Director Gabriele Lavia has stayed close to his stage production of Heinrich von Kleist's play Prinz Friedrich von Homburg in this story of a prince who must choose between his ideals and death. The romantic villas, gardens, fountains, and the prince set the tone for a conflict between remaining true to one's beliefs, or not. The prince daydreams and sleepwalks, and in one somnambulist excursion he meets the beautiful Natalie d'Orange, the niece of his commander in the army, the Prince Elector. When Prince Friedrich is engaged in battle soon after, he charges the enemy ahead of time and because of the element of surprise, wins the battle. Nevertheless, he disobeyed the orders of the Prince Elector -- and so is sentenced to die unless he can maintain that a soldier has the right to disobey orders. Meanwhile, Natalie goes to her uncle to beg for the life of the man she loves -- and it is her passion, and the love the prince feels for her -- that just might carry the day. Director Marco Bellocchio came out with another cinematic version of Kleist's play in 1997.
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