André Schäfer • Director de Everything About Martin Suter. Everything but the Truth.
"Para mí, es así como una novela tiene que ser, tiene que cautivarte, engullirte"
por Teresa Vena
- El director alemán presenta un cálido y formalmente interesante retrato del autor suizo Martin Suter
Este artículo está disponible en inglés.
To close the Locarno Film Festival on the Piazza Grande has been chosen the new documentary by German director André Schäfer. For his film Everything About Martin Suter. Everything but the Truth. [+lee también:
entrevista: André Schäfer
ficha de la película], he searched for an original approach to best-seller novelist Martin Suter and mixed elements of a traditional portrait with staged scenes from Suter's different books. We talked to the director about his concept and his relationship to his protagonist.
Cineuropa: How did you first get in touch with the author Martin Suter?
André Schäfer: I read one of his columns first and then his novel Lila, lila (lit. Violet, Violet). The next book I read was Die Zeit, die Zeit (lit. Time, Time) which fascinated me very much. It tells such an absurd story, but at some point I found myself thinking about whether it might be possible after all to turn back time. And this is how a novel has to be in my opinion, it has to capture, to swallow you. That happened to me a lot with Suter.
How did the project to make a film about him start?
Everything started with his books. I think Suter's novels have something very graphic about them and are written in a somehow cinematographic language. I took a pencil and tagged all the parts I liked the most. I had a huge collection of citations and of important scenes. I first thought I would go outside and search on my own for images I would relate to the text I had chosen as I already did once for my film about John Irving. But then I had the idea to stage some of the scenes in the books. I didn't want to have it like in a classical feature, with dialogues, but using citations read always by the same voice from the off.
Why was it important for you to shoot your own scenes from the novels and not use parts from already existing adaptations?
To be honest, I saw only very few of the existing films. When I read, I have my own imaginary and I wanted to keep that. I wanted to stay close to the books and use my own ideas concerning the looks of the characters. Moreover, normally Suter didn't contribute to the scripts made from his novels and so they don't belong anymore completely to his work.
Die Zeit, die Zeit functions as a centre piece of the film.
Suter liked the idea very much, because he thinks this novel is one of the most underrated of his. Everybody talks about the bestsellers Lila, lila or Die dunkle Seite des Mondes (lit. The Dark Side of the Moon). Die Zeit, die Zeit is different, more philosophical. And I liked that very much. You have the impression you can see the places, the world described in the novel in front of you eyes, while reading. And I did now Switzerland very well, when I first read it. The great thing is, that while searching for the right shooting locations, we actually found a place that looked just like the place I had in mind. And the even greater thing was, that it was the place where Suter had lived once early on in his life.
Did Suter want to be part of the decisions about text or visuals you made?
He didn't. He is used to the fact that readers or film authors have a different idea about how his characters look than he has. He of course has to try to put them on the right track, but still he is aware of this natural discrepancy between him and his readers. This was the same with some decisions I made in choosing some of the actors to play his characters.
How much time did you spend with Suter and how would you describe your relationship?
All in all we worked for nearly four years on the film. I got to know Suter quite well, I would say. I was surprised that he agreed on spending so much time with us. And slowly he opened up to me. I first wasn't sure what to expect. And of course I had my own idea of how he would be. I saw his looks and thought he might be a little stiff. He turned out to be very different from that.
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