5th October 2017 1.15pm at BFI Southbank
6th October 2017 6.15pm at Hackney Picturehouse
It’s a difficult business, making a movie. Every person has a specific purpose, and every stage in the process has its own special complications. German filmmaker Nicolas Wackerbarth throws the viewer into the casting process for a new TV adaptation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 film The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. But the protagonist isn’t the director, or the casting director, or any of the auditioning actors. Instead we follow Gerwin (Andreas Lust), a line reader who aspires to be a professional actor, caught in the chaotic world of pre-production.
Casting is a satire of the filmmaking process, holding up its absurdity to the lens for everyone to see. It addresses the general issues within the industry like homophobia and the ubiquity of remakes, as well as specific frustrations like a director who can’t make important decisions. The script by Wackerbarth and co-writer Hannes Held is fast and spontaneous, largely improvised by the actors, and dizzily accommodated by a New Wave documentary style. Jürgen Carle’s handheld cinematography accelerates the wit of the script and excites the viewer into the story.
The Sound Stage setting does mark the repetitiveness of making a movie, but it dulls the visuals. If it weren’t for the actors’ charisma, Wackerbarth’s picture would be boring to look at. There are also sequences with Gerwin’s character that feel awkward and arbitrary. In a weird moment of distress, he refuses to hand back the director’s baby after holding it. One can tell that there’s some backstory behind this scene, owing to the brilliance of Lust’s multi-faceted performance, but it doesn’t fit the tone of the piece.
Casting is a hilarious and frustrating filmmaker comedy. It is more a movie for those in the industry with similar experiences, but the humour is accessible enough for a wider audience. One could argue that it offers more for the uninformed. They won’t watch a film the same way again.
Casting does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.