Toni Erdmann: Press conference with Maren Ade and cast
Following a lot of positive response for the film, the press conference for Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann brought a shower of compliments to the German filmmaker. Many remarked that it had been a “long time since such a wonderful German film” at Cannes; Ade said she was very honoured to be at the festival, and hoped it would “not only make the German film industry happy, but also allow [her] carte blanche” for her next film.
The process behind Toni Erdmann seemed to invite of a lot of curiosity: the actors’ role in the script, the casting and the choice of Romania as the setting of the story. Interestingly, almost the whole film was shot on location in Bucharest, with the team spending five months in Romania. Ade answered openly on the subject of Romania as setting that she needed a place where multinational consulting firms were thriving, but above all she liked the idea of working in Bucharest, adding that her love for Romanian cinema had played a part.
The film’s plot gravitates around the father-daughter relationship and Maren Ade confided that she “found out during the writing that the father-daughter relationship is a very emotional topic, the parent-child relation has a lot of secret aggression, longing, and fear, that could be used very well in a film.” Sandra Huller agrees that her part, the daughter Ines, required her to spend a lot of time with co-actor Peter Simonschek (Winfried, the father), in order to develop a real and natural link to him, hinting that the tension seen in the film was sometimes based on the actors actually getting on each other’s nerves in real life.
Ines’s role was seen by many in a feminist perspective, but both Ade and Huller downplayed the importance of the main character being a woman, stating that it “doesn’t mean anything more” and “it works for the male and female viewer”. While writing the script, the director simply felt that it was “normal to do a father-daughter story” because it feels much closer to her as a female filmmaker. Producer Janine Jackowski (also present, with Jonas Dornbach) addressed the lack of female directors and producers in the industry, but Sandra Huller quickly followed up, stating that, despite the spotlight on Ines’s gender, they never “talked about the film in a political way” during its making.
Maren Ade has garnered praise not only from the media and public, but during the press conference her cast, too, had nothing but affectionate words for her, reminding everyone how the comedy in Toni Erdmann is the fruit of Ade’s talent. As Peter Simonschek put it: “Maren Ade’s secret is she never gave (us) the very dangerous mission to do something well”.
Photo: Laurent Emmanuel/AFP/Getty Images
Read our review of Toni Erdmann here.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about Cannes Film Festival 2016 visit here.