Many classic genre films are actually terrible
"Genre films tend to solve all problems in the end"
How do you have to imagine working with the actors?
There is a clear concept of how the actors should move, much like in ballet. When we rehearse, the scenes are played out individually. I tell the actors who has to go where, when, and when and how the sentences are spoken. At the same time, the cameraman rehearses the movement of the camera around the movement of the actors. And then we repeat the scenes twenty or thirty times, which is obviously not comfortable for the actors. I think Ben Whishaw liked it, but not everyone enjoys that kind of intensity because repeating yourself thirty times is pretty horrible, and not everyone can do it. So I'm always specifically looking for actors who can take it and stay alive even when I try to control them as best I can. I need personalities who can defend themselves. Emily, for example, just ignored me at some point. And that was a good thing because that's how she kept her personality alive, and that's what matters. I depend on it. Because if my mania for control were perfect and took everything in, the result would be a very boring film. I need actors who can fight it.
How important was the music in the film to you?
In a sense, the music has its own character. The music does what it wants. But I like that. I like it when the music acts as an opponent and thus creates a very strange feeling in some scenes. The composer, Teiji Ito, also composed the music for Maya Deren's films. And their films inspire me a lot. She is an experimental filmmaker known for her surreal avant-garde films of the 40s and 50s, and she creates these soul spaces in them. I can't describe it any other way. There are settings, spaces, perspectives that give you the feeling of eerie. You seem uncomfortable, although there is actually no reason for it. It's extremely strange, like in a dream.
One song in your film is called "Happiness Business". Is the eternal pursuit of happiness what drives our modern society?
I guess so. The longing for happiness is omnipresent and so intense. You notice that with every small talk. Just when someone asks how you are, no one dares to say: “Bad.” Instead, everyone automatically says immediately: “Good. I'm doing so well. I am so successful. Everything is so wonderful. ”Personally, I see this as a threat because it is unnatural. My husband, who is a musician, wrote the song for me. I asked him to write me a happy song, a song that would make me happy, and then he came up with the idea of "Happiness Business". At first I thought it might be a bit too obvious, but then I decided that maybe at the end of the film it might not be bad to get this little message across. On the one hand, the desire to be happy is of course very general, and it is deeply rooted in us. It's always been there. But perhaps the fact that our yearning has been commercialized has also increased the pressure on us to comply. And that's what's dangerous about it.
You take a lot of time between your projects. Why is that?
It just takes a certain amount of time until I have all the information together. I do a lot of research. I read, I talk to people, I conduct interviews. I'm trying to tell a story in a very precise world. This time it was science, next time it will be school. For this I need time to design the respective setting and the story as precisely as possible. I always start with a page, but it takes about a year to fill this page in order to really know exactly what the story I want to tell is, what I want to express with it. After that, it's faster.
The interview was conducted by Pamela Jahn
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