Eye For Film >> Movies >> Aimee And Jaguar (1999) Film Review
Aimee And Jaguar
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
As the tide turns in Europe and the fortunes of Hitler's armies falter, life in Berlin becomes ever more desperate for Jews and homosexuals. Felice (Maria Schrader) is both. She works as personal assistant to the editor of a Nazi newspaper, calling herself Mrs Schragenheim, while operating undercover for the resistance. She is clever at taking on the characteristics of what other people expect.
Lilly Wust (Juliane Kohler) is the privileged wife of a German officer, living in a large apartment with four children and domestic help. She is spoilt and silly. She is also exceptionally attractive. Home life bores her. The children irritate her. She takes lovers, as does her husband. If she was more adventurous, she might have succumbed to the lure of sexual experimentation, but romantic illusion protects her and she remains sensually naive.
First time director Max Farberbock has taken this true story and created a film of genuine passion and intelligence against a backdrop of impending disaster in a city that awaits destruction. The recreation of the mood of the times is beautifully handled. The threat of the Gestapo is implied in every untoward sound.
Lilly's emotions are pure. She doesn't have to hide what she feels. Felice has to hide who she is.
"Outside, people were dying. Inside, they were playing the right tunes."
For those who understand the rules of survival, Lilly's ignorance is a threat. Felice rages against her feelings, unable to deny them. Lilly's foolish heart is like a jewel in the dust and her love has the intensity of childhood.
"I don't think I'm strong enough."
For someone as conventional as Lilly, the thought of a lesbian affair is anathema. The thrill of discovery, fearful of its implications, goes deep into the dark places of an unquestioned prejudice. The moment that her defences break is so sensitively played by Kohler and Schrader that reservations fall away.
"It's too much, Felice. I can't stop trembling."
When Erica Fischer published Lilly's story in 1994, the book became a best seller. Farberbock's film deserves as wide an audience.Reviewed on: 25 Jul 2001