Filmfest Hamburg: Elle von Paul Verhoeven

Michèle Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert) ist Geschäftsführerin einer Videospielfirma. Sie ist geschieden von ihrem Mann, ihr Sohn ist eine Enttäuschung, aber abgesehen davon führt sie ein geordnetes Leben. Das war nicht immer so. Vor vierzig Jahren zog ihr erzkatholischer Vater eines Tages durch das Viertel und ermordete die gesamte Nachbarschaft. Eine unerklärliche Tat, die zu einer lebenslangen Haftstrafe für ihren Vater endete. Eine Fotografie der zehnjährigen Michèle ging damals ebenfalls durch die Medien. Von außen betrachtet lässt sich heute kaum mehr eine Verbindung von ihr zu dieser Tat ziehen. Sie führt ein bürgerliches, wenn auch etwas abgeschottetes Leben und konzentriert sich auf ihren Beruf.

Elle von Paul Verhoeven

Zu Anfang des Films wird Michèle zu Hause überfallen. Man hört zunächst nur Scheppern, Schläge, Stöhnen, dann die am Boden liegende, blutende Michèle. Was passiert ist, liegt zunächst noch im Vagen, die Bilder und Töne lassen aber auf eine Vergewaltigung schließen. Die Vergewaltigung war das einzige Ziel des Einbrechers, Geld oder Wertgegenstände interessieren ihn nicht. Diese Tat nimmt Paul Verhoevens Elle zum Ausgangspunkt die Fassade bröckeln zu lassen; schlummert psychopathisches Potenzial in Michèle, wie in ihrem Vater? Der Film gibt darauf eine ziemlich eindeutige Antwort. Ein bekanntes Motiv aus diversen Horrorfilmen ist die Vererbung einer verbrecherischen und gewalttätigen Ader. Wird der charismatische Serienkiller einer lukrativen Horror-Franchise am Ende eines Films gegrillt, kann man sich sicher sein, dass entweder ein Prequel folgt oder einer seiner Nachkömmlinge die Familientradition fortsetzt. Verhoeven geht in Elle einen anderen Weg. Anstatt Michèles Verhalten auf ihr Erbgut zu schieben, unternimmt der Film den umgekehrten Versuch der Relativierung. Michèle ist nicht durch ihren Vater prädisponiert, sondern im Kern sind alle psychopathisch veranlagt. Zur Unterfütterung seines Arguments führt Verhoeven ein ganzes Heer aus Arschlöchern ins Feld. Das kulminiert in einer Weihnachtsfeier im Hause Leblanc, zu der Michèle nicht nur ihre wenigen Freunde einlädt, sondern auch ihre Familienmitglieder und deren verhasste Partner. Auf der großen Tafel sitzen dann also rund ein Dutzend Personen, die um die Antipathie des Publikums buhlen. Da ist der schleimige Mann von Michèles bester Freundin, der unbedingt ihre Affäre weiterführen will. Da ist die schwangere Freundin des Sohns (das Kind ist nicht von ihm), die ihn benutzt, um an Michèles Geld zu kommen. Da ist der Ex-Mann, von dem sich Michèle getrennt hat, weil er sie geschlagen hat und sich über sein Dasein als erfolgloser Schriftsteller mit einer jüngeren Frau hinwegtröstet. Genauer betrachtet sind all diese gut situierten, schönen Menschen traurige, gebrochene Gestalten. Am Kopf der Tafel sitzt Michèle, die Königin der traurigen Gestalten, über alle Maßen selbstbewusst, zutiefst verletzt und traumatisiert, eine Intrigantin mit sadomasochistischen Zügen. Es braucht eine Naturgewalt, um diese zentripetalen Kräfte in einer Figur zu vereinen; Verhoeven hat diese Naturgewalt in Isabelle Huppert gefunden.

Nachdem Michèle sich am Anfang des Films nach ihrer Vergewaltigung wieder aufrafft, bringt sie zuerst ihre Wohnung in Ordnung, dann lässt sie die Badewanne ein und nimmt ein Vollbad. Sie ist ungerührt, geht am nächsten Tag ganz normal zur Arbeit – business as usual. In ihrer Firma ist sie eine beinharte Chefin, die das größtenteils männliche Personal an kurzer Leine hält. Später trifft sie ihren Sohn. Der hat zwar endlich einen Job (in einem Fastfoodrestaurant), benötigt aber für seine neue Wohnung eine Bürgschaft der Mutter. Michèle hält ihn für einen Versager und lässt ihn das auch spüren (wie auch ihren Ex-Mann), kann ihre mütterlichen Instinkte aber nicht vollends ausblenden. Als sie abends in ihre schmucke Villa zurückkehrt, die sie allein bewohnt, wirkt sie doch gezeichnet, besorgt sich schließlich sogar einen Pfefferspray.

Elle von Paul Verhoeven

Das Anforderungsprofil für Huppert ist also vielgestaltig, trotzdem meistert sie ihre Aufgabe hervorragend. Scheinbar mühelos wechselt sie zwischen eiskaltem Todesengel, besorgter Mutter, weiblicher Opferrolle, intrigierender Bitch. Durch die bröckelnde Fassade blitzt kontinuierlich ein Schimmer der tief verborgenen psychopathischen Züge durch. Es ist ein Spiel mit Nuancen, die ineinander verschwimmen und kaum mehr als solche wahrzunehmen bzw. voneinander abzugrenzen sind. Diese innere Glut, mal mehr, mal weniger explizit nach außen getragen, gibt ihrer ganzen Performance (und in Folge dem ganzen Film) eine unruhige Aura – es scheint irgendetwas nicht so richtig zu stimmen, ein Riss scheint sich auf der perfekten Hülle abzuzeichnen, so genau lokalisieren oder verbalisieren lässt er sich aber nicht. Huppert steht im Zentrum des Films. Der Film wird aus ihrer Sicht erzählt, die anderen Figuren bekommen einzig durch die Interaktion mit Michèle Gestalt. Diese Interaktionen sind entscheidend für die Entwicklung des Plots, der letztlich darauf abzielt das psychopathische Potenzial aller Beteiligten nach außen zu kehren. Michèles unterdrückte Neigungen werden durch den Austausch mit den Anderen leichter wahrnehmbar und im direkten Vergleich wird zudem die latente Psychopathie der anderen Figuren deutlich. Huppert beweist damit nicht nur ihre Klasse in der Darstellung komplexer Gefühlsregungen, sondern auch in der schmalen Gratwanderung eines vielschichtigen Vabanquespiels mit ihren Schauspielerkollegen – mit Sicherheit eine der besten Schauspielleistungen in Filmen der letzten Jahre.

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