Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Casting: Fassbinder, flipped

A stinging moment of comeuppance

Casting: Judith Engel and Andreas Lust star as the director and her muted muse.
Casting: Judith Engel and Andreas Lust star as the director and her muted muse.

When festival coordinator Tobias Queck lamented the high cost of renting an auditorium for the German Currents Film Festival, I suggested that he look into the more reasonably priced venue. What was once a yearly event has now blossomed into a regular presence at the Digital Gym. That includes the amusing industry send-up Casting, which screens Friday at 8pm.

Why the need for a heterosexual make over of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s all-woman melodrama The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant? Well, for one thing, it’s designed as a small screen re-do of the director’s breakthrough feature, and what’s television without a gimmick? When questioned about the reversal, the only insight the project director Vera (Judith Engel) has to offer is, “(It’s) not about lesbian love, it’s about love.”

It’s five days before shooting commences, and Vera — it’s the third film for the documentarian, and her first dramatic digression — can’t seem to make up her mind over who should play the lead role of Fassbinder’s broken-but-still-capable-of-loving fashion designer. That’s the premise behind co-writer and director Nicolas Wackerbarth’s alternately amusing and agonizingly frustrating comedy.

Almut Dehlen (Ursina Lardi) is at the “shit or get off the pot” stage of casting. It’s her fourth call-back, yet the movie opens inside the television studio with a frazzled casting director on the phone, feeding her directions to the makeup room. (One would think by now she’d know where to find the place.) With the film’s male lead away on business, Almut doesn’t cotton to running lines with Gerwin (Andreas Lust), who, in her estimation, and without ever having worked with the man, is strictly a second-rate talent.

Gerwin claims to have set acting aside, only agreeing to play rehearsal stand-in as a favor to a friend. In truth, his disillusionment with performing has less to do with art and more to do with him currently holding down a position as a general contractor to pay the bills. Initial word has him pegged as too old and too gay to play a role originally conceived with a bisexual young woman in mind. But when given the chance, Gerwin’s playful ambivalence turns to icy ambition.

We join Vera in “seeing” at least a half-dozen contenders, none of whom make the grade. The second actress to read (Marie-Lou Sellem) appears to know more about the source material than the director. That’s never a good fit. Andrea (Annika Grossmann) is such a big name that she initially refused to audition for the role. Halfway through a perfunctory walk-through, Vera shows her the door. Andrea’s follow-up dressing down, delivered in character and with the characteristic bitterness of Fassbinder’s lead, is a stinging moment of comeuppance.

While waiting in the green room, the celebrated actress Luise Maderer (Corinna Kirchhoff) fields adoring comments from Gerwin and makeup artist Hanne (Nicole Marischka), the latter moved to tears by one particular performance. Imagine Hanne’s horror (and my delight) when Luise laughs it off, calling the picture “sentimental trash.” She lost both her parents not long before seeing the movie, and like so many filmgoers, finds herself incapable of separating an appreciation of art with personal identification.

So where’s the agony that was hinted at earlier? The film takes place in one location, and each scene plays out in real time. That’s where the similarities begin to wane. There’s not an uninformed composition in all of Petra Von Kant. If it was Wackerbarth’s intention to pay homage to Fassbinder, the least he could have done was pop for a tripod. Luckily, Casting is couched in acting, and even the non-stop jiggling of the camera can’t shake off these performances.

German Currents has always been keen on presenting films for the entire family. Krabat and the Legend of the Satanic Mill co-stars Daniel Brühl in a fantasy adventure yarn about a sorcerer’s apprentice who rebels against his master after discovering his evil plans. The Saturday morning matinee kicks off at 10:30. For more information visit digitalgym.org.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Wall of Moms MAGA?

Non-profit expands efforts to include stopping flow of drugs to kids
Next Article

Angry Pete's Pizza brings Detroit to Kensington

Thick crust and caramelized cheese will make you forget about round pies
Casting: Judith Engel and Andreas Lust star as the director and her muted muse.
Casting: Judith Engel and Andreas Lust star as the director and her muted muse.

When festival coordinator Tobias Queck lamented the high cost of renting an auditorium for the German Currents Film Festival, I suggested that he look into the more reasonably priced venue. What was once a yearly event has now blossomed into a regular presence at the Digital Gym. That includes the amusing industry send-up Casting, which screens Friday at 8pm.

Why the need for a heterosexual make over of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s all-woman melodrama The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant? Well, for one thing, it’s designed as a small screen re-do of the director’s breakthrough feature, and what’s television without a gimmick? When questioned about the reversal, the only insight the project director Vera (Judith Engel) has to offer is, “(It’s) not about lesbian love, it’s about love.”

It’s five days before shooting commences, and Vera — it’s the third film for the documentarian, and her first dramatic digression — can’t seem to make up her mind over who should play the lead role of Fassbinder’s broken-but-still-capable-of-loving fashion designer. That’s the premise behind co-writer and director Nicolas Wackerbarth’s alternately amusing and agonizingly frustrating comedy.

Almut Dehlen (Ursina Lardi) is at the “shit or get off the pot” stage of casting. It’s her fourth call-back, yet the movie opens inside the television studio with a frazzled casting director on the phone, feeding her directions to the makeup room. (One would think by now she’d know where to find the place.) With the film’s male lead away on business, Almut doesn’t cotton to running lines with Gerwin (Andreas Lust), who, in her estimation, and without ever having worked with the man, is strictly a second-rate talent.

Gerwin claims to have set acting aside, only agreeing to play rehearsal stand-in as a favor to a friend. In truth, his disillusionment with performing has less to do with art and more to do with him currently holding down a position as a general contractor to pay the bills. Initial word has him pegged as too old and too gay to play a role originally conceived with a bisexual young woman in mind. But when given the chance, Gerwin’s playful ambivalence turns to icy ambition.

We join Vera in “seeing” at least a half-dozen contenders, none of whom make the grade. The second actress to read (Marie-Lou Sellem) appears to know more about the source material than the director. That’s never a good fit. Andrea (Annika Grossmann) is such a big name that she initially refused to audition for the role. Halfway through a perfunctory walk-through, Vera shows her the door. Andrea’s follow-up dressing down, delivered in character and with the characteristic bitterness of Fassbinder’s lead, is a stinging moment of comeuppance.

While waiting in the green room, the celebrated actress Luise Maderer (Corinna Kirchhoff) fields adoring comments from Gerwin and makeup artist Hanne (Nicole Marischka), the latter moved to tears by one particular performance. Imagine Hanne’s horror (and my delight) when Luise laughs it off, calling the picture “sentimental trash.” She lost both her parents not long before seeing the movie, and like so many filmgoers, finds herself incapable of separating an appreciation of art with personal identification.

So where’s the agony that was hinted at earlier? The film takes place in one location, and each scene plays out in real time. That’s where the similarities begin to wane. There’s not an uninformed composition in all of Petra Von Kant. If it was Wackerbarth’s intention to pay homage to Fassbinder, the least he could have done was pop for a tripod. Luckily, Casting is couched in acting, and even the non-stop jiggling of the camera can’t shake off these performances.

German Currents has always been keen on presenting films for the entire family. Krabat and the Legend of the Satanic Mill co-stars Daniel Brühl in a fantasy adventure yarn about a sorcerer’s apprentice who rebels against his master after discovering his evil plans. The Saturday morning matinee kicks off at 10:30. For more information visit digitalgym.org.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Discovery of priest’s letters reveals tension between church, locals

Culture Clash
Next Article

Black Lives Matter offshoot chooses street outside Police Headquarters for street mural

Placing the BLAME
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close