Saturday, August 09, 2008

Angelina Maccarone interview

Angelina Maccarone at LLGFF; photo by Christa HolkaPhoto: Christa Holka

Showing at the BFI next week is Angelina Maccarone's nerve-wracking drama, Unveiled, about an Iranian woman disguising herself as a man in order to stay in Germany.

A prolific director, currently, Maccarone has two films in development but is taking a bit of a break after a period of intense activity, with five films in three years.

The German-Italian director's latest work, Vivere, featuring three women and three interlocking stories, closed this year's London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, which is where we spoke.

Who is the audience for your films? Arty? Queer? German? International? Do you think about that when you write the screenplay?

No, I think it's bad to think about who is my audience and try to write for a certain audience because it's always a bit vague, I think. In the first place I write stories that I would like to see and I'm interested also in international films and projects and art and whatever, and I have [had] the experience that my films travel quite well.

Regarding themes in your work, I have written down here: foreigners, relationships, travel. What would you say are themes in your work?

Yeah, I think you're right and crossing borders is always important. Also for me to think about things I would like to explore and meine Grenzen erweitern: to push the borders.

And feeling an alienation or feeling like an alien. When you mention foreigners, yeah, I think that this experience was very important for me when I grew up because I was not really German [laughs].

Could you speak about that? I'm just wondering because one of the last films I saw was Auf der Anderen Seite [directed by Fatih Akin]. Is there a kind of emerging cinema in Germany, with people from multicultural backgrounds bringing that into their work?

Yeah, the representation has changed, in that people who are second or third generation make their own films and not just appear in films, but I think it's still very complicated in Germany. The representation is more in the hands of people who have the experience of being actually second generation, but this doesn't mean that you are always telling the story about yourself and there are many traps because everybody is watching you when you do this and you touch upon ground that is not touched upon.... It is not that we are [a] happy big community. I know Fatih and I like him but it's not that we meet.

Talking about subjects in my films, I think the need or the wish, or the longing to belong, is one of the strongest subjects and the paradox is, on the other hand, not wanting to belong and not wanting to fulfill the expectations that a group might have.

You said you felt like an alien growing up.

Maybe I still feel like an alien [laughs]. I think it's very strange, this life on this planet.

Unveiled plays at the BFI in London on 12 and 17 August.

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