Franziska Meletzky • Director
by Bénédicte Prot
16/06/2008 - 35 year-old Franziska Meletzky was born in Leipzig, GDR, where she studied German philology, culture and media, and English literature before she joined the "Konrad Wolf" film and TV school, where she directed several award-winning shorts. Her graduation film, Wanted! (Nachbarinnen) (2004), which described the increasingly intense bond between two women, earned her a few more prizes, as did her second and latest feature, According to the Plan [trailer], in which the conflicts between three sisters reach a crisis on their mother's birthday. This film is now about to be presented in Karlovy Vary in the "Variety Critics' Choice: Europe Now!" section.
Cineuropa : You did not study cinema right away. When and how did you realise you wanted to be a director?
Franziska Meletzky: Already as a child I played "director". As the leader of our little imaginary Indian tribe, I basically did the same thing I do now : I made up some story, some kind of ultimate adventure, and we little heroes pretended it was real and rehearsed it with all the bravery, originality and truthfulness we were capable of...
According to the Plan, as well as your feature debut Wanted!, is an utterly feminine film – is this element part of your signature now?
I guess it lay at hand because it is easier for me as I am a woman myself. However, the last two (TV) projects I have worked on after According to the Plan had male leads and turned out to be as fascinating as my previous work. If I were to have a distinctive signature, I wish it would be "good stories which combine laughing and crying in a strange way".
As a female director, do you feel you have a specific message to deliver, a different outlook?
Some say I have a more subtle intensity when telling about love and pain, but I myself do not like gender-specific filmmaking. My films are for people —no matter what their age or gender may be— who want to be entertained as well as touched and inspired. Mostly my characters can be observed while they pursue, in a sometimes absolutely absurd way, their personal happiness and luck.
Was it easier to direct and finance your second feature?
It was definitely easier. I had proven to be trustworthy, people liked my first film, so they thought this new project could not be a complete failure. A lot of the support I got was owed to my first feature film.
What directors and films have inspired you?
My favourite films range from Anders Thomas Jensen's Adam's Apples [trailer, film focus], the unforgettable Opening Night by Cassavetes , the series "Six Feet Under" and "Dexter" as well as Billy Wilder's Irma la douce and Some Like It Hot, to Iñárritu's Babel and 21 Grams, which I both adore!
Are you working on a new project? Yes, on several projects for the television and the cinema, two of which involve my According to the Plan actresses : one is with Christine Schorn (who played the mother) and one with Dagmar Manzel (cast as the singer). All the ladies in According to the Plan have won awards for their performances – which makes me happy for them! With the new projects I am preparing at the moment I try to stay as versatile as possible; I enjoy working on different genres, outlooks and problems.
How do you feel about your selection for "Variety Critics' Choice: Europe Now!" at Karlovy Vary? Do you see your cinema as distinguishably European?
I am very happy to be allowed to take part in this event! Many years ago, Christine Schorn won a prize in Karlovy Vary for her outstanding performance in Die Unberührbare, so I am proud to bring her back on the screens of this wonderful festival!
Concerning the second part of your question, yes, I guess the film tells its origin, Europe, and even more specifically, it is typically German : only the Germans try to plan everything, even parties, into the last stiff unrelaxed detail...