Is that supposed to be “our” Romy? The Austrian comic artist Nicolas Mahler draws her with garish make-up and deep shadows under her eyes. Above it is the lettering “Nachtblende”, based on the poster lettering for the film of the same name by Andrzej Zulawski from 1975. No, Mahler doesn’t spare us. His book “Romy Schneider – All Films, Newly Looked” is an illustrated filmography that pays tribute to all 58 films by the actress. In her too short life she was downright addicted to filming. Mahler quotes director Claude Sautet as saying, “I’m afraid she works so much because she’s afraid of being alone.”

Nicolas Mahler is known for his merciless gaze. He showed the writer Thomas Bernhard in an “incorrect biography” as an eccentric and notorious provocateur. And now, again to the point, the work of Romy Schneider.

In Germany, the popularity of the star, who died forty years ago, was based on her three “Sissi” films, which she made when she was a teenager. Her mother Magda Schneider, who doesn’t get on well with Mahler, said: “She’s a nice kitty who occasionally shows her claws, but then she’s best given a slap.”

The illustrator introduces each film on a double page and summarizes the content in a pointed manner. For example, in Orson Welles’ “The Trial”, in which Schneider embodies a nurse who devours men in 1962: “When Franz Kafka’s Josef K. awakens from restless dreams, he finds himself transformed into Anthony Perkins (‘Psycho’).

All the people around him have also taken on the shape of stars.” Mahler aptly caricatured co-stars such as Jack Lemmon, Peter Sellers and Curd Jürgens. “Only film in which the later ice-cold angel Delon speaks Viennese (dubbed by the Tyrolean Dietmar Schönherr).”

When the relationship ended in 1969, but both were shooting the thriller “Der Swimmingpool” together, Schneider joked: “Always in the pool – out of the pool – what a job!” Mahler draws her in a tired pose in a bathing suit and with wet hair. Next to it he puts a nasty caricature of the young Jane Birkin with glasses and buck teeth, who had gotten a Lolita role in the film.

In the ’60s and ’70s, Schneider also made many a botched zeitgeist film such as “Bloomfield”, in which she played an aspiring sculptor alongside Richard Harris as an aging footballer. Mahler’s verdict: “As a modern artist, clearly in the wrong film”.

The illustrator also provides fun facts about her big films such as “The Things of Life” (1970) by Claude Sautet. Michel Piccoli smokes exactly 26 cigarettes during the film and has a film son who also chain-smokes. An Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint whirling around in countless slow-motion shots acts as the “co-star”.

When it came to casting, Schneider was not the first choice. Only after Marlène Jobert, Catherine Deneuve and Annie Girardot declined did she get the role. Sautet became Schneider’s favorite director and she made four more films with him.

Unlike in Germany, Romy Schneider not only found fame in France, but also recognition. There, directors took her seriously as an actress and offered her a variety of roles. In “The Girl and the Commissioner” (Sautet, 1971) she plays a prostitute as the decoy of a “coercive” cop (Michel Piccoli) who wants to catch a bunch of “loser crooks” in the act.

As a “spoiler”, Mahler reveals that the dumbest of the troupe is shown as an avid comic reader and (logically?) the only one to be shot. According to Mahler, the film “César und Rosalie” (1972), which Sautet also directed, is the only work in film history in which a comics studio is vandalized out of jealousy.

Luchino Visconti’s “Ludwig II.” film adaptation offers Schneider the opportunity to thwart the Sissi role she hates (“Sissi sticks to me like semolina porridge”). Her comment: “Visconti was the only one who portrayed Sissi in a historically authentic way.” Mahler couldn’t resist an ingeniously coiffed portrait of the eccentric Helmut Berger (just like Schneider an “Ösi”) as Ludwig.

Mahler’s interpretation of Schneider’s filmography, which is as loving as it is poisonous, is full of absurdly funny details; he took the facts from biographies and the books of companions such as Karlheinz Böhm. Mahler’s drawings, set with strong brushstrokes, follow Schneider’s life from the pretty girl with a high forehead to the empress with a towering hairstyle to the last few years, which were shaken by illness and strokes of fate. No Romy celebration, but a real homage.