Director looks at German film successes

BERLIN — German helmer Marc Rothemund (“Sophie Scholl”) delivered the Variety Militants Lecture on Saturday at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht.

He followed in the footsteps of Istvan Szabo, Peter Greenaway, Tom Tykwer and Paul Schrader, who have delivered the address on the state of international moviemaking at past editions of the event.

Rothemund’s lecture focused on the creative and commercial boom underway in the German film biz, which he ascribed to the number of excellent film schools in the country and its well-padded subsidy system.

He also noted that private equity investors have started to take an interest in German cinema, helping to ease pics into production.

Rothemund said these elements have helped to rebuild Teuton cinema culture, which was obliterated by the Nazi regime.

“The example of Germany shows that it takes two generations to rebuild a country and a film culture,” he said.

In order to make it easier for German films to compete with Hollywood pics, Rothemund suggested German distribbers should no longer dub U.S. films and use subtitles instead.

According to Rothemund, the Hollywood talent drain, which has seen German helmers such as Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall”) and most recently Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (“The Lives of Others”) emigrate to Los Angeles is a problem.

However, Rothemund himself decided to stay in Germany following his Oscar nomination for “Sophie Scholl” and direct German-language laffer “Pornorma — The Confession of the Nymphomaniac Seamstress Rita Needs It,” which will bow in Germany later this month.

“The scripts I received from the U.S. were even worse than the German ones, and as soon as you make any recommendation how you might improve a script you’re out of the game already,” Rothemund explained.

Nevertheless, he’s currently developing a U.S.-set film about civil rights activist Rosa Parks, which he described as the “American Sophie Scholl.”

“With me, serious drama and comedies are like Yin and Yang. I need both. If I was only allowed to make intense dramas like ‘Sophie Scholl,’ I’d change my profession immediately.”

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