The Dutch director is back in the Forum after her 2007 Wolfsbergen with another strange and penetrating film in which the wonderful Sandra Hüller plays a modern day belle de jour whose double life bursts into the open with uncertain consequences.
Sum up your Berlinale film in 1 sentence.
It’s a film about whether you can forgive your partner when you find out things you didn’t know.
2 good reasons why people should queue in the cold to see it?
The way the emotion is built up in the film is very special: it’s neither in the acting nor in the story but in the head of the viewer.
Describe your film in 3 words starting with the same letter.
Systematic. Specific. Silent.
How did you come up with the initial idea?
It’s not the first time I’m working with the subject of how much estrangement a couple can endure. It comes back in many of my films, so you can’t really say there was one point in particular.
If you could show your film in a double feature, which would be the other one?
Luis Bunuel’s Belle de Jour. It was a great inspiration. It sort of has a similar subject but in another time with other values.
Why do you make films?
The combination of images, sound, structure and rhythm. It gives more to work with than photography for example. It’s the most important way of communicating for me.
If you didn’t make films, what would you do?
I always wanted to study law. It’s in my family and I have always been very curious about how it would be to be a lawyer.
Worst compliment/best insult you ever received?
The most annoying thing is when people tell me it’s slow. I knew that already.
What would you like to be remembered for?
For creating a language in film that’s my own. I always try to create emotion with space.
Take two films on a desert island…
Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and the Coen Brothers’s The Big Lebowski.
A film or director that changed your life.
Andrei Tarkovsky and Pier Paolo Pasolini. They were running a double retrospective in a film house when I was 17, and I saw almost all the films in one week. They inspired me to become a director.
Describe one of your favourite scenes in a film of your choice.
I just saw Michael Winterbottom’s Summer in Genoa. There are scenes where the little girl has some really harsh nightmares. They work so well as a contrast to the rest of the film, which is really quiet and slow.