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(Lenas Liebe)

Scene from “Lena’s Liebe” (photo © Erik Steingroever/noirfilm)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2010

Director-producer Didi Danquart is currently ‘on the road’ between Germany and Poland for the shooting of his latest feature film Lenas Liebe (“Lena’s Love”), based on Judith Kuckart’s novel of the same name.

Danquart, whose previous films include Offset and Viehjud Levi, had optioned the film rights to Kuckart’s novel in 2005 and then collaborated with writer Stephan Weiland on the screenplay.

40-year-old Lena Behsler has just lost her job as an actress when she learns of her mother’s death and decides to set off by car for Germany. There are another two passengers travelling with her: the cranky old Julius Dahlmann and the young priest Richard Frantzen.

In fact, their paths have not crossed here for the first time, yet the audience will only learn in the course of the film through various flashbacks why they are now together in the car between Poland and Germany. Three generations of German history are thrown together as they reflect on their past and delve into long suppressed memories.

“Memory is manifold: melancholic or joyful, black-and-white or colorful,” Didi Danquart says. “Sometimes, you rummage around in your memories and other times you are deliberately looking for them without finding them. Or memories thrust themselves randomly on you because something – a landscape or a piece of music – calls up a past event from one’s subconscious into the present.”

“The active memory helps to process past things. This is what our film is dealing with.” he explains. “A ‘traveling chamber piece’ with three ‘imprisoned’ protagonists who will face up to their memories.”

As producer Nico Hain recalls, financing for the film began in 2007 and it was originally planned to have a Polish partner onboard as a co-producer. The funding of the film – with backing from MDM (who was onboard from the outset with script development and pre-production support), MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) and co-producers ZDF/ARTE – in the end prompted noirfilm to shoot more of the scenes set in Poland in Germany.

In a first block of shooting over seven days last November, “flashback” historical sequences of events from 1944 and the film’s opening scenes were filmed in and around the east German town of Zittau.

The second block of the shooting of the car journey from Poland to Germany began at the end of April for 24 days.

Hain notes that thanks to the experienced Leipzig-based location scout and service company Soeren von der Heyde Filmdienstleistung, locations were found in Saxony which enabled the production to shoot ‘Poland’ in Germany.

The role of Lena is Anna Stieblich’s latest film part after appearances in such films as Nana Neul’s Mein Freund aus Faro and Danquart’s 2005 film Offset, while the old man Julius is played by Martin Luettge (Verrueckt nach Paris) and the young priest Richard by Wolfram Koch whose past film credits include Julie Delpy’s The Countess, Nicolai Rohde’s 10 Seconds and Bastian Guenther’s Autopilots.

Meanwhile, Lenas Liebe will again see Danquart working with the cinematographer Johann Feindt who has lensed all of the director’s feature films. In addition, noirfilm is building on its positive experiences of working with the RED One digital camera and a tried-and-tested workflow.

Genre Art, Drama, Road Movie
Category Feature
Year of Production 2010
Director Didi Danquart
Screenplay Stephan Weiland, Didi Danquart
Cinematography Johann Feindt
Didi Danquart
Myrna Drews
Cast Martin Luettge, Anna Stieblich, Wolfram Koch
Producers Nico Hain, Boris Michalski
Production Companies Noirfilm/Karlsruhe, ARTE, in co-production with ZDF
Shooting Dates Zittau and surroundings, Oswiecim/Poland, November 2009, May 2010
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, MFG Baden-Württemberg, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung

Noirfilm Filmproduktion GmbH & Co. KG
Durlacher Allee 62
76131 Karlsruhe/Germany
phone +49-7 21-3 52 89 25
fax +49-7 21-3 52 89 27