Cordula Kablitz-Post • Director
"I was looking for a role model, and I found a great deal of inspiration in Lou Andreas-Salomé"
- We talked to German producer and filmmaker Cordula Kablitz-Post, who won Best Film at the Socially Relevant Film Festival in New York with Lou Andreas-Salomé: The Audacity to Be Free
Cordula Kablitz-Post founded Avanti Media Fiction GmbH in 2012. The first movie produced by the company was Sophiiiie!, which received the Best Director and Best Actress Awards at the Munich Film Festival. In 2016, she was awarded the Young Investigator Award for her first feature, Lou Andreas-Salomé: The Audacity to Be Free [+see also:
interview: Cordula Kablitz-Post
film profile], at the International Film Festival Emden-Norderney. She has just won the Best Film Award at the Socially Relevant Film Festival in New York (split with David Safarian’s Hot Country, Cold Winter [+see also:
interview: David Safarian
film profile]) with the same film.
Cineuropa: In a few words, what is the film about?
Cordula Kablitz-Post: The film depicts the life of Lou Andreas-Salomé, who was a writer, thinker and psychoanalyst. She was born in 1861 in the Russian city of St Petersburg. Lou shuns tradition in pursuit of intellectual perfection, setting alight the hearts and minds of the early 19th century's greatest thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and Sigmund Freud.
Why did you want to make a film about Lou Andreas-Salomé?
I came across her biography when I was 17. I was curious to read this story of a woman who was so exceptional in her time. She lived contrary to the rules of her society; she did not care that she was not allowed to study. However, she did everything she wanted to do, and I think that was quite unusual for her time. She was stubborn and followed her own path. I think it is unusual for women to live that way; it is more normal for men. As a young woman, I was looking for a role model, and I found a great deal of inspiration in her. I started with the research eight years ago, and I was so surprised when I realised that there had been no film made about her life. I am happy that, through this film, Lou will not be forgotten. She is such an important figure in history because she was a brilliant writer. She wrote a lot of novels and psychoanalytical works, and a lot of them have not yet been published. Through this film, I see that a lot of people are starting to read her work and connect with her.
Did working on the film for eight years change you as a person?
First of all, I did not plan to work on the film for so long. If someone had told me before that I would spend so long on it, I would never have believed them; it was really hard work. The most difficult part was the financing. The German TV stations did not invest in the movie; they said Lou was not well known enough to invest money in her. I made it as a German-Austrian co-production in the end, and the Austrians were great. This was the reason why it took so long, because the money was the problem. It changed me insofar as I was really getting obsessed with it; I don’t know what happened to me, but it was something that I really wanted, and I couldn’t stop. There were a lot of problems in between, but I never had the feeling that I wanted to stop the production. Also, if somebody said they did not like the script and there was a rejection by another funding body, I would simply move onto the next one. I never used to be so stubborn; maybe Lou’s energy overcame me, I don’t know.
Did you choose the actors because of their resemblance to the characters?
Well, it was mixture. I chose a lot of theatre actors because I thought they were very good at what they do. They work for months on their parts – I love stage actors. Actress Katharina Lorenz also really looked like her. I think because Lou is kind of a legend, not everybody forgot about her. So I wanted to have a similarity, of course. But what is so great about Katharina is that she adapted 100% to the personality of Lou. She went so deep into the role; she worked on it for six years.
Why did you choose to make a fiction feature instead of a documentary?
I actually started as an assistant director on a fiction film. I mostly did documentary, but in my head, I still wanted to do fiction again. It started out as a documentary, but then I realised there was no real footage of Lou – nobody ever filmed her, and you could never hear her real voice. So I thought I had to make a fiction film; I had to get an actress for that, and I could not use original footage.
The audience occasionally laughed when there were complex philosophical scenes; was this your intention?
Of course; we wanted to make this a bit funny. It should not always be serious, because life is not always serious. I think intelligent people can laugh; they are not just serious all the time.
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