People & VIPs
Strong, weak Romy
Biographies have been published about her, films have been made about her life, they paint the picture of a strong-willed woman, a gifted actress, yet fractures are part of her path to unforgettableness.
If you look closely, you may be surprised by the oscillation between strength and weakness of Romy Schneider, who never really reinvented herself, who always remained herself, but made brute compromises when she believed in love.
"J'aime, j'aime," "When I love, I love, stop," she once said in a tone that was both defiant and questioning, when she didn't understand why the men she loved might not love her as much as she loved them. Her big eyes wide open and her face sharply cut, no scriptwriter could have texted it better on her full lips.
The beautiful filou Alain Delon who left her, without a conversation or an explanation. Disrespectful to the young woman who turned her life upside down for him, mutating from beloved innocent "Sissi" to sexually emancipated woman, acting and seemingly effortlessly suddenly babbling French. Later she shot with him again and said, "Nothing is colder than a dead love!" - who might have believed her?
The intellectual, Harry Meyen, the antithesis of the dream boy Alain. Meyen struggling with his demons, with him she had a child, David, gave the son a Jewish name, because Harry is Jewish in post-war Germany, which is just trying to reinvent itself from the ruins. He seeks success as a tabloid actor and found cinema world star Romy. Suddenly she wanted nothing more to do with emancipation, and the suspicion suggests itself that Meyen had nipped her artistic sensitivity and brilliance in the bud at one time or another with his intellectual lecturing and subtile dominance, giving her talent little room in the marriage.
The artist Schneider may have sensed this and at some point acting was more important to her again. Affairs with colleagues are said to have been part of her new life as a celebrated French cinema star. She remarried, some make fun of her choice and it may have been truly not best: Sunnyboy Daniel Biasini, who is noticeable for how much he enjoys the jet set life at Romy's side. Romy begrudges him, he still seeks his role at her side, trying his hand as her secretary and father of her daughter.
Was she always the stronger of the two? In an intimate interview with the then young journalist Alice Schwarzer, she is said to have complained that men were afraid of her strength instead of being inspired by it.
She may have reflected that correctly, but what would have been the solution?
Men like her compatriot Helmut Berger, bisexual and also blessed with acting depth, may have understood her. In a fairly recent interview, the aged Berger says only good things about "my Romy", her honesty, her friendly temperament with which she supported him as a young actor. The colleagues advised each other on how to deal with capricious directors, went for walks, he paints the picture of a down-to-earth woman rather than a complicated diva.
And then the beloved and eternally distant father, the dashing actor Wolf Albach-Retty. He was never there when she needed him, he could have protected her when Romy Schneider was a teenager presumably exposed to the assaultive behaviour of her "daddy" Blatzheim. Entrepreneur he is in post-Nazi traumatised Germany, and so very different from her wonderfully imagined father-hero.
With Romy's mother Magda Schneider, Blatzheim brought a convinced pragmatist to his side; at receptions he celebrates the dream of the economic miracle and the success of the patchwork family, which was still unusual at the time: Romy, decked out in tulle and a cheeky smile, something between a Lolita and an awkward bake fish.
Romy and her mother. This relationship may also have oscillated somewhere between love and contempt. For early on Romy reflects on her role as an actress and social responsibility. Highly exalted to the infinitely wonderful Empress "Sissi", mistress, beauty, mate, mother, aristocrat, political advisor, romantic, projection screen from the kitschy dream castle, distraction for all those who make pilgrimages to the cinemas instead of dealing with the war and individual responsibility.
Romy understands her generation and asks herself what she wants to stand for? She turns down a fourth "Sissi" part and a million-dollar salary that goes with it. Being a princess does not fit into the repertoire of this reflective young woman.
Video recordings of her mother Magda show her near Hitler at his mountain estate - the actress, who was famous at the time, lives nearby. Romy does not like to hear her mother's justifications after the war. In conversation with german journalist Alice Schwarzer, she is even said to have speculated about an affair between the two. Against the backdrop of Hitler's uptight relationship with the opposite sex, this does not necessarily seem plausible.
Nevertheless, is it possible to love a mother who slept with the devil, even if the tete-a-tete was only Romy's fantasy?
Magda Schneider, an opportunist, adapted quickly even after the war, and at what point Magda benefited more from the gifted Romy than the young woman did from her mother in emotional terms remains open.
For Romy knows early on that she wants to be an actress. And she wants very much. Plays so infinitely light and yet serious. Enchants first her fans and then the world of men with her natural charm.
Romy and the men. Romy and love.
Romy was never an opportunist, not even in love. Sometimes perhaps weak, even though she was so strong.