreutzer, in which Krieps (“Phantom Thread”) stars as real-life historical figure Duchess Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie of Bavaria, colloquially known as Sisi, who became Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary from her marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I on 24 April 1854. The film’s international ensemble features Austrian actor Florian Teichtmeister as her cold and distant Emperor husband, German actress Katharina Lorenz, Englishman Finnegan Oldfield and Northern Irishman Colin Morgan. The epic costume drama is set in 1877 Vienna as a restless Empress on the eve of her 40th birthday is desperate to break from the physical and emotional shackles of life as a constrained corset-wearing courtesan. It’s a razor-sharp exposé on a woman’s worth and agency and also the cult of celebrity, as the reluctant Empress rebels against her strict and suffocating royal duties at court, touring Europe while hatching a plan to protect her legacy as she sees fit.

The subversive period drama is the Austrian entry for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscars following its Un Certain Regard world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival where Krieps was awarded the Best Performance Prize. The film was also recently nominated at the 2022 European Film Awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress, which Krieps won.

When Kreutzer and Krieps last worked together (on the Austrian filmmaker’s “We Used to Be Cool” in 2016), Krieps was already thinking about suggesting to Kreutzer that they make a film about the Austrian empress one day. “I related to this woman at the age of 15 and that stayed with me,” Krieps reveals about how Sisi’s story has been brewing in her mind for some time. “When I worked with Marie in 2016, we knew that we wanted to work again. I said, ‘you know, I really think we have to make a movie about her because why is no one making a movie about this woman?’ Marie looked at me and said, ‘that’s a very stupid idea,'” she smiles. “You know, she grew up in a country where everything was full of Sisi, like Santa Claus. So, to her it was the utmost superficial thing you could ever think about making a movie about, especially as a woman. And I said, ‘well, at 15 I had a feeling that there’s something behind it,'” she recalls. “Then we didn’t talk and two years later I got a analog hard copy of the script in my letterbox with a postcard, and the postcard read, ‘dear Vicky, I guess you were right. Here’s the script.”

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