Within Frantz, director Francois Ozon tells the story of Anna, a young German woman who has lost her fiance, Frantz Hoffmeister, to the First World War. Her grief and emptiness is touching to witness and is made even more powerful when we see the mourning of Frantz's parents, whom she lives with.
However, the appearance of a mysterious French man, who visits Frantz's grave and appears to mourn his death, raises the suspicions of Anna, who is curious as to his connection to her fiance. The man explains he had been a friend of Frantz's back in Paris and both Anna and the Hoffmeister's find some solace in his accounts of his time with Frantz. However, the cryptic man may not be telling the whole story.
The film is driven by two fantastic lead performances from Paula Beer as Anna and Pierre Niney as the Frenchman Adrien. They both deliver raw, emotional roles, with their grief over the loss of Frantz beautifully realised. The developing connection between the two, with a constant unpredictability over the direction of their friendship, is subtly played and Ozon is careful never to reveal his cards until the perfect moment.
Frantz treads a delicate line between being a mystery story, revolving around the identity of Adrien, and a delicate study of mortality, loss and the process of grieving. Ozon's film also hints at a slight ode to Hitchcock as the film gradually unravels Adrien's purpose in visiting Anna.
A memorable score that switches between ominous and melancholic, as seen in the trailer above, along with the fantastic usage of black and white, subtly transitioning into colour at significant emotional moments, makes for a unique and enthralling watch that excellently balances emotion and intrigue.