You've recently made two films in Thailand, Todessehnsucht
and Addio Uomo - so
basic question, why Thailand, and what were the challenges filming there?
Thailand because I was there anyway and I didn't wanted to miss this
opportunity to do a movie at such a special location. The shooting itself was
pretty easy for most of the part. At the location were mostly monks and
just a few visitors, so basically I had a free hand since, they minded their
of course have to talk about that very special location of both movies for
a bit, and how did you find it, and what was it filming there?
heard of it when I was in that area and had to explore it. Before that I
was already in Siriraj in Bangkok, but filming there isn't allowed so
I could only make a few pictures. In the end I am really happy with it
because the place where I shot was much more authentic and real. Being
able to shoot there was a great experince. I have often been asked what
the smell was. No hint of decomposing bodies but a strong smell of old
books. There were many of those too so it could be easily compared to an old
talk about Todessehnsucht
first - what is it about, and what were your inspirations for dreaming it
The idea came up spontaneously. Of course I have shot it after Addio Uomo
so I knew the location already, so I came up with an idea on my way to
the location and I only used actresses and material that I had access to.
I still have the note with some random points on it a.k.a. the script. I
tried to make Addio Uomo
relatively neutral, but with Todessehnsucht
I wanted to make a
movie with a positive and hopeful message, which was kind of the opposite
of what most people would think about such a place. Death is just a part
of life – dying is such a trivial process. So I don't have the feel that
I go that far with my movie.
Do talk about your cast, how did you find them, and
what was it like working with them?
More or less it was
family business after all.
Shot in the same
location, Addio Uomo
is more or a macabre documentary - so what was the idea behind shooting
As mentioned before it was my approach to show
this location to like-minded people who are able to see a beauty in decay.
Interestingly enough I couldn't find much about it on the internet so I
felt the need to share what I have seen. I have'nt put much thought into
the shooting itself to be honest. The cam run basically until all battery
packs went empty and I hope this feeling somehow jumped over to the
viewer. There are a few times in the finished movie in which you can still
hear me breath heavily because of the temperature and also the overall
situation. During the editing I decided to leave the sound in. I was stunned
and I hope the audience will be too - because of the place of course.
Do talk about your directorial approach to
your subject matter, and given the often very macabre images, was there
ever a line you refused to cross when shooting Addio
I didn't need to cross any lines for Addio Uomo. At least in my
opinion. But I guess westerners might see that differently, which I can't
understand. People here try to move everything death-related far away.
Outside of the western world there is a very different world view. Death is all around and when you know that you will be able to appreciate
life more. But my movies haven't backfired (yet), if anyone is offended by
Addio Uomo its like he is offended by a cemetery.
I had more ideas which I couldn't realize – pretty
harmless shots but if the actress refuses to do something I have to accept
I would go farther in general but for these movies I got what I
As a filmmaker, do you approach making a
documentary any different from shooting a narrative movie?
and narrative movies use the same language, only different dialects. I
think people have to abandon the idea that documentaries are and movies
with narrative are different except of a few points. Movies are a surreal
medium and because of that always subjective. Documentaries are surreal
and subjective too. Everything the filmmaker, editor or anyone working on
the movie does leads into a direction. You want to say or show something that is the truth in your opinion. So there is no objectivity in film and
docs. So it wasn't much of a difference to me to shoot the one or the other
especially since I had in mind to play a bit with it in Todessehnsucht. It
has a narrative story but also mondo film, documentary elements.
Uomo exists in two different edits, one by you, one by Magnus
Blomdahl - so what as the idea behind that, and how do the edits differ,
After I shot Addio Uomo
I asked Magnus if he might be interested in
editing it. He agreed and delivered me his version pretty soon. I haven't
given him any instructions and so I was really surprised when I saw it for
the first time. His version is very well edited and also very
experimental. Honestly at first I was kind of disappointed because I had
something more classical in mind – like an mondo film from the 70s. I
decided to do my own version in which I tried to ignore everything I have
seen from his version. Today I am pretty surprised that he was able to
make such a good film out of the raw material I gave him. I stumbled upon many
problems during editing and without a doubt his version is superior in
this way. Over the time I appreciated his version more and more but I am
still happy that I made one myself since I see it as an interesting
experiment and I am still excited to hear extremely different opinions
anytime someone talks to me about both versions. It would be a big waste
if his version would stay unreleased.
The $64-question of course, where can your
movies be seen?
I feel really lucky that I have found two
great labels to release Addio Uomo
and Todessehnsucht. The DVD will come
from Underground Gorellectors Films and I honestly doubt that there will
be a better version at any time. It will contain both versions of Addio Uomo
and Todessehnsucht, three posters and a numbered and signed card. The
limitation will be strong. It will also contain subtitles in a few
different languages like French, English, Spanish, Swedish and more. Then
there was a limited edition VHS of Addio Uomo
by Rotten Cat Media.
It's already sold out.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
I had the idea of doing another short film this summer but the idea
turned bigger and bigger. So I guess its better to get clear what I want
to make with it and maybe start shooting some stuff for it instead of
wasting something that could be much more than just a short film. Then
there is still the idea to do my own version of Shocking Asia someday. It
is in my mind since I did Addio Uomo.
I can't tell yet what of this two
will be my directorial feature debut.
But before of that I will probably make another short film – I would
like to do something like Addio Uomo
here in Germany but here it is a lot
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
movies' website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
but thank you for the interview.
for the interview!