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Maren Ade • Director

“A delicate psychological dramaturgy”


- Maren Ade is a german director, scriptwriter and producer. She was born in Karlsruhe in 1976

When Ade’s feature film debut The Forest for the Trees The Forest for the Trees – a low-budget production for only €160,000 made in 25 shooting days – was presented to an international audience in Toronto and at Sundance, the effect was astonishing, but also a liberating experience. A small, quiet German film success in a sphere far away from the pushy, prestigious film world.

“To date, I have always started with a character whose inner life I investigated for some time. I am then able to extract a narrative from his or her desires, longings and fears. While still searching, I am tuned into the world around me, enjoy observing people, let myself be led by what I meet in the way of stories, people – and films, of course.”

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Ade always wanted to tell her own stories in the cinema. “Even as a child, I always enjoyed writing.” The fact that she applied to the Production class at the Munich University of Television & Film in her early twenties, after a long period as an intern in production, had more “to do with the fact that I wasn’t bold enough to try direction, but I did actually want to do it.”

Two years later, after Ebene 9, Ade’s first short film as a director had run at the Hof Film Festival, the film academy recognized her talent and enabled her to transfer to the Direction class. At the same time, she founded her own production company together with fellow student Janine Jackowski. The two of them continue to run this today: “We have been working together very well for almost ten years now.”

Ade enjoys her sometimes strenuous double role as producer and director, and is unwilling to choose between them: “The two merge in a complementary fashion in my case, I think. Production and direction belong together; they should be tackled eye to eye. It has an atmospheric and practical impact on the film when decisions are made together, thinking from both perspectives. Sometimes, of course, you do find yourself in a predicament.”

Over the last two years, Ade has been working on her latest feature film: Everyone Else [+see also:
film review
interview: Maren Ade
film profile
is about relationships among the thirty-somethings, recounting the story of a couple on holiday, the division of roles and power structures, the competition between more modern and rather traditional models of relationships. Nevertheless, the Maren Ade quality is back again: precise observation, a distanced view of modern life despite her person­al sympathies, and a clear-sighted understanding of curiosities and the absurd, even to the point of everyday satire. “The idea was to make a film with a couple as its main protagonists – a film that drew its suspense from the unique, complicated configuration that can only be generated by two people interacting.”

Ade believes that cinematic role models are less important to her than to some other directors: “I have a very emotional, concrete interest in the cinema. Of course I really enjoy watching films and spend time doing so, but there are no definite role models, and to be quite honest, I still have to catch up on some classics of film history. I didn’t discover ’watching films’ until I left the film academy.”

After putting the final touches to the film, Ade will be concentrating her energies on the production company again: “Right now, we are in the process of developing our company and have initiated several projects. We value established connections, and intense, open cooperation between production and direction is one of our leading priorities.”

Then she intends to make another film of her own: “The challenge when making Everyone Else was to master a delicate psychological dramaturgy, so I may be looking for a more powerful story next time. As I have the feeling that I ought to write it myself, it will probably take some time.”

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