Lida Baarova, a Czechoslovakian movie star of yesteryear, goes from being the mistress of a German actor to being the mistress of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazis’ propaganda minister, in The Devil’s Mistress (2016). Directed by Filip Renc, the film is clearly marred by heavy-handed music, which Renc may think befitting of a semi-soap opera like this. But it would be better without it, notwithstanding the film is deeply enjoyable, an uncomplicated triumph for screenwriter Ivan Hubac.
Someone was bound to film this true story about Baarova’s illicit romance with a reprehensible anti-Semite. Man is a sorry creature. While the Nazis in the picture are, naturally, major pigs, the Czechoslovakian people can be minor pigs. (This excludes Baarova.) Beautiful Tatiana Pauhofava is well cast as a European star with unsurprising sophistication. Even better is Karl Markovics as Goebbels. Both costumes and cinematography are winning. There is a memorable scene in which Baarova lets an adoring stranger, a much-needed deliverer, stroke her breasts without the use of nudity or even explicitness, and yet the scene is truly erotic.
The Devil’s Mistress—the original title, Lida Baarova, is preferable to the banal one—is available on Netflix, with subtitles.
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