INTERVIEW WITH ROLAND REBER (script and direction)
How did the idea for this film emerge?
The film is based on a stage play which I produced following my father’s death. It was in 1984. Many viewers thought there wasn’t anything like such an interactive entertainment show in which contestants would endure every humiliation for a few likes. Today these shows exist. A new addition is the great finale, the face of death, the next level of entertainment formats, so to speak.
Dealing with the subject of death
At a young age I worked as an ambulance driver and in the pathology department. I learned a very neutral way of dealing with death there. My father was a carpenter and the graveyard administrator, so I grew up with death. “My death is like a butterfly, constantly flying towards me.” – that’s the way life is. And that’s what you should use and enjoy, in good times and in bad, because all of this constitutes life. I used to enumerate a few things of which I thought my life would not be worth living without. Among them were walking, reading, talking, complete independence. I have lost all of that since my stroke. And I realized that, despite many limitations, my life still is very much worth living and I enjoy it to the fullest every day.
What do you see as the main topic of the film?
“The dignity of men is unimpeachable” – that is the central topic of the film for me, the respectful relation to yourself and to others. In life as well as in death. And it starts with language, inter alia. We treat words the same way we treat people. It has been a key subject for all my life, the careful use of words, that words can be used as a weapon, that we often use them thoughtlessly without considering the consequences. An this goes along with tolerance. To accept yourself the way you are and others the way they are. You don’t need to be in complete agreement, but you should pay respect to different views and not step on them.
You make your films without public funding. What is your mode of production?
The way we produce the films is independent. And for that the best way in my opinion is the individual one. Every filmmaker should follow his own path. We are creating films with low budget so we may produce them on our own and always maintain full authority over every aspect of our work. We use our own equipment and make everything ourselves, from production to post production right up to marketing. This way nobody can interfere and that is what gives us the freedom to be creative.
What will be your next project?
ROLAND REBER’S HOTEL OF LOST DREAMS
What do you want to tell the viewer?
What does the film say? I think, something different to everyone. Film has always been a personal opinion and a dialog with the viewer. And he is what is missing more and more in this age of communication. The dialogue is missing. You talk and talk, but you don’t say anything. We are living in a social situation heated up by the media and it’s about time that we find our way back to a real discourse so we can act better toward each other.
What about the shooting?
Very nice. This film really is an ensemble performance and I am very happy about that. Also positively exhausting. I always want to have the film ready for the Hof International Film Festival, so time is usually getting short. But I enjoyed the time very much and want to say thanks to everyone for taking an active part and for their willingness to communicate with me without the need for many words. And as I have never seen direction as a command headquarter but as a creation of atmospheres, all of it can be done without using many words. For me acting starts to get emotionally moving if it is personal and genuine, and an actor can manage it better if he puts his mind to the part he is playing in contrast to just being a vicarious agent of some godlike commander.