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“I discovered I was only a good producer with my own films”

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Fatih Akin • Director

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- The Turkish German filmmaker is part of the jury at the Marrakesh Film Festival and talks about her new project, The Cut

Fatih Akin • Director

The trilogy of Love, Death and the Devil has been a success for German director Fatih Akin, whose roots are in Turkey. Head-On [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2004) was given the Golden Bear in Berlin and the screenplay for The Edge of Paradise [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
film profile
]
(2007) was awarded in Cannes, but a final installation is missing. Enter The Cut, which has already been filmed. The filmmaker sat down with Cineuropa to talk about this, a product of her own company Corazón International, starring Tahar Rahim (A Prophet [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
film profile
]
), while she is an acting member of the jury at the Film Festival in Marrakech.

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Cineuropa: There is no doubt Tahar Rahim is a great actor, but why did you choose him as the main character in your film?
Fatih Akin: For his physical and interpretive abilities. He is perfect to develop this role, which is quite complex. On the one side, Tahar doesn’t say a word throughout the film and he is a bit like Charlie Chaplin, but at the same time, he is a typical western character, like Sergio Leone.

This last chapter completes your analysis on human conditions focusing on the wickedness that we all theoretically have within us.
Yes, I think wickedness exists within us from the moment we are born. What I found fascinating was exploring the fact that wickedness is a process of transition from goodness and that the opposite phenomenon exists too. These are concepts that are very intimately tied to each other. The most beautiful of bodies, for example, can be carrying cancer on the inside, and one same person can be capable of the nicest of actions and the vilest of crimes. I have always thought that humans were in this in between place in the evolution process. We still have to find out whether we will stop living behind borders, separated by religion, nationality…

Why did you decide to suspend the trilogy and concentrate on other projects before completing it?
I was quite exhausted from working with such serious material and I decided to film Soul Kitchen [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(2008), something much lighter, which would appeal to a wider audience and something you could watch while snacking on popcorn. It was like practicing a new sport. I wanted to know whether I could move the camera in a different way and tell another story. I am very proud of this.

With this film, you are also going back to being your own producer.
This is something I fought for a lot. For ten years, I worked for other producers. They didn’t want any of the actors I chose for Head-On or The Edge of Paradise. I had to fight with them. They wanted me to give up people who then made me famous! To be your own producer, you have to take on a lot of responsibility, bureaucracy and non-creative work. But it gives you freedom. For a certain amount of time, I tried to produce young talent to give them that same degree of freedom, but I almost ruined myself. I realised I was only a good producer when it came to producing myself.

Why did you accept to be member of the jury at the Marrakech Film Festival?
The reason is the other members. Martin Scorsese, the president of the jury, has gathered talented people around him, like Paolo Sorrentino and Park Chan-Wook. He is also my cinema father, and if your father calls you, you answer. I must confess I do not think judging art is possible. Those times when I took part in a jury, we ended up giving the prize to the friend, acquaintance, fellow alumni or lover of one of the members. But being in Marrakech and watching others’ films for a week is a good way for me to breathe fresh air before going into the editing room with The Cut. I always dreamed of having a month off before entering an editing phase, in order to get a bit of distance from filming. This is something I have not been able to do before, because, otherwise, the films would have lost the opportunity of entering in competition at some film festivals. 

(Translated from Spanish)

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