Sabine Timoteo (Toni), Julia Hummer (Nina)   Marianne Basler, Christian Petzold   Sabine Timoteo (Toni)

Interview  with Bettina Böhler

-> Interview Christian Petzold -> Interview Hans Fromm

You have been working with Christian Petzold for a long time. At which stage of a project do you join in?

I read one of the early drafts of the script, and then perhaps the final draft a couple of months before the shooting starts. If necessary, we – including Hans Fromm – discuss the coverage of certain scenes. In Wolfsburg, for instance, we discussed how to show the car accident without it becoming the usual spectacle ... how to show just what was necessary. And then I start editing about a week after the shooting starts. I don’t read the script anymore after I have started editing, so that I don’t have the exact details in my head. The material, the patterns that I see should tell me the story. And if they don’t, then there’s something wrong. The audience doesn’t know the script either. I believe it is also important for the director that I have this certain neutrality towards the story. All the others, the producer, the commissioning editor, the cameraman, have allbeen deeply involved for months. I have an enormous advantage because I can take a neutral position, an outsider’s point of view. I don’t even want to be on the set, because I don’t want to know how complicated, how difficult the lighting and everything was for any particular shot.

Christian Petzold does relatively little coverage per scene. How does that influence your editing?

Of course the rhythm of the film determines the moments where you can cut. But at the same time, it is much more interesting and exciting to work with these few shots – but they aren’t really that few ... editing isn’t about making as many cuts as possible, it’s about serving the material as well as possible; the story, the actors, the scene. It is, so to say, a service for what is already there. So for me, there isn’t a great difference between a sequence with twenty cuts and one with five.

I always find it interesting when people say a film is ‘slow’. A film has to be edited the way it’s shot, the way the story is told. When people talk about slow editing, it’s often a misunderstanding. The film wasn’t edited down to a slow pace; it’s what the material demanded in the first place. It is a unified whole, you can’t separate the parts. Really, it’s the actors who setthe rhythm with the way they speak or move, and naturally the camera movements, too. The editing has to follow, otherwise the film won’t function as a whole. So one thing follows the other until it all falls in place.

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-> Interview Christian Petzold -> Interview Hans Fromm


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