Berlin Festival: “The ladies” in the big leagues – Culture

Since 2012 and Ursula Meier’s “Child from Above”, no Swiss production had had the honors of the Berlinale in competition. This year, Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, two Lausanne filmmakers we know well, especially for their documentary “Les dames”, a great success in 2018, are in turn taking the plunge with “Schwesterlein” (“My Little Sister”) .

This is their first fiction in German, toured between Berlin, Leysin and various other places, a grim drama in which a sister helplessly witnesses the agony of her twin brother, suffering from cancer. A harsh remark that a certain lightness does not stop airing, with, at the heart of the tragedy, two important German comedians, Nina Hoss and Lars Eidinger, casting completed by a twirling and funny Marthe Keller. For the two Swiss filmmakers, the pressure was real. Being in a major competition, alongside confirmed names such as Philippe Garrel, Hong Sangsoo, Abel Ferrara or Tsai Ming-liang, this inevitably brings emotions. A few hours before the official screening of their film, and just after the first press session, we find the two filmmakers in the cozy setting of a living room.

Not a German film

“The weird thing here is that people think” Schwesterlein “is a German film, comments Véronique Reymond. While not. We fully appreciate how lucky we are to be competing at one of the biggest festivals in the world. ” The two filmmakers also admit that the shooting of this film allowed them to leave their comfort zone. “We wanted to get out of it at all costs,” explains Stéphanie Chuat.

By largely shooting in another country, even if there are a lot of sequences that were made in Leysin, and in a language that we do not speak as well as French, we were served. And then our meeting with Nina Hoss was surprising. It was five years ago at the Berlinale. We met her in a store. We told him about the project. She didn’t have time to chat, so we gave her our contact information. And against all odds, she called after three days. ” “We are very impressed with the German actors,” adds Véronique Reymond. They are beasts. A Lars Eidinger can prepare three pieces in parallel, this does not pose any problem to him. For our part, we managed the actors in English, the children in German and the technical team in French and English. “

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Basically, the two young women are also actresses. But they don’t usually play in their own movies. “The desire to play is always present, confesses Véronique Reymond. But that was not found. ” “At the same time, by working with personalities like Nina Hoss or Lars Eidinger, we also play their characters, specifies Stéphanie Chuat. The actresses in us are alive. ”

Regarding the distribution of their tasks, they do not decide. “We don’t give ourselves caps,” says Stéphanie Chuat. We are always there and we never get angry. Which also impressed the team. ” Nina Hoss, whom we met at the same time for a future interview, confirms this in every point with palpable enthusiasm: “There is an incredible symbiosis between the two, I have rarely seen this on a film.”

Release in April

However, a crucial question remains. In three films, “The Little Room”, “The Ladies” and “Schwesterlein”, the two authors tackled subjects like death, old age, illness or physical degeneration, which contrasts considerably with their freshness.

“Are films an outlet for our anxieties? questions all smiles Véronique Reymond. These themes, everyone will face them sooner or later. We know that this deadline will come one day. During the filming, Stéphanie’s mother fell very ill. And for my part, I lost my father during the preparation of the film. ” “What is curious, tempers Stéphanie Chuat, is that in the theater, we rather do comic shows.” A paradox which also attests to the complexity of this “Schwesterlein” that the French-speaking public will be able to discover on April 29, 2020. In the meantime, we cross our fingers so that he finds himself on the charts of the 70th Berlinale.

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Created: 02.25.2020, 8:32 p.m.

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