Delpy revives bloody Countess Bathory in new film

Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:06am EST
 
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By Dave Graham

BERLIN (Reuters) - French actress Julie Delpy resurrects the specter of a blood-drenched countess in her third outing as director to recast one of Europe's most celebrated villains as a desperate player in a Greek tragedy.

In "The Countess," Delpy revisits the tale of Hungarian noblewoman Erzebet Bathory, best remembered as one of history's most prolific serial killers, who was walled up in her castle after being accused of murdering hundreds of young women.

Bathory has inspired dozens of films and novels as well as a host of songs by heavy metal bands. Many of them focus on a legend surrounding the countess that she bathed in the blood of virgins in the belief it would grant her eternal youth.

Presenting her movie at this year's Berlin film festival, Delpy said she wanted to get away from elements which have traditionally been associated with the gory countess.

"I thought her character was a good subject for a drama more than a horror film," said Delpy, 39, who plays Bathory in the film. "I wanted to make it more like a Greek tragedy with obsession and love, and being abandoned and betrayed."

Delpy also wrote the screenplay for the Franco-German co-production, having worked on the script for seven years.

The 94-minute film, which was shot partly on location in old castles and churches in southern Germany, focuses on Bathory's struggle to retain the affections of her younger lover Istvan Thurzo, played by German actor Daniel Bruehl.

Driven to extremes by her desire for Thurzo, the countess immerses herself in blood in a desperate bid to keep him -- and plays directly into the hands of her enemies.   Continued...

 
<p>Director Julie Delpy poses during a photocall to promote the movie 'The Countess' at the 59th Berlinale film festival in Berlin, February 9, 2009. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>