“On the verge of despair”
by Kathrin Halter
- After the public and critical success of Giulia's Disappearance, director Christoph Schaub has once again joined forces with bestselling writer Martin Suter for Lullaby Ride.
After the public and critical success of Giulia's Disappearance [+see also:
interview: Christoph Schaub
film profile], director Christoph Schaub has once again joined forces with bestselling writer Martin Suter for Lullaby Ride [+see also:
interview: Christoph Schaub
film profile], a narrative film in which the duo once again address disappearance, but this time that of a baby kidnapped in a car. Cineuropa spoke to the director.
Cineuropa: How was working with Martin Suter?
Christoph Schaub: At Giulia's Disappearance's premiere at the Locarno Film Festival, Martin Suter suggested that he write another screenplay. He then suggested several ideas to us. Marcel Hoehn, my producer, and I immediately agreed on this story of a baby being kidnapped in a car. I read the screenplay's intermediary versions and was able to give my opinion but, even if Suter might once or twice have retained some of my suggestions, he remains the film's sole screenwriter. The idea was not to remake Giulia's Disappearance, but to embark on a completely different course in terms of the film's genre and characters.
Was it your co-producer X-Filme who imposed that the film be not in Swiss German but in German, although the film is set in Switzerland?
It was our decision, and is as much linked to Suter's writing style as it is to the story's universality. We made a similar choice for Giulia's Disappearance. That having been said, if we hadn't decided to choose German anyway, our co-producers would probably have demanded it. Perhaps not necessarily X Filme, but probably its main financial partner, the ARD television channel. Choosing shooting locations was also linked to our co-producers. Exterior and studio scenes were shot in Bavaria, while all exterior scenes with buildings, like the petrol station, were in Switzerland.
How did you choose your actors?
From the beginning, we had Alexandra Maria Lara and Sebastian Blomberg in mind for the main characters. But for the role of the thieves, I had to hold a long casting session in order to finally find Swiss actress Carol Schuler and Austrian actor Georg Friedrich.
Was this the first time for you to shoot chase scenes?
I had never done it before! It was exciting. We worked with a German stunt coordinator, a second shooting crew, and a stuntman. I shot the scenes involving the actors myself, and the second crew shot the pure action scenes, like the cars overtaking or breaking.
And how did you coach the baby?
In my film Jeune Homme [+see also:
film profile], I had already worked with a baby. In a way, babies are selected with their parents. The most important thing is that the latter be relaxed. Scenes in which the baby needs to smile are then much easier to direct. In this case, the mother was most of the time near the camera. During the scenes in which he cried, however, the mother was mostly not there.
A question about the characters' motivation: Why don't the parents try to alert the police, even if they have a mobile phone right next to them?
The plot provides one answer: The events catch the parents by surprise, and they are made to wait from one moment to the next. They are constantly waiting for the next occasion. Then, there is a moment in which they lose hope, when they discover that their supposed saviour is himself a criminal. At that precise moment, they discover that they are somewhere with no reception... The other answer is psychological: When you are on the verge of despair and overcome by fear, you often take the wrong decision and act irrationally.