Berlinale competition film by Emily Atef explores legendary, troubled actress Romy Schneider as a ‘woman in crisis’

© Rohfilm Factory / Prokino / Peter Hartwig


The year is 1981. Troubled superstar actress Romy Schneider spends three days in a luxury spa in Quiberon in western France. She is there to sober up. During her stay, she is interviewed by a journalist from the German magazine “Stern” – the last interview before her death, as it turns out – and photographed by Robert Lebeck. This time is explored in the Berlinale competition film “3 Days in Quiberon” by Emily Atef, shot in black and white on location in the largely unchanged seaside town.

Schneider was an Austrian-born actress with French and German citizenship, and a superstar in both of those countries. She “didn’t have many filters,” according to Atef, and continues to fascinate 36 years after her young death. The filmmaker has created “a fiction film inspired by very, very strong, truthful images that Robert Lebeck made of her. It wasn’t Romy Schneider the myth on those pictures I saw, it was the woman Romy Schneider.”

Emily Atef, who was born in Germany, and grew up in France and the United States, discovered Romy Schneider as a teenager and loved her French movies. With “3 Days in Quiberon,” she pays respect to a celebrated actress and “woman in crisis…without any kind of mask or make-up.”

Film still © Rohfilm Factory / Prokino / Peter Hartwig.