Laura Lackmann: Filmmaking is particularly difficult as a woman from the moment on when family planning is an issue
At this year’s Filmfest Munich German director Laura Lackmann presented her second feature film « Mission: Love ». Just as her debut « Too Hard to Handle », the movie adaptation of a German bestselling novel, « Mission : Love » is first of all a comedy, but then secondly a romantic comedy and thirdly an anti-romantic comedy. A quite unusual heterosexual couple, Heinz and Hans, struggle with their relationship and realize that what they are actually struggling with is not their actual relationship but their idea of what this relationship should be like. EWA blogger Sophie Charlotte Rieger met Laura Lackmann for an interview.
« Too Hard to Handle» and « Mission : Love » do the films have something to do with each other?
I think it is interesting to see both of my films in a row. They kind of belong together. You can tell they were directed by the same person. Both are very detailed, have a similar sense of humor and are a bit weird. And the characters might be slightly too crazy or too loud for some of us.
Bringing back the spark into a long-term relationship seems to be an ever-popular topic, it has been treated in film for decades. Why do you think that is?
Fact is : If you do not fall in love again and again, this is the reason why you separate, because you can not keep the relationship running. In « Mission : Love », this is a bit different: Heinz and Hans are a pragmatic couple from the very beginning, questioning the idea of love or rather the idea of love presented in movies.
Do you believe that our understanding of romance is mainly influenced by films?
Yes I think so. By film, by advertising, by books, by stories. For example, people kiss in the cinema during the romantic scenes as if it was something obvious to be doing. Or when you see a sunset, you are expected to kiss. Romantic rituals obviously exist. One does not even ask why a candle should be romantic. It’s just the way it is.
How does dementia fit into all of this?
I had watched a documentary about it and what I found interesting was that with dementia, everything is put into a new perspective, things that we associate with each other such as champagne & New Year’s Eve, or that you throw flowers into a grave. A character with dementia as the grandma in the story gives you food for thought and can change your way of seeing things.
Why is it that your female main character is introduced into the story as « Bob the Builder », as her boyfriend describes her, and finally finds her happiness with blonde hair and clothes from the 70’s?
She wears a translucent dress, under which you can still see the underpants, and she continues to wear her flip-flops, and her extensions aren’t so well done either. The idea behind this was that one wants to conform to this idea of â€‹â€‹oneself, and she does not really succeed in this.. But she finds satisfaction in a colorful mix of styles.
Did you consider not telling this story as a comedy?
Why was the comedy genre so important to you?
I think it is something I am quite good at. There is a particular kind of tone about it that I like. I personally like movies that don’t make you laugh loudly, but give you this tickling feeling, just like American indie films, which are always so moving. This is a feeling in cinema which I really enjoy.
What is your position regarding the discussion about women in the film industry?
I believe it is particularly difficult as a woman from the moment on when family planning is an issue. Then this is simply an impossible profession. I do not have a child. And I think the reality of the job is also a reason why I don’t, because I do not know how I could manage both.
But this is fu*-up
This is super fu*-up.
Actually, the system would have to be changed for these problems to disappear.
It would have to be changed, yes. It’s a fact that as a director you have to be equipped with features that are just not particularly feminine. I, for example, always want everyone to feel comfortable. But it is the responsibility of the production to make sure that nobody is freezing or sleeping badly. Worry about things like this gets into your way at work. You have to concentrate on other aspects.
Do you think that women make different films from men?
Maybe, yes. As a woman, you have a different reality, you have a different perception of things and therefore express yourself differently.