I couldn’t help but notice the many different faces of Lucie in these episodes. The most obvious one that really bothered me was when she was “sick with worry” when Maria came over. Lucie was dramatically moaning with her handkerchief draped over her face, and then enthusiastically stands up on her chair shouting her complaints, then immediately resumes moaning. It’s clear that she’s not actually sick, but she has likely achieved her goal of sympathy from Maria and even been invited to have dinner with the family. We see another form of Lucie when her old friend from Berlin, Martina, visits. Lucie now portrays herself and her new life in Hunsruck as very put together and successful. She flaunts her maid and villa, and seems to speak down to Martina as if she’s above their past, saying, “people don’t even think those thoughts here.” We could almost believe that Lucie’s efforts aren’t actually to convince Martina how thoroughly she’s enjoying her new life, but actually herself. Yet another side of Lucie is shown when she has the opportunity to host three important Nazi officers. Lucie plays the good German housewife role in preparation for their appearance. Lucie is probably the most transparent when she is with Eduard. All she can talk about with him is how to get him to advance within the Nazi party.
The different faces Lucie shows to specific people reveal how much Lucie’s life revolves around her public image. Lucie’s house is the perfect example of this. We learn from a shopkeeper’s conversation with Maria that their new house has superfluous rooms (for example the smoking room while neither of them smoke), lavish furnishings and fifty-two windows. On the outside, it would appear grandiose and make them look successful, but we know that it still hasn’t even been paid for.
Perhaps the most striking evidence of Lucie’s care for mere appearances is the scene after the party when she and Eduard place a piece of fool’s gold in the foundation of what will be their house. The foundation of their home is symbolic of the foundation of their life together, and she sees absolutely no problem filling it with fool’s gold. As we continue to see, false appearances are indeed the foundation of her entire life. We could even recall her first night with Eduard when the meatballs in her clothes house of prostitutes contrast the seemingly glamorous lifestyle they all portrayed.
Her indifference to the difference between appearances and reality is seen again after her failed lunch with the Nazi officials. Lucie is devastated that there are never any catastrophes in the Hunsruck. Even her plan to advance Eduard relies on a false display of heroism instead of suggesting any honest contributions he could make.
Lucie’s obsession with superficial appearances is especially interesting to me in light of what the rest of Germany is experiencing with the Nazi party. While it may be less evident in Schabbach, I would assume that parts of the rest of Germany are just as caught up in this. All driven by the obsession to advance in the Nazi party, people are in fierce competition to display more nationalism than another as seen through their clothing, activities and conversation. An example of this is Wilfried, who lies to his father about having a view of the capital from his apartment as the camera shows a dingy staircase.
I also don’t know what to make of the popular skull jewelry, or why exactly Maria is so troubled by it. What do you think this symbolizes? Or Hans’ new knack for shooting that seemed trivial until it a soldier told him that’s what he does to people who try to escape? Any other thoughts on the importance of appearances?