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Elisabeth - Enigma of an Empress

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Empress Elisabeth of Austria owes her popularity - unbroken until this day - to a medium only two years in existence at the time of her death in 1898. The list of cinema films based on the life and suffering of the empress is impressive. These films ultimately resulted in a projection of collective desires and have helped define the current clichés.


Writer & Director: Tom Matzek
Camera: Ralf Rabenstein
Edit: Willy Leitgeb
Dubbing Mixer: Christian Rosenauer
Music: Kurt Adametz

An ORF documentary


Was she a victim of the Vienna court or a head-strong eccentric? Was she an unusual natural beauty or suffering from anorexia?


Did she know her murderer or was his assault pure coincidence? Did she live in remote fantasy worlds or was she simply unusually open-minded?


Five experts, among them a criminologist and a psychotherapist, probe the past in order to reconstruct a new image of Empress Elisabeth. Using scientific methods and specialist knowledge, they contribute to an image of a fascinating historic personality.


Her slender waist, her radical diets, her preoccupation with beauty were the stuff of a myth even during the empress’s lifetime, particularly in the light of a more rounded female beauty ideal of the 19th century.


Today, sensitised by the public debate about skinny models, questions about the empress’s state of health are quickly raised.

Fotos: Copyright by ORF

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