The choice to shoot in black and white stems from Lebeck’s original photography of Romy Schneider, but feels like a natural fit for 3 Days in Quiberon; Schneider has intentionally isolated herself in Quiberon, and the simplicities of a world drained of colour reflect her plans to shut off the distractions and focus on her own healing.
As the film progresses, further benefits become clear. Schneider is trapped in her own self-imposed exile, under threat from manipulative forces she has invited in, and director Emily Atef milks the black-and-white cinematography and the stark seaside setting for all its worth – to either isolate or expose the actress with light or shadow.
The relationships between the four central characters each feel grounded and well lived-in, and 3 Days in Quiberon is keen to explore Schneider from a range of points of view. The film spreads itself a little thin, but ultimately holds together as a character-driven four-hander, exploring the connections around Schneider but always with her presence looming in the silences.
The film’s weakest sequences actually involve Schneider herself, as Quiberon over-indulges in self-loathing and manipulative red herrings that jar against the melancholy and reflective tone. Thankfully the light prevails, and 3 Days in Quiberon skips any diva dramatics and rests on its laurels as an uplifting and humorous exploration of the legendary starlet. As Schneider, Marie Bäumer is enchanting and comfortably melds the light and dark inside the actress at this low period of her life.
Like its subject, 3 Days in Quiberon is at times at conflict with itself, and without such a rich central performance the film would fall apart at the seams. Thankfully Bäumer’s magnetism and the chemistry between a talented supporting cast gets the film through its rough patches.
CAST: Marie Bäumer, Birgit Minichmayr, Charly Hübner, Robert Gwisdek
DIRECTOR: Emily Atef
WRITER: Emily Atef
SYNOPSIS: In a rehab clinic Romy Schneider gives her last interview to two journalists. Three days, driven by romantic desire, professional ambition and the urge for living.