Becky Tan of Currents Magazine interviews Adele Riepe
American Adele Riepe has attended the Filmfest Hamburg for eight years. She has lived 35 years in four different German cities, the last 11 years in Hamburg. During the festival she tries to go to a least one film every day and this year she saw seven films.
Currents: Why do you like attending the Filmfest Hamburg?
Adele Riepe: It’s sooo exciting. I love having all these crazy film people around me, being in the midst of the buzz. I especially enjoy meeting the directors and listening to their comments after any given film. Often the actors are also there, but the directors are the most interesting. Also, it’s a chance to see films which may never open in Hamburg or be available anywhere else, or if they do open, it’s years later, such as Spring Summer Fall Winter … and Spring which seem to have opened mainstream much later—at least four years later.
C: What source of information do you have about the films or the festival?
AR: If any film has opened in the U.S., I read the reviews in the New York Times.
C: How do you choose your films?
AR:I chose according to the director, if it is one whose earlier films I have admired, although this time I wasn’t able to see François Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie (Jung & Schön), although it was on my list of familiar directors. I also would go see anything Danish.
I appreciate recommendations by word of mouth, for example I had heard from friends in New York City that Short Term 12 was THE film to see and I wasn’t disappointed. The same for two more American films: Nebraska and The Way Way Back which reminded me of Juno (I love witty dialogue and good scripts!). The mother in Nebraska seemed an unbelievable bitch, who, in the end, was just fine and probably the best wife that old reprobate deserved! It seemed very close to real life and I really liked the film – although a word of caution: the landscapes are dreary, the actors mostly old people, no sex, no romance. But it ends very well and is a terrific film. Plus, Bruce Dern may get the Best Actor Award.
I also had heard about Gabriele, the opening film which I loved.
C: Which ones did you like best?
AR: None of the films mentioned above were disappointments. I liked them very much.
C: Did you make any wrong choices?
AR: I wish I could have seen Venus in Fur in English or with English subtitles. I realized that I probably missed the point, because my French wasn’t adequate. The dialog is complicated with innuendos which are hard to translate into German subtitles.
My least favorite films were 2 Autums 3 Winters and Inside Llewyn Davis. The latter was especially disappointing as it came from the the Coen brothers. It was about a loser and wannabe folk singer and the first song was fine, but all others were just dumb. It was 105 minutes of non-events, and even the cats, who have starring roles, were boring.
C: Were you sorry to have missed any films?
AR: I wished I had seen both, The Reunion and Banklady, because I heard that they were very good. Banklady will come to German TV in the spring.
C: What do you suggest for the Filmfest Hamburg?
AR: Well, I was disappointed that I couldn’t get a ticket for Only Lovers Left Alive, because I would have been thrilled to see Tilde Swinton receive the Douglas Sirk Award. Although I tried to buy tickets way in advance, I was told later that it was sold out a week before the tickets for the public went on sale. Perhaps the Filmfest organizers could find a way to allow more people to see award-winning films as well as the stars, who are, of course, invited by the Festival.