The historical drama Corsage centers on the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria in 1877, yet the film’s writer-director Marie Kreutzer says its message about female oppression still resonates today.
“I thought this could be a good story about women at that time but still today, still being raised and trained to please in order to be loved,” Kreutzer said during Saturday’s panel at Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles awards-season event.
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The filmmaker was joined remotely by lead actress Vicky Krieps of Luxembourg, who plays Empress Elisabeth.
“There was something that I could understand about being a woman or becoming a woman and can feel like being trapped or imprisoned in your body or your position,” Krieps told the audience.
Corsage is based on the true story of a year in the life of Empress Elisabeth. On Christmas Eve 1877, Elisabeth — who was known for her great beauty — suddenly faced from society and began to hide by wearing veils, when she turned 40 and was officially deemed an old woman.
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Kreutzer grew up in Austria and was very familiar with the story of Empress Elizabeth, but she wasn’t sure it was worth turning into a film.
“I was surrounded by her portrait on every other souvenir … so she was not cool or interesting to me,” Kreutzer said.
Krieps, who she’s known for years, convinced her that the story was worth telling.
IFC Films’ Corsage opens December 23 in select U.S. theaters.
Check back Monday for the panel video.