Jessica Krummacher • Director
Steering clear of the mainstream
by Claudia Lenssen - German Films
- The director of Totem is preparing a new feature, Mordogan, which is supported by Eurimages
Jessica Krummacher’s feature film Totem [+see also:
film profile] displays a surprisingly subtle visual realism, while its open dramaturgy, furious physical presence and subsequent avoidance of politically correct messages distinguish it from the mass of new generation German films. Krummacher, together with her partner, Timo Müller, plans to develop more films with their Berlin-based production company kLAPPbOXfILME in the coming years.
Totem is inspired by the authentic story of an eastern European home-help who committed suicide while living with a German family. In the form of a subjectively narrated prose text, the director develops an unusual perspective on the world as experienced by the protagonist; without a conventional screenplay, she consistently stages the inner world of this family constellation that lacks communication, paralyzed as it is within ritual. "I do not start out from filmic role models, I don’t find my subjects as a cineaste," says Jessica Krummacher in explanation of her approach: "I much prefer to observe people, but I am not terribly interested in the factual side, which was the focus of our study course. I consciously seek alienation, exaggeration and artificiality."
In interviews 34-year-old Jessica Krummacher emphasizes: "I am a political person." Her parents, both part of the 1968 movement – her father now a professor of Political Science – conveyed the creative pleasure in reflection on social structures to her early on. "I am interested in how such structures condition human experiences."
Totem was developed without the fetters of a screenplay, with no predictable patterns of ideas. The focus was on improvisation work between the professional actors and the children. It was in the montage (with Heike Parplies) that the director first arrived at the compact form, whose effect was compared to horror elements by many critics.
Despite her emphasis on team work, the director regards herself as the leading mind behind the creative process. Her motivation to continue along this path: "The stories that I relate need to be told. But if you produce a film for a total of €30,000, you do want to get something out of it for yourself. Creativity together with others is a powerful experience, and that is worth a lot to me."
Her greatest dream is one of new production possibilities, new freedom for the cinema, a revolutionized world of television. In the meantime she is preparing her next feature film project, Mordogan, a story about a German who owns a holiday home in Turkey, and his friend, a re-migrant from Germany back to Turkey – at least this time it is with support for the screenplay from Bavaria. More important than this, she has received the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award for Mordogan, which corresponds to €30,000 for the development of a co-production with Turkey.
In addition, she is working on the development and production of the documentary film Der Rote Berg by Timo Müller. This project is about a hermit who has been living in a cliff-face above a major state highway for twenty years now. The 62-yearold man is convinced that he has found a city dating back 4,000 years. Against all opposition, he is excavating the remains of this city.
Jessica Krummacher is determined that one day she will be able to make a living from her unusual, stimulating films.
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