In 1943, while the Allies are bombing Berlin and the Gestapo is purging the capital of Jews, a dangerous love affair blossoms between two women. One of them, Lilly Wust (Juliane Köhler), married and the mother of four sons... more », enjoys the privileges of her stature as an exemplar of Nazi motherhood. For her, this affair will be the most decisive experience of her life. For the other woman, Felice Schragenheim (Maria Schrader), a Jewess and member of the underground, their love fuels her with the hope that she will survive. A half-century later, Lilly Wust told her incredible story to writer Erica Fischer, and thebook, AIMEE & JAGUAR, first published in 1994 immediately became a bestseller and has since been translated into eleven languages. Max Färberböck's debut film, based on Fischer's book, is the true story of this extraordinary relationship. The film was nominated for a 1999 Golden Globe Award and was Germany's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Both actresses received Silver Bears at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival for their portrayals of "Aimée" and "Jaguar".« less
I LOVED it, but is it enough for the general public?
SEP | Texas | 06/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been familiar with the story of Aimee and Jaguar for a few years now, yet I've just been able to watch this film on DVD. Unfortunately, after two years of anticipation, I was slightly disappointed.Don't get me wrong--I thought this movie was beautiful, poignant, and suberbly acted. However, I read the book. I feel I knew Lilly better--I knew all along she wasn't the insulated, flaky, unstable housefrau portrayed in this film. I watched the first minutes of this film, with Lilly's sorrowful sexual neediness on display, and I couldn't help but wonder if the general public will realize (before they hate her) that this woman's sexual neediness is rooted in her repressed lesbianism, not in the long absenses of her Nazi husband. Felice was given a sexy Marlene Dietrich flair (wonderfully portrayed by Maria Schrader), but her underground activities should have been emphasized more. I know people who sat through this entire film not realizing that Felice was not only Jewish, but very active in the resistance movement. I think that would have boosted the plot a little, and added to the dynamic of the relationship. That way, after Lilly came out to her husband and declared to Felice and her friends "I'm one of you now", the cold reaction would have been more understandable. Instead, this scene makes Felice look cold and uncaring. To make matters worse, it's never clear if Felice's friends are also Jewish, or just lesbians. Felice's character could have been so rich. Indeed, some of the most emotionally raw scenes in the film involve her secret identity--most notable the scene in which, as a secretary at a Nazi newspaper, she is forced to take dictation for a scathing anti-semetic editorial. While there's some hint that Felice and her group of girlfriends are trying to get papers and arrange to leave Germany, it's not quite emphasized enough that Felice's affair with Lilly seriously impedes that process.The scenes when Lilly and Felice come together (and become AIMEE & JAGUAR)are not disappointing. Their kind of passionate, we-could-die-tomorrow desire is enough to melt any audience member. Lilly's insistance that this relationship defined her life--was indeed what she had been searching for--begs the audiences's forgivness for her borderline bipolar state. I'm sure she is forgiven.If nothing else, this film captures the horror of wartime Berlin as vividly as SAVING PRIVATE RYAN captures Normandy. The bombing raids are filmed against stunning, dramatic red skies and amid the flashes of anti-aircraft fire. Viewers get a good sense of Berlin as a city stubbornly soldiering on in this midst of all this horror. Lesbian romance or not, this film is unrivaled in its realistic portrayal of Berlin in this period. The smallest details--from the costumes to the curtains--contribute to this mastery.Unfortunately, the cinematic mastery of this film is not enough to save the vague plot. For instance, why does Ilse narrate the film? Her character remains on the periphery thought, and she belongs there. Her injected voice leads to confusion about her overall relevance. I actively tried to get swept away in this film, because I believe the storyline is history that can't be told enough, but I too often found myself substituting my prior knowledge for the film's narrative ambiguities. I could easily give this film 5 stars because I feel I have the whole picture, but I fear it will leave most viewers (who haven't read the book) without a clue. True, the DVD has sufficient background information, but that is irrelevant. The film should have, could have, stood alone. And it does not."
Aimee & Jaguar
SEP | 05/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having first read the book and enjoyed it tremendously, I was
unsure if the film would come up to my expectations. I should
not have had any concerns.This is a beautiful lesbian love story set during World War II
as seen through the eyes of women. Not being the soppy love
story fan myself, I have to say that this film has so much more
to offer than mere romance. It is an intense film which takes
you into the minds of the persecuted Jew at the time of WWII,
yet Felice fights for her freedom and spits in the face of terror.Casting and cinematography are exceptional. Truly a beautiful,
beautiful, emotional movie."
SEP | 10/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I too have seen this movie in Germany and I've been eagerly waiting for the US release. I consider it to be the best film I have ever seen! The story, being authentic, is absolutely touching, the actresses (and actors) make you feel like you are in the middle of the happenings. And yes you are going to shed some tears over the heart-wrenching mixture of true, carefree love between soulmates and the horrific cruelty of the WWII Nazis affecting the innocent. Absolutely breathtaking!Today Lilly Wust (Aimee), who was so kind to share her story with us, is living in Berlin and about 86 years old."
Daryl Frasch | Hooksett, NH USA | 03/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A story of forbidden love in WWII Nazi Germany, "Aimee & Jaguar" follows the lives of two very different women: Felice Schragenheim, a Jewish revolutionary sneaking through Germany under a false German name. Then there is Lilly Wust (pronounced 'Voost', in German) whose husband is a Nazi soldier fighting on the Eastern front, leaving her at home with four boys. Frau Wust's babysitter, Ilse, is one of Felice's many girlfriends and when Felice is introduced to Lilly, she falls madly in love. She writes Lilly love poems and signs them as Jaguar and soon, the two are forced to accept their feelings for one another amidst the hatred and odium. A movie of raw power, "Aimee & Jaguar" is not a story just about love but also accepting it in times of need and fear. You may find yourself crying and i admit, i cried myself (i cry endlessly when seeing Felice's and Lilly's "mistake" when coming home from the picnic, i cry every time i see that part). The love scenes here are done tastefully (and quite romantically, may i add) and the words of wisdom are...amzing. especially when Felice is talking about "Now's" and Lilly talking about "50 years of one person"...Powerful!!"
Wow! (That's all I can say)
emmanon6 | Silver Spring, Maryland United States | 12/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film impressed me from begining to end. It is one of those few films about two women in love that doesn't drag in all the extra baggage that one usually sees (besides the unavoidable things caused by the time setting) It's simply about two women finding each other in a desperate and unsettling time. Jaguar is such a strong character and is portrayed beautifully by Maria Schrader who's performance was flawless. I think the film does a good job of building and conveying the strength of the relationship in the short time it has. The passion and intimacy of the love scenes is brilliant! What works beautifully is the concentration on their story but with an integration of several other issues brought on by World War II. It provides a much different perspective on the war than most people are used to. I recommend getting the DVD so you can see all the extras about the real Aimee and Jaguar. I fell in love with this film right away and have watched it many, many times now. It is one of my favorite movies ever and I can't emphasize enough how much I recommend it to everyone!"