Luise Donschen’s highly inventive feature debut explores the nature of seduction and desire through a series of surprising and irreverent tableaux (captured on rich 16mm by cinematographer Helena Wittmann) that combine fiction, documentary, interview and performance. Moving from a portrait of a dominatrix and her clients; to a biological investigation into the mating habits of finches; via an unlikely encounter with John Malkovich (in character as Casanova himself) and some strange scenes in a singles bar straight out of a Fassbinder film, Donschen’s free-form essay on the rules of attraction explores the complexities of gender, identity, and sexuality with humour, intelligence and wit.
21,3°c | Helena Wittmann | 2014 | Germany | 16’
A window. An opposite window facade. A room. Flowers. Luise and a phone call. An action scene. A construction site. A musician. The room temperature is 21,3°C.
The image of a room, its appearance changing with the shades of light. A window front, seen through the window. Changing flower arrangements on a side table. Sounds, entering the room from outside the frame. A construction site hints at changes in the exterior. Rehearsals. Are the sound waves of the piano reaching us from downstairs or from next door? In 21.3°C Helena Wittmann reduces the filmic elements to the essentials: light, shadow, sound, direction. Out of this minimum, stories emerge that linger, atmospheres that resonate. Little by little the viewer is thrown back upon herself/himself. Through the facing window front someone seems to look back at us. Only the temperature remains the same.
OFF | Helena Wittmann, Luise Donschen | 2018 | Germany | 12’
The OFF is the space of the invisible. It is a promise. On its border with the concrete of the image, tension or great disappointment can arise. It can be understood as an invitation to the viewer. The picture foreshadows it and the sound is its ambassador.
+ Q&A with sound designer Nika Breithaupt. UK Premiere.
Supported by the Goethe-Institut.
“Nominated for the Open City Award.
Luise Donschen was born in Berlin in 1982. She studied Anthropology, German Philology and Film in Hamburg and Belgrade. She graduated in 2012 from the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. Her graduation film Give me Back my Own Picture Perfect Memory! was screened at film festivals internationally. Casanova Gene is her debut feature length, and was selected for Berlinale Forum, Art of the Real and Visions du Reel.”