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PENTAMAGICA

a film by Roland Reber
Germany 2003, satirical comedy, 103 min, rated 16

  • „It’s funny, witty, charming. A definite „feel good film“. (Gordon Weaver, Filmpublizist)
  • „„Exploring Inner Chaos Through The Paranormal.“ (Hindustan Times)
  • „ … The director sets out to portray a bizarre world of magic and spells. Everything in the film is strange: the dialogue, each woman’s life and the abrupt cutting of the montage. Reber wants to accentuate the absurdity of the world we are living in.” (The Egyptian Gazette)

since 27th of april 2007 available on DVD (in German)

with Mira Gittner, Marina Anna Eich, Wilbur the pig, Claire Plaut, Ute Meisenheimer, Patricia Koch, Ingrit Gabriel, Manfred Gebauer

camera: Mira Gittner, Roland Reber
editing: Mira Gittner
music: Wolfgang Edelmayer
producer: Marina Anna Eich, Ute Meisenheimer
script and director: Roland Reber
production, sales & distribution: wtp international GmbH

„Everything you never wanted to know about Magic”

A satirical comedy about the absurdity of the world we are living in.

Christiane Raetsch (Mira Gittner) and Sandra Wolf (Marina Anna Eich) write a book about the “world of magic”. At an esoteric summer workshop, they meet three other women and decide to work together on the project, with each woman delving into a special area: shamanism, witchcraft, ritual magic, sexual magic, geomancy. They all try to influence reality through magical rituals and to handle their lives with esoteric practices. Christiane, the shaman, tries to find answers with psycho active drugs in the mist of other dimensions. Sandra, the witch, is searching for the man of her life, but the tarot cards always say “no” to the men she meets.
A crazy comedy which spares no aspect of the “magical sciences”. A mean side blow to all hobby esoterics, who go to a workshop on the weekend and explain the world on the next day. But Magic always goes its own ways.

 

The young generation has forgotten the basics of life, they got lost in the fun and entertainment jungle of the so called developed civilisation. They lost their roots and their way and are following on the now fashionable obsession with spiritualism and magic. They read a book and pretend to teach it tomorrow, without a single sense of its meaning. They are not interested in answers, they even have no questions. They just practice spiritualism because it is ‘in’. They practice everything with a certain amount of seriousness, but the deeper sense remains hidden to them.

PENTAMAGICA is the second part of Roland Reber’s Trilogy about the quest of the human for himself and was awarded for best editing in Thessaloniki 2003.

Since 27th of april 2007 all three films are available on DVD in Germany (in a 3/1 Roland Reber Box or separately – in German language).

“The best way is the individual one. Each filmmaker should go his own way. We realise the films with a low budget, so that we can produce them ourselves and like this we always have the authority of what we are doing. We also use our own equipment and do the editing by ourselves. In brief we are a totally independent unity. And this gives us the freedom to be creative. If we have an idea, all we need is a camera, light and sound. We shoot digitally and then blow up on 35mm later. This gives us the freedom to try out things. Meanwhile most filmmakers in Germany are more like bankers – without any philosophical or aesthetical motivation. They make trimmed films, which are mainly decided by the financiers, who are depending on the demand of the market constraints. If we continue to let ourselves be dominated by the agents of the financiers, there will only be ready-made films. The filmmakers should take over the responsibility for their films again. With our films I hope to encourage to see creative adventures as a way again. Encourage to develop films which are not designed in an office but emerge out of the creativity of filmmakers. Cinema should become a voice again. A voice for those who do not have one. A voice which asks the society questions. Answers are not as important. Answers should be the result of reflections which develop individually within the heads of the viewers. Each viewer should be willing to think and to find his own interpretation… or at least to look for it. It is about dealing with oneself. The films are only the initiation. I consider my cinema as an adventure of the own mind, that provokes thinking. Should we accept everything without questioning?”

SPECIAL WORKING METHOD

teamwork – literally

This film is the result of teamwork. At the beginning of the shooting there was only the mostly opened  basic idea. The characters and the basic structure of the story was developed together with the actors during the ongoing shooting. The Director and author Roland Reber then wrote several scenes, which were  realised straight away or within the next days. There was no improvisation. Like this the film was built piece by piece.

Through discussion and treatment with the subject, everyone approached the core of the later realised form. Everything, also camera and lighting and later editing and music, arose from the creative energy of the team. Each participant could bring in his own creativity and ideas. There was no rigid adherence to a primary concept, but a permanent re-definition and flexibility of the approach. The constant questioning of already developed ideas was as important as spontaneous innovations.

CAST

CHRISTIANE RÄTSCH                      Mira Gittner
SANDRA WOLF                                   Marina Anna Eich
HILDESWIN                                        Wilbur the Pig
ALICIA KRÄHLEIN                           Ute Meisenheimer
RITA STEINER                                    Claire Plaut 
PETRA KAROLL                                 Patricia Koch 

CLAIRE                                                 Ingrit Gabriel
MANN                                                   Manfred Gebauer
SCHLUCKENDER HAST                  Manfred Eich
VODOO PRIESTER                             Kader Kone
KRAFTLIED                                          Bernd Gittner
ARZT                                                      Thomas Sesar

and as guest master Bernhard from Polynesia

CREW

director                                                      Roland Reber
script                                                          Roland Reber
producers                                                  Marina Anna Eich, Ute Meisenheimer
camera                                                      Roland Reber, Mira Gittner
editing/visual effects/animation          Mira Gittner
music                                                        Wolfgang Edelmayer
production                                                wtp international GmbH

year of production                                   2002/2003
time of production                                 July – Dec 2002
locations                                                 Bavaria, Austria, Egypt, Libanon, Australia, USA

AWARDS

SPECIAL AWARD for Montage  in Feature Films (5th Panorama of Int. Film, 2003, Thessaloniki, Greece)

FESTIVALS

Kalkutta Int. Filmfestival, India (section: Roland Reber Films) 2003
Cairo Int. Filmfestival, Egypt 2003
Int. Comedy Filmfestival, Istanbul, Turkey 2003
Panorama of Int. Film, Thessaloniki, Greece 2004
Dakha Int. Filmfestival, Bangladesh (section: „About Roland Reber“) 2004
Alexandria Internationales Filmfestival, Egypt 2004
Melbourne Underground Int. Filmfestival, Australia 2004
International Filmfestival of India, Goa 2009
Chennai International Filmfestival, India 2009

  • „Exploring Inner Chaos Through The Paranormal.“ (Hindustan Times, November 12 th  2003, von Pratik Ghosh)
  • „It’s funny, witty, charming … a definite „feel good film“. The actors, one and all, are beautiful, handsome and very talented. I believed they had a grand time making themovie and their sparkle and enthusiasm definitely shows on the screen. The direction is bright and crisp as is the writing.  (Gordon Weaver, film publicist, USA)
  • Reber, who first visited India 12 years ago, „looks to the future with fear“ because the new world order’s desire „for only fun and entertainment.“ …“ The post-Wall generation is not interested in culture, „they’re only interested in the shoes, T-shirts and food that’s ‚in’.“ They’ve forgotten the basics of life, and have lost their way. „Today, they don’t have answers, they don’t even have questions!“ The regret expresses itself in Pentamagica, the satirical comedy that tears down the „now fashionable obsession with spiritualism and magic.“ They like the sound of the word and behave like a swami „Shamanism, voodoo, drugs, witchcraft – they read a book today and pretend to teach it tomorrow, without a single sense of its meaning.“ Reber, 49, has no patience for this. „the first world creates problems, then looks to the third world for solutions.“ But, these are not serious involvement with spiritualism. „When you practice religion it’s from your heart. It can’t be because it’s ‚in’.“  (Times of India, November 14th  2003, R. Sengupta, Times News Network)
  • “It shows with black humour how the shaman is mixing up a few ingredients while brewing a magic beverage. And soon the five “bewitched” friends get in  hospital with symptoms of poisoning. “The comic of the movie is that the hobby magicians take their subject terribly seriously,“ says Roland Reber “every ritual is real, only the inattentiveness of the protagonists leads to wrong results” and therefore to laughter. The film is not criticising magic itself, but “people who go to a fire walk workshop on Saturday and define themselves as guru on Sunday” explains Reber…”  (Landsberger Tagblatt, 2002)
  • „ … The director sets out to portray a bizarre world of magic and spells. Everything in the film is strange: the dialogue, each woman’s life and the abrupt cutting of the montage. … The director wants to accentuate the absurdity of the world we are living in. The viewer quickly realizes that this is a special film. Everyone who is bored by traditional story-telling will enjoy himself. (The Egyptian Gazette, von Mahamoud Kassem, 3.12.2003, Egypt)
  • “Roland Reber: An institution in direction.” (Hindustan Times, complete article)
  • “Freedom to create.” (Times of India, complete article)
  • “The surprise package of this year’s selection.” (Times of India, Kolkata Film Festival, 2003, complete article)

INTERVIEW WITH ROLAND REBER (director / writer / camera)

You were wildly acclaimed in the theatre world. You wrote many plays in the past, acted and directed. What lead you to change into film?

Yes, I wrote theatre plays, was director, actor and teacher for acting in Germany and other countries. Amongst others I founded the Theatre Institute in Hamburg in 1981 and the World Theatre Project in 1989. An essential part of my former activities was to develop  intercultural aspects and innovative techniques for actors and directors. If I wanted to say something about a  specific theme, I wrote a play and realised it. However I realized at a certain point, that the stage had limiting boundaries, that should be crossed. Like this, I came to filmmaking, because cinema gives me more creative freedom. For me filmmaking is like talking, it is closer to myself. But like I do not understand myself entirely, neither do I understand my films entirely. Even if the films I make have a discernible handwriting, my style and the handling of the filmmaking depends on the respective theme and this can differ from one film to the other. That’s why the “dogma-films” originated in Denmark , with their fixed rules can never be my kind of filmmaking.

You have a totally new way of making and producing films. What does your working method look like?

The films are produced in team work. At the beginning there is an idea, which then is developed through all participants. The ideas come from everywhere – from the actors, the assistants, the technical crew or the producers, which most of the time are the same few persons, fulfilling several functions at the same time. Mira Gittner for example not only performed the main part in all three movies but was also personally responsible for the editing, sofor the composition of the film and shared the camera with me. Marina Anna Eich is not only performing main parts in front of the camera and co-producing, but is also responsible for the press and public relation work as well as for the sales and distribution of the films, etc…

At the beginning of the shootings, there are a few pages of script, based on an idea, a concept. It could begin with  a monologue, a dialogue or just a part of text, which is later enlarged, changed, and of which I then write the final version. However this thin script is developed together with the actors during the ongoing shooting. For example The Dark Side of the inner Space: in this case the location was the idea – an abandoned military base. During six weeks the actors, who were the crew at the same time, and I met every day in this barrack and through many discussions about all kind of things, the film developed day by day. I do not believe in telling stories in a narrative style, because our life is not wrote like a story with a preconceived structure and order. “Life is without text” is said in the room. It rather is multidimensional with abrupt transitions and all my films contain in some way the search for life, identity and the self.

You like to work again  with the same actors i.e  team and they seem to get involved in a very special way , which differs from the conventional acting.

The core of the crew consists more or less of the same people in front and behind the camera, similar to an ensemble theatre. My relationship to the actors is not the one of a tamer in a circus. I ask them to approach the role with their own definition. The actors try to link themselves to the roles of the film, by reflecting themselves and realizing the difference between role and person. For me acting starts to be moving as soon as it is personal and authentic and that works better, when the actors analyse their roles and are not mere henchmen of a tamer. Actors are individual artists for me and if I had an exact conception of the role at the beginning of the shooting I would not need actors, but marionettes who just fulfil my instructions. Everybody is taking part in the creative process.

Your films are a criticism of the German society. How is this accepted by your compatriots?

In general the German became decadent. They are far more interested in money and career than in questioning  the values of life. My films are an insight into the contemporary German culture. I touch the raw nerves of society by asking questions, and therefore my films can also be uncomfortable. Even if I can not give answers in the films, I make people aware of the issue.

Which is in your opinion the best way to become an independent filmmaker without the habitual pressure of the market?

The best way is the individual one. Each filmmaker should go his own way. We realise the films with a low budget, so that we can produce them ourselves and like this we always have the authority of what we are doing. We also use our own equipment and do the editing by ourselves. In brief we are a totally independent unity. And this gives us the freedom to be creative. If we have an idea, all we need is a camera, light and sound. We shoot digitally and then blow up on 35mm later. This gives us the freedom to try out things. Meanwhile most filmmakers in Germany are more like bankers – without any philosophical or aesthetical motivation. They make trimmed films, which are mainly decided by the financiers, who are depending on the demand of the market constraints. If we continue to let ourselves be dominated by the agents of the financiers, there will only be ready-made films. The filmmakers should take over the responsibility for their films again. With our films  I hope to encourage to see creative adventures as a way again. Encourage to develop films which are not designed in an office but emerge out of the creativity of filmmakers. Cinema should become a voice again. A voice for those who do not have one. A voice which asks the society questions. Answers are not as important. Answers should be the result of reflections which develop individually within the heads of the viewers. Each viewer should be willing to think and to find his own interpretation… or at least to look for it. It is about dealing with oneself. The films are only the initiation. I consider my  cinema  as an adventure of the own mind, that provokes thinking. Should we accept everything without questioning?

You won many awards with the room. Did that change anything for you?

It was great, because many people did not believe in us at the beginning.

How did this come? 

Mira Gittner sent video copies to festivals all over the world. When I became aware of it I made fun of her and told her it was senseless and that nobody would answer. But all of a sudden invitations came and everybody called us the “surprising filmmakers”.  We travelled from Hungary to Spain and had a lot of fun.

When did it turn serious?

When we needed someone to do  the public relations. We already had an invitation to the film Festival in Mexico and needed someone who likes public appearances: Marina Anna Eich. She liked that. Mira Gittner is very creative, but shy to public. So we were at the Film Festival  in Mexico and watched the Award ceremony relaxed, we never expected an award. And then they announced  “The President’s award for the best feature film : the room”. We took some time to realize we were meant.

Do you have idols?

No. There are many I like, but no one who influenced my work in any kind. This is a problem with many directors, they try to imitate  Hollywood or whoever and will never be more than a copy. I always prefer the original.

You refer to  the three Films  also as a trilogy. What is the common core?

All three films have the subject of the SEARCH in common, questions like: who are we or where do we come from? The first realised as a psycho-thriller, the second as a black comedy and the third as a drama.

Where lies the difference?

In the story which is respectively told. Each film stands on its own.

How did you get the idea to the room?

RR: the room  dues its realisation to a packing case. Many years ago, approximately in 1985, I wrote a short manuscript because of a bet,  with the basic story of the locked room. A friend editor told me it was impossible to write a story including suspense and eroticism in a very short time. This incited me and I wrote the manuscript in one night. I won that bet. Many years later this manuscript reappeared while archiving my texts and the film was made.

Why did you chose an English title for The Dark Side of our Inner Space?

In march 2003 the director of the Calcutta Film Festival told me that he wanted to make a Roland Reber Films section at his Festival in November. This special section of one director always includes three films though. Until then only the room and Pentamagica existed. “OK”, I said “you will be able to show three films in November, I promise.” Then he wanted to know the title and the plot of the third film. “It is about the hidden sides in us, about the Dark sides of our soul” I improvised spontaneously. And as this took place in English, the English title came out The Dark Side of our Inner Space. Now that the promise was made , we only had to develop, shoot and edit a film. We had a half year because in October the 35mm copy had to be in Calcutta. We did it. The dark Side of our Inner Space had its world premiere in November 2003 at the Calcutta International Film Festival.