Josef Bierbichler explores 70 years of Bavarian history in Mittelreich
by Bénédicte Prot
- The actor and director explores the changes of the 20th century, in the company of Martina Gedeck, his son Simon Donatz, the legendary Irm Hermann, Sophie Stockinger and Sarah Camp
After five weeks of filming indoors in Thuringia this winter, last Sunday (25 June), famous Bavarian actor Josef Bierbichler (The White Ribbon [+see also:
interview: Michael Haneke
film profile]) started filming the second part of his film Zwei Herren im Anzug [+see also:
interview: Josef Bierbichler
film profile], the second feature film he will have directed and starred in thirty years after Triumph der Gerechten, in the bucolic outdoors of his home region. The crew, which includes director of photography Tom Fährmann (The Miracle of Bern), production designer Josef Sanktjohanser (The Big Cat [+see also:
film profile], Räuber Kneissl) and costumer designer Katharina Ost (Fukushima mon amour [+see also:
film profile], The Diary of Anne Frank [+see also:
film profile]), will work on location for four more weeks.
The screenplay for Zwei Herren im Anzug, which was written by Bierbichler and is based on his successful novel (published in 2011), covers 70 years of history: from the First World War up until the end of the last century, it focuses on the life of a small rural Bavarian community, looking at the technological and social changes it is faced with and must adapt to.
In front of the camera, Bierbichler plays the main role of the village’s innkeeper. He is surrounded by a solid cast, most notably featuring the outstanding Martina Gedeck (The Lives of Others [+see also:
interview: Florian Henckel von Donners…
interview: Ulrich Muehe
film profile], The Baader Meinhof Complex [+see also:
film profile]), his own son Simon Donatz, Sophie Stockinger, legendary Fassbinderian actress Irm Hermann, and Sarah Camp.
With a budget of €4.5 million, the producers of the film, Stefan Arndt and Uwe Schott from X Filme Creative Pool, came up with a creative model, quite fittingly, to ensure that this arthouse film has a good run in cinemas upon its release. As Stefan Arndt explained to Cineuropa, the idea is “to get theatre owners/exhibitors interested in the project right from the production stages”. To do this, he went on to explain, they invited over one hundred exhibitors to become co-producers of the film (simply contributing the fees for providing them with a copy, an amount which they would get back at a later stage) and to be present during filming. The idea is to harness their enthusiasm and the knock-on effects of this at local level (local press, social networks, etc.) to prepare an advertising campaign for the film’s release, which they commit to giving a good run to in their theatres. Exhibitors will also be able to organise premieres. “Arthouse films work well on DVD and video-on-demand platforms”, Arndt points out, but the aim is still to get them shown in theatres, whilst us producers need to be sure that the exhibitors have a close connection with the film. And it’s also an interesting setup for the distributor – in this case X Verleih.
X Filme is producing Zwei Herren im Anzug in co-production with BR, WDR and Arte. The movie has received support from regional funds FFF Bavière, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and MDM Mitteldeutschen Medienförderung, as well as the FFA and the DFFF federal fund. International sales are being handled by Beta Cinema.
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