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Directed by: Tanja Mairitsch
Synopsis: A young woman finds her lost lover in a world of ever-changing surreal landscapes. But love, she discovers, is more complicated than she imagines.
What does Lacrimosa stand for?
Letting go. This can be very difficult sometimes.
Lacrimosa is the story of a tear. What inspired the story? Where did the idea come from?
The original inspiration came from an underwater photograph: A woman in a wide dress floating under water, beside her a little boy (not older than 2 years) with tiny angel wings. It was mysterious and stunning. I thought: I want to tell a whole story that takes place under water. So Joerg Ihle and I thought of a story that motivates the use of underwater cinematography. We came up with the story of a tear.
What attracts you to underwater photography? It seems to have an inherent beauty.
I enjoy exploring things that have not been done before. The underwater world is very different than the one we move in. It works with different rules and conveys different feelings. The aesthetic is a different one. The consistency of the element, the gravity, the perception of sound is different. It offers completely new forms of expression. And, did I mention, it looks breathtakingly beautiful?
Did you have to find a crew and actors with diver certification? Tell us about the logistics which seem formidable.
My focus was on a truthful and natural acting performance - under water! Hence my first priority was to cast talented actors. The second step was to test how they feel and behave under water. I should say upfront that both actors had absolutely no diving experience and had been snorkeling two times in their lives. Based on specific instructions from our underwater specialist, Dan Travers, I did some exercises with Saskia Rosendahl under water and recorded them. Dan watched the video and called me the next day with a "she'll be able to do it." Saskia is one of the bravest woman I have ever met in my life. And believe me, I do crazy stuff too. Just think of this: A convincing acting performance is a challenge in itself. Now imagine giving a great performance while being five meters under water, with water pressure all around you, not able to see in focus, with weights on your feet, no air in the lungs while acting. Both actors had special diving lessons in a time span of eight months to prepare for the shoot. The camera team specialized in underwater film production. Since I had no experience filming under water, their input and expertise was invaluable; like i.e. building a green screen set under water. I personally love water so this whole process was so much fun and adventurous.
Conveying the inner workings of a mind on film is a difficult task but the underwater technique used here works brilliantly. What is it about the mind and water?
Water is the commonest symbol for the unconscious. In film, how do we visualize what cannot be seen? Like, as you say, the inner workings of a mind. Every image and every scene in Lacrimosa mirrors Mila's inner state and condition. I find it fascinating to visualize inner feelings. I know this from my personal experience when I interpret feelings and emotions through images, as we often do in dreams.
Did you reference any films and directors before you went into production and if so, what films and directors?
I did not reference any directors or films for this project but we used lots of images and photographs as point of discussion. And the surreal paintings of Dali.