Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interview with German Filmmaker Christian Petzold

(c) Hans Fromm
German Filmmaker Christian Petzold's film Barbara received 8 nominations for the German Film Awards, known as the Lolas, to be awarded on April 27th.

An interview with Petzold recently appeared at signandsight.com. Among other things, he spoke of the literary inspiration for the film:

Two books were important to this film. One was Hermann Broch's novella "Barbara", which is set in 1928 and tells the story of a female doctor who takes a job in a rural hospital in order to hide her communist activities from the police. The other was the novel "Rummelplatz" (fairground) by Werner Bräunig. My friend Hartmut Bitomsky says that only through this novel did he again realise the extent to which anti-Fascists, workers, farmers and intellectuals had tried to establish a better country in eastern Germany in 1945. 

In Bräunig's book there are two passages that I will always remember. A doctor's son from a well-do-to family is consumed by physical work for the first time in a uranium mine. He defines and objectifies himself through this work. Work had almost completely disappeared from the literature and cinema in the West. The second passage that appealed to me very much was when the book tells how skilled workers were almost completely wooed to the West, and women replaced them. For women, this brought a new self-understanding about what it meant to be a woman in the world. I wanted to tell a story about this.  

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