Dominik Graf (The Red Cockatoo) makes an overdue return to the big screen with Beloved Sisters, an enthralling, gorgeously mounted depiction of the relationship between writer and philosopher Friedrich Schiller and the sisters Charlotte von Lengefeld (who would become his wife) and Caroline von Beulwitz (his eventual biographer). Retaining the narrative density offered by television while taking full advantage of cinema’s larger canvas, Graf has created an unusually intelligent costume drama of bold personalities torn between heart and mind.

Graf stages marvellous set pieces, including a visit by Goethe to sleepy Rudolstadt that sets the whole town aflutter. He’s also found a series of inspired devices for dramatizing the intensely passionate correspondence that flies back and forth between the characters with a speed that rivals today’s emails. Above all, he’s made one of those relatively rare “period” films that pushes past the stuffy decorousness and mannerism of the dreaded “Masterpiece Theater” school to get at a highly plausible reading of how people actually lived.

Scott Foundas

Please note that the festival is for over 18s only

Presented in co-operation with the Goethe-Institut Irland