Sunday, March 9, 2008

Authenticity is a difficult quality to identify in any of "Colonel Redl"'s characters or the posts they assume. Redl's reverence for the emperor Franz Josef is itself built upon the fallacy of myth and deification, as evidenced by the rearing he experiences in military school. Because his lot in life was determined by the charity of the empire, the viewer is constantly reminded that Redl's deeds and loyalty spring from a well of gratitude for a man he has never met and an empire whose nature he childishly understands. It is once he is exposed to the bureaucracy and deceptive nature of the general staff that the true nature of the empire's inner workings is revealed and Redl's own sense of identity begins to fail him. In his unflagging devotion to the antiquated and romanticized morals of the imperial age Redl is incapable of reconciling his ideals with reality, of both his own nature and the reality of Austria. His love of the Empire is authentic, yet they Empire is not, and there lies the tragedy.


Lasica said...

I agree absolutely with your assessment that Redl is loyal to an empire that does not exist. It really is the saddest thing about this film. The end where he realizes that he has to die for this flawed empire is the most heart-wrenching scene in the film. His expression as he paces back and forth, trying to decide how to deal with his emotions is unforgettable. The deification of Franz Josef is most apparent in the scene where the children go to mass to be dedicated to the emperor as his "children”. This was a sad film in so many ways. The real basis to it was the denial of self, leading to the in-authenticity that we see throughout the film.

annieguiler said...

So would you say that since Redl has an "authentic" love for the empire, that you would consider him the closet to being authentic in the film? In my opinion, I still find so many flaws and contrasting things in Redl that I would have a hard time as viewing him as authentic. what do you think?