Sep 13, 2009 Uncategorized
A film should be complicated – Interview with Christian Petzold to “Yella”
Christian Petzold is one of the most important German directors. His film Yella was shown at this year’s Berlinale. For her role as Yella Nina Hoss won the Silver Bear. The film is about a young woman who sets off from a small East German town to seek their fortune in the West. What ghost stories, Hitchcock and a certain man’s world have to do with Christian Petzold said in an interview with Katrin Knauth.
How did you come to the movie?
It has several causes. I come from a small town near Wuppertal and there was, since I was eight, nine years old, no more movies. The city library has been for me the film replacement. After school, I kept going dorhin and read for a while mostly black romance and horror books. There was the compilation by Mary Hottinger ghost stories -with the Ambrose Bierce story An incident at Owl Creek Bridge that I was terribly impressed.
What is at stake in this story?
It is a deserter in the American civil war, which is to be hanged. But the rope breaks, he falls into the river and can escape by swimming this execution and tries to return home. He crawls to the bank, reflected through the night, which is very strange: The Zodiac in which it is based are not quite the Zodiac, which he remembers, the forest is no longer the one to whom he remembers. And then he comes to his farm, back to his wife and his child, but look at him not to stand with his back to him. When he calls them and they turn around, he felt a pain in the neck incredible – and then objectifies the story – and he is hanging on the bridge and is dead is a story that the American popular culture, therefore, cinema, literature, music has unbelievable impressed
And that story you zurückerinnert you?
When we shot with Nina Hoss in Wittenberge dead man, I told her view of the river Elbe, which is very beautiful in Wittenberg by this story. And here I thought we really ought to tell this story in Germany. They also discussed in the dead man to a woman who goes from west to east and then I thought, one would have to reverse this movement. And then we shot on a bridge and as I was thinking of a car accident, and to men who do not realize that they are loved no more and can not bear. It all came together somehow so. But it has still lasted a few years until I finally made this project with Harun Farocki addressed.
The city library was in your childhood and adolescence an important contact point for you. How it came to love the cinema?
It, this book by François Truffaut Mr. Hitchcock was, how did you do that? And I have read with 14, 15 years ago. I noticed that I many of the films that were being discussed, had seen on television. They stayed in my memory. And suddenly I knew from reading, why they have remained in my memory. Then took the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne at the Cinematheque held a retrospective of all the Hitchcock films. After school I went there and I looked at myself every film. Thus, the Cineastentum began.
To prepare for Yella have you shown your actors Marnie Hitchcock …
I picked out several movies in which a woman plays the heroine. And I look to see what kind of women who are broken and to get out of the system. This was also the case with Marnie. The Marnie is sexualized so unbelievable. The Wanda by Barbara Loden is again not sexualized, but exploited and burned out. We’ve seen all these movies with the actors and wondering how it is 2006, filming women in their departure, in their search for happiness. We do not want to tell any old stories. We want to show the Germany of today.
Have you been influenced by these movies?
On the first day of shooting I spun Nina Hoss as Marnie. When I saw the pattern, I saw that this is completely wrong. Which is not so described, and desires of men, but she is more confident than Marnie. It is not a plaything. And then we have thrown away the whole first day of shooting. But it was a fantastic experience that one can only quote never easy.
Why did you put Yella in a complete world of men?
We had no other actresses besides Barbara Auer. I still have the feeling that everything is determined by the men. And in the private equity world, in the materials I have seen, few women here are unbelievable. There are now slowly women who are e.g. Press spokespersons, like the Deutsche Bahn. But many are still the secretaries and the management is usually male.
Your film touches on many topics: criticism of capitalism, and early departure, escape from everyday life. What is your main message?
I think it’s always nice when you have many messages. I had no real main message, up to this metaphor: woman breaks into the modern age, but is also not sufficiently equipped for this. The conflict was a bit of the physical target. But otherwise, a film must be complicated and may not provide simple truths. The negotiations in the private equity world is indeed not something I find disgusting and I would not portray the characters as caricatures. They have a physique that you just will not know yet. All areas, not only nature and city, including the negotiation, driving, lying, coming home – that everything must be equally respected.
Why did you just shot in Hanover and not in Munich or Frankfurt?
In Hanover, there was the Expo site, which I knew and even there the film takes. The Expo site is something like the Documenta of capitalism. The day already looks like a ruin. Then I thought, this is the right journey: from a destructive industrial Wittenberg as a modern, capitalist city, but also bears signs of decay even inwardness.
Yella – Where does the name mean?
Of course he has to do with the young actress Yella Rottländer from the Wim Wenders film Alice in the Cities, which I was very impressed. When I was talking with Nina Hoss in Yella Wittenberge about the project, she said in the film, we’ve made, Leyla – and this is the anagram. And my wife told me that in Arabic “Yella / Yalla” “Come on, Come on, do it!” states. Those were enough reasons for that name.
If there is already a new project?
I turn next year, a sort of remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice in Magdeburg. The movie is called Jericho, and again with Nina Hoss. It’s come to two people who want to kill a third, and not just his money, but also to his vitality, his love of life like. That was hard to write.
Would you like to do something other than the reduced, minimalist cinema of the Berlin school?
I would like to make something funny. But writing comedy is extremely difficult.
Title: A film must be complicated – Interview with Christian Petzold to “Yella”