Satire, surrealism, fairy tale, allegory, black comedy, and tragicomedy: many genres could describe Frauke Finsterwalder’s first film, Finsterworld. One genre can be ruled out for sure though: vérité.
When the Women in Film Festival committee decided to invite Finsterwalder’s film, our festival judges and volunteers struggled with how to summarize this incredibly complex debut film – you’ll have to see it for yourself to understand.
While a group of independent high school students conducts a field trip to a former concentration camp, “furries”- people dressed up in costumes portraying anthropomorphic characters – gather together looking for acceptance. A well-to-do couple clinging to their youthful ideals speeds toward Paris in a rented, “no Nazi-autos, please” car, and an esthetician who despises German folk songs develops a peculiar taste for his elderly female clients. Meanwhile, a hermit lives in what seems to be an idyllic forest.
Finsterworld Trailer Eng from Walker+Worm on Vimeo.
We caught up with Finsterwalder via Skype from her part-time home on an island off the coast of Kenya where she lives with her young daughter and husband Christian Kracht, who co-wrote the film.
What’s in a name?
The title Finsterworld (“dark world”) is obviously a pun with her legal last name, Finsterwalder, but also shows how the film is written entirely from her point of view as an auteur.
“I’ve had this word in my mind since I was a child,” says Finsterwalder. “When naming the film, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate, fairytale-esque word to capture this screenplay we wrote about Germany and darkness. It is realistic yet over-the-top and abstract.”
Under your skin
Of the many themes in the film, the issue of social isolation might resonate with Vancouverites the most. In the film, not only the hermit but also the history teacher, students, the esthetician, and a police officer in bear suit long for human contact.
“We see these kinds of problems in all modern societies,” says Finsterwalder. She felt that the audience at the 2013 Montreal World Film Festival, where the film premiered, easily picked up the theme. The response was different in Argentina, however, where Finsterwalder used to live.
“In Buenos Aires, they couldn’t understand why someone would have to put on a bear costume to be hugged,” she says. Though the film focuses on Germany, the overarching discussion on the human condition is quite global.
To get to the original blog please go to: http://wiftv.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/the-odd-realm-of-frauke-finsterwalders-finsterworld/