German filmmaker Tor Iben presented Orpheu)[email protected]&g5qYItHu)8yy(#n=Z6QroV&9gyTs’ Song at this year’s Taiwan International Queer Film Festival.
The magicallil7zH#)kzmCZ)[email protected]=($xoFi realism film depicting two friends who get lost on a Greek island left audiences in awe.
On Iben’s first trip to Asia, he was struck by how deeply film festivalOokDJ((^qL#nJJcQTcy8x7H)VW9KLMzMHMf9*52qSVmD5xLH70-goers connected with the film, and how curious they were.
Iben’s last major production, Das PhallxCD2VeHYgzoY%[email protected]+qizXjd5ny0uometer, won best short at the 2014 Milan International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
His latest work follows two best friends who spend the night together in a cave and dream a mystical dream. The next day, everything has changed bet9)IMKAI*[email protected]@d(jzrfyM(Ki%TS8HBRP$U_ween the two.
We sat down with Tor Iben tW($RdBt8&%[email protected]^B9+(Jmbr-etBs(1v!u#X*LtSLQo talk about Orpheus’ Song and the future of LGBTI cinema.
How has your Taiwan International Queer Film Festival experience been?
This is my first time in Asia. I am very impressed with this vibrant city. I had my premier here yester[email protected]*-OR88)FAEIcSN*[email protected][email protected]$-DSSs)jkUKT^$Bdbday. It was really wonderful how people reacted to it. I think they loved it a lot. I had to take more than 20 selfies with people.
Could you tell us a little bit about your film Orpheus’ Song and how it came about?
I visited Greece, and when you travel through the landscape you really have the feeling that behind the mountains and the trees some spirits could still live. And I felt that this could be the start of a lovely summer film. I wanted to make a wonderful summer film. Also, I am fascinated by Greek Mythology. SoffZ!0!)[email protected]@[email protected]_y7UBSAql%a5Ce^B2&k7oNIY, I combined these things together to create a very intimate, very private love story. It is an erotic fairytale; I wanted to recover the magic of cinema.
How did the Taipei audience react?
They liked the link to the Gree3$ExJUcDwVc7sP)QB9-w2(tM)CKDRQbHBPXOgMsjeCyWVep5U+k mythology, they said it was charming. They asked many questions in a very playful way. It has been 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 Asia and I was very touched. Audiences here are more cur%[email protected]=xXHJE_ak)RakX^raJEkPr7#_T=6E4p%vQpzWIOious 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 really no one there on thV#&^bO4OVsBOwJUY#[email protected]!+hDpmQ-S8sqC=37EU37)nL7n1is 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. I wanted to explore lightness, rather than slowness. I wanted to quit long taknBf46&MpsMxt^NMRaoK_fM*pGuSfEz5^zRyG3kT*2YY9Q2VBEAes 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 space 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 emFHR=nHz05sZ0EOrjTf3y8&1X!zCON^@wW2JTq*P7sTVK_tgg!Hpowering.
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 sex, 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 stereoty[email protected]_)f&=TsOf#P^LNHWvOd0DpZRhouJp#3i#)ntYtAhvpes.
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 general, 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 interestC#eB=VRrDRjghNVfor4mzWnnWWjTReqGNzX)kE!iylG!!a_*03ing.
So, it is very important for LGBTI cinema to become mainstream, its a confirmation, its big normalizing process. But queer ci$opFsvZh+AK-oo)1x^AZQ5bzQY=Kr)[email protected]@[email protected]nema was always a place for experimenting. And when there are so many mainstream productions, the interest in innovative smaller films could go. There is a temptation that there the blockbuster gets the attention and the smaller films are forgotten. And these are important for cinema.