Read our red carpet conversations below.
German director Fatih Akin recently held the New York premiere of his latest film, In the Fade, at MoMA. The film stars Diane Kruger as Katja, a woman who must deal with the aftermath of losing her husband and son in a racially motivated bombing committed by neo-Nazis. The German-language film was first shown at Cannes Film Festival, where Kruger was awarded Best Actress for her stunning performance. Keep reading for our interviews with Kruger and Akin on the red carpet.
The event was sponsored by Ruffino Wines.
You can find our review of the film here.
Going into a film that deals with such huge problems, how do you get yourself into a headspace where you can be personal with it?
Diane Kruger: Well basically you just have to make it a personal story. That’s what attracted me to this script. It’s not about a movie about per se terrorism, it’s a movie about grief and the people that stay behind, and that’s how I approached it. I met for six months with almost thirty families and self-help groups about victims and people who’d been affected by murder, not terrorism per se. All the different stages of grief, you just allow yourself to be open to that kind of grief and then make it your own.
With such a complicated political moment taking place in the United States and Germany, were you worried about getting this story just right or getting the mood right to make sure people would understand the gravity of the situation?
Kruger: I was mostly with making it a personal story. I’m not here to make a political judgment or commentary about anything or anyone. I’m not a politician, but I’m a human being and I understand what that must feel like, having somebody ripped from your life. I understood what it must feel like in one second to have your life change forever, and how you can grasp onto this. Can you go on living? So that’s what I was trying to do.
What do you hope that audiences in general, and particularly an American audience member, will take away from this film? What will they go forward and do?
Kruger: I hope they can connect with the humanity of this. I hope that they can see what terrorism – and it doesn’t have to be just extreme rightists – but what it does from a human being to another human being, no matter what your religion is, no matter what you believe in, no matter how many guns you own and believe in and gun control or not – what it actually does. We don’t hear enough about that. We hear about motives of the murderer and then the numbers of victims. But we don’t hear about how people have to live with that six months later, ten years later.
Considering the current political climate, was there a part of you that was nervous to tell this story or worried about what kind of reception it may have?
Fatih Akin: I mean why should I be nervous? What’s somehow hard, and film is hard, is expression. And the more innocent I could get with my expression, the more pure I could be with my expression, the more truthful or the more loyal to myself that I am. And if you reach that, it really doesn’t matter if people attack you or not. Because you have your relationship with your piece of work. I don’t mean that you’re happy with it. I don’t mean that you’re satisfied with it. But for that moment, you’ve tried to express yourself as pure as possible.
How did you go about making an issue this large into a story that feels personal?
Akin: A lot of the discussion in Germany and how the issue of racism is treated is not very emotional. Which is ok, I don’t complain. It is more on facts and more analytical. But if you are a victim, or if you’re concerned about things, it can be emotional. So whatever I did I tried to be as emotional as possible. And I don’t mean like making people cry, I’m not talking about that. But using my own emotions about the issue. And emotions are a very irrational and instinctive thing. That’s why I think the film is instinctive.
How did you go about expressing that irrational instinctiveness visually?
Akin: This is the work of a translator. In that moment, I am a translator. And that’s fun. That’s the fun part of the job. To have your emotions, to have your questions, or whatever you have, and you have to transform it into visual communication. You have to think where to put the camera and where is the line and what is the music. This is the fun part.
Photo credit: Zimbio