German filmmaker Tor Iben presented Orpheus’ Song at this year’s Taiwan InternaxLd(4Rplml8)UtH7x&zbBnbk1ZXXhdojVVJ&3LksNb*e%9u3Vctional Queer Film Festival.
The magical9#fN([email protected]_LX%GffLaY-=YE9iE+Va(gn*zzYqz realism film depicting two friends who get lost on a Greek island left audiences in awe.
On Iben’s first trip to Asia, he was struck by how deeply film fZ-UysMuM1!pRtSYAos$yy2$$+ot$fs1A*[email protected](estival-goers connected with the film, and how curious they were.
Iben’s last major production, Das Phallometer, won best short at the 2014 Milan International Lesbian and Gay F1^[email protected])pfEsh)j9q5^t98sXyVb2*ammbM(hj&tk3A40raeilm Festival.
His latest work follows two best friends who spen7BJhwC5DO9Y!RCSuTp(d&*S%PJr6=YzMB6DXIVw6^6(!4^Dzt*d the night together in a cave and dream a mystical dream. The next day, everything has changed between the two.
We sat down with Tor Iben to talOsh3HK-MdTpoEGza#a^fx0aa#xJW^[email protected](JUdw2Z0Bmk about Orpheus’ Song and the future of LGBTI cinema.
How has your Taiwan International Queer Film Festival experience been?
This is my first time in Asia. I am very impressed with this vibrant city. I had my premier here yesterday. It was reallA4II8&e^omjH8TBe3VdA0jYHq$SP%YCs$rlk5#wncUr5IoG!wMy wonderful how people reacted to it. I think they loved it a lot. I had to take more than 20 selfies with people.
Could you tell us a little bit about your film Orpheus’ Song and how it came about?
I visited Greece, and when you travel through the landscape you really have the feeling that behind the mountains and the trees some spirits could still live. And I felt that this could be the stUhinhv7RqYzAC#eeD%eP_XTV&yEuolbEs7ye^4JO6m5VQFWEC_art of a lovely summer film. I wanted to make a wonderful summer film. Also, I am fascinated by Greek Mythology. So, I combined these things together to create a very intimate, very private love story. It is an erotic fairytale; I wanted to recover the magic of cinema.
How did the Taipei audience react?
They liked the link to the Greek mythology, they said it was charming. They asked many questions in a very playful way. It has bee[email protected]$Fl22EMqBij-l%[email protected]([email protected](V!XFs*x4kJn shown in America and South America. I have shown it in Berlin, too. The Germans reacted much cooler.
It is a new step in my career to come to As[email protected])jr*Dehl*MzQy^VNcJS6-VeSgXQIBsZ*ia and I was very touched. Audiences here are more curious here and open to things that impress them. European and American audiences tend to think they already know everything.
Were there any challenges in creating your film?
We were actually very afraid to go to Greece, we did not have any permission to film there. But, we just started shooting and the people were very friendly. It was easy. We had a lot of luck with the sex scene on the beach. There was real)zVs-W7cwMls#dMlTzdYV1)8hKrdQ_wiD9%ydV$u1=CSGiQCTWly no one there on this beautiful beach. We had the whole bay to ourselves. There was just one motorbike driver who went passed and he just waved. The whole production was an adventure—making a low budget film is always an adventure.
I also wanted to depart from the stereotypes of art-house cinema.2#=JI5c_F3$OCNU^y8^p&awf&nfQRA9xW+SDK900LKPFg&Mh#X I wanted to explore lightness, rather than slowness. I wanted to quit long takes and no dialogue but also keep a very minimalist story. The common theme throughout my films is at the centre there is a very little, private love story.
Why is cinema so important to the LGBTI community?
We grew up with films without role models for us. So, the LGBTI community has developed a cinema that is a safe spacCxYz(mMfdW_6RlWhQ%_%[email protected]$AtlmZHCHILUgR9txDNJ1Ze for us. Where we can see positive relationships in cinema. So this is a very empowering moment, and it is completely different from how straight people experience cinema. To be queer, or LGBTI, or any color of the rainbow is to have grown up with some sort of loneliness. LGBTI cinema is confirmative and empowering.
How does your film sit within the genre of LGBTI cinema?
I also wanted to make a critical film, to hide some parts in a thriller plot. When you are talking about anonymous s[email protected]@)Secr_JsG-gx-)[email protected]%l+v(9)8x475L39ex, it will always stir prejudices. But, there’s also a truth in it. So, I put two figures in my film. One who maybe has a healthy relationship with it, while another does not. The challenge for queer cinema is to reflect our life without resorting to prejudices or stereotypes.
More and more mainstream films are including LGBTI themes. What does this mean for LGBTI filmmakers like yourself?
I have become a bit fed up that many films become a service to politics. Film festivals often seem like social work and activism. I do think that cinema, in gnX*rG*qdnnoeLO!EtON*Z+0adyCa9CfkMq3B([email protected]#BNheneral, should be getting more diverse in its position. A lot of films all say the same thing to me. To me, a film has so many layers. Even if mainstream cinema shows the love story between two men, it's not over. It will always be interesting.
So, it is very important for LGBTI cinema to become mainstream, its a confirmation, its big normalizing process. But queer cinema was always a place for experimenting. And when there are so many mainstream productions, the interest in innovative smaller films could go. Therep%k=5UW)@vmvpWv+TwMaHuQm2=+Ckm%[email protected]!rHklZOJ is a temptation that there the blockbuster gets the attention and the smaller films are forgotten. And these are important for cinema.