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Diary edited by Sarah Cooper sarah.cooper@emap.com
Lifshitz follows lyrical road
One On One
BY MIKE GOODRIDGE way — the beautiful Léa (Léa Sey- NOAH BAUMBACH, GREENBERG
Sébastien Lifshitz has become cel- doux), her gay brother (Théo Fri-
ebrated for his lyrical, mournful let) and another young drifter
character pieces such as Almost Jeremie (Pierre Perrier).
Greenberg
Nothing (Presque Rien) or Wild “The kids are full of life and sex
Side. But with his latest fi lm Going and eroticism,” says Lifshitz, “and
South, which plays in Panorama they get annoying after a while.
today, he wanted to shake up his They are not the youth of Gus Van
traditional aesthetic. Sant fi lms; they are more aggres-
“I wanted to try a kind of collage sive and superfi cial, which is what
with different aesthetics,” he says I see in France.”
from Paris before the festival, in All four actors are also highly
his excellent English. “I wanted to photogenic. “Beauty is very impor-
mix the traditional road-movie tant in the fi lm,” he says. “I like to
aesthetic with a sitcom teenager put my desire for it into my fi lms.
movie. For me, it was interesting It’s an homage in a way to Ameri-
to do this while painting a very can cinema, which is never afraid
intimate portrait of the lead char- to use beauty and play with desire.”
Greenberg director
acter Sam, so that his story con- Lifshitz also defies the social
trasts with the more superficial Sébastien Lifshitz (top) and Going South realist tradition of French cinema
Noah Baumbach
elements of the young characters.” by giving the audience no infor-
talks mid-life crises,
The film follows 30-year-old witnessed as a child, and his sub- mation about the kids’ back-
Sam (played by Yannick Renier) sequent separation from his grounds. “It’s much more involved
his relationship with
on his way south through France mother who has spent two dec- with feelings. The purpose is not Los Angeles and how
in his old Ford to visit his mother ades in mental institutions, he the documentary aesthetic, it’s
music inspires the
(Nicole Garcia) in Spain. Haunted fi nds himself distracted by three designed to be more lyrical and
by his father’s suicide, which he hitch-hikers he picks up along the Romanesque.”
creative process
What’s the film about?
WERNER’S WISDOMS
All about my mother
It’s a movie about a guy [Greenberg, played by Ben Stiller] who has
hit a point in his life where all the ideas he has about himself and
how he would like to be seen by other people are contrasting with
It’s not often that an unknown his real-life experience.
first-time director persuades an
actress like Charlotte Rampling to Ben Stiller’s character is 40 — is he having a midlife crisis?
star in their fi lm. Unless, of course, I’m sure a midlife crisis can encompass many things, but I associate
she happens to be his mother. a typical midlife crisis with the married man who thinks: “How did
Rampling will play a femme I get here?” This is somebody who has taken on no attachments,
fatale caught up in a murder inves- because things never began for him. In the course of the movie he’s
tigation in her son Barnaby South- discovering how he might be responsible for that, and that it’s not
combe’s debut feature, I, Anna, one Rampling and Southcombe the world, it’s him.
Frankly speaking, of 23 offi cial co-production titles
I consider the
featuring in the Berlinale Co-pro- International’s Ilann Girard, who Where did the idea come from?
awarding of prizes a
duction Market, which kicks off was behind Venice Golden Lion It started as something I’d written in a very rough draft, and I
today. winner Lebanon. showed it to Jennifer [Jason Leigh, Baumbach’s wife] to get her take
delicate issue. It’s Gabriel Byrne has also signed Still, Southcombe says getting on it. She was so good at focusing it, and had so many ideas and
more appropriate for
up to the project, which is the fi rst Rampling on board wasn’t easy. thoughts that we decided we would do this formally.
dog shows’
from Southcombe and producer “It is a risky proposition for her.
Felix Vossen’s London-based pro- She had no idea I was planning Why did you decide to set the film in Los Angeles?
Werner Herzog, head of the
duction company Embargo Films. this. I just sent her the screenplay The film is very much about LA, at least about my relationship with
Berlinale jury 2010
It will be co-produced by Arsam and luckily it really spoke to her.” LA. Jennifer is from LA, I’m from New York, so we have places in both
cities. They are both great and different. If I can time it right, I can
make the switch right when I’m getting overly critical of one city!
HAPPY 60TH, PROGRESS
Tilda offers food for thought
Music plays a big part in the film…
The Berlinale is not the only Last year’s jury president Tilda The music is a really critical part of the movie. The score is by LCD
one celebrating its 60th Swinton is in town again to launch Soundsystem. I was in LA writing Greenberg and listening to their
birthday this year. German the Berlinale’s fourth Culinary track I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down. The song is both a
distributor Progress Film- Cinema section, which opens tribute to NY but also a major critical analysis of NY, and it made me
Verleih also hits the big 6-0. To tonight with I Am Love. homesick and think of Greenberg. The record felt like a version of his
celebrate, it will be presenting Directed by Luca Guadagnino, character, which is incredibly self-conscious and hypercritical.
its inaugural award for Swinton plays a married Russian
services to German cinema to in Milan who embarks on an affair Would you describe Greenberg as a comedy?
Katrin Sass, famous for her with a young chef after she sam- Tilda Swinton (right) in I Am Love I keep thinking I’m making comedies, but then they’re often not
role as the mother in Good ples his succulent king prawns. described back to me that way! I think of it as a comedy that takes
Bye Lenin!, in Berlin’s Rotes German chef Christian Lohse , “Russian-Italian declaration of place in the real world.
Rathaus this morning. who holds two Michelin stars at love” after the screening, at the Sarah Cooper
Fischers Fritz in Berlin, will cook a Gropius Mirror restaurant.
10 Screen International at Berlin February 14, 2010
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