You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rachel Lang Readies Debut ‘Baden Baden’

Young French helmer surprised with graduation short at Locarno

Strasbourg-born Rachel Lang’s graduation short “Pour toi je ferai bataille” (“For You I Will Fight”) conquered a Silver Leopard at Locarno in 2011. Now, her feature debut is ready for delivery. Produced by France’s ChevalDeuxTrois and Belgium’s Tarantula, the dramedic coming-of-ager “Baden Baden” follows 26-year-old Ana who, after finishing a job as a runner on a Belgium shoot, take a sudden decision: To travel to look after her grandmother, who has just broken the hip. As she cares for her, an old love re-blossoms. “Baden” is supported by the CNC French film board and Cine Plus, the movie bouquet of Gallic pay-TV giant Canal Plus.

Taking in “I Will Fight For You,” medium-feature “White Turnips Make It Hard to Sleep,” “Baden,” bowing in France this March, concludes a trilogy. Etienne Ollagnier and Sarah Chazelle’s Jour2Fête handles international sales.

“Baden Baden” is your first feature and also the end of a trilogy comprising two previous shorter movies. Is “Baden Baden” a conclusion, or just a continuation…?

Yes, Baden Baden is the end of a cycle. I think I’m done with the character of Ana. The three movies deal with the passage into the adulthood, and I believe that my first feature opens enough perspectives for muy character to take flight. High time for Ana to pass into adulthood.

You have worked with the same actress (Salomé Richard) since 2010 (“For You…”). Could you sum up this journey, Ana’s story?

In “Fight,” Ana had chosen to become a docile body, a soldier among others, joining the army so as to not think any more and forget herself. She found in discipline and in the group a crutch for existence. In “Turnips,” she had found an excuse for her insomnia: Turnips’ Vitamin C. Ana was in search of rational explanations for her existential confusion. In “Baden Baden,” Ana is not either in the flight, or in the search of miracle solutions to her troubles. She tries to build concretely and with others. Via the plumbing and the stone floor, she tries to embody, to find a structure for her shambolic life.

Have you experienced a similar journey?

Of course, every movie is an immense adventure of initiation, every experience of writing, of shooting and editing is a prototype. But you have to launch out into the unknown, to always be researching, experimenting. That is beautiful.

How have you changed as a storyteller since your first steps?

Every movie is always partially an answer to the former one. “Fight” was a tougher subject and a rather serious tone. I broke with that in “Turnips.” With “Baden Baden,” the tone evolved towards the comedy. This change of register corresponds as well to the distance I established little by little with my heroine.

Did you get this trilogy idea at the beginning or it was something that grew with the project? It also echoes somewhat Jean.-Pierre Leaud’s cooperation with Francois Truffaut …..

I sketched out the guidelines of the three movies six years ago, before having written or done any of them. They were born at the same time, then developed in different timelines.  With hindsight, I can see certain links with Truffaut’s films, but for me the six years taken for the production of the three movies has had to do more with the phases of cinema: Writing, financing, shooting, post-production.

Do you have a new project? What’s the kind of cinema you’re interested in?

Besides being a filmmaker, I’m an officer in the French army. My next project will deal with one of its elite corps – the Foreign Legion– and will turn on this notion of commitment, rootlessness and insularity, in a couple and in the family. It will doubtless be more an action movie than a comedy! Today, the cinema I am interested on takes multiple forms. I admire so many film directors and TV series writers: David Fincher for “House of Cards” or David Simon for “Generation Kill”. Of course I was inspired by  European art-house cinema and personalities such as Maurice Pialat, Ingmar Bergman, Arnaud Desplechin and  Claire Denis. I also feel close links with directors of my generation like Celine Sciamma, Justine Triet, Thomas Cailley and Clément Cogitore.

More Film

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • berlin film festival placeholder berlinale

    Berlin Film Festival 2019 Award Winners: Complete List

    The 69th Berlin Film Festival kicked off on Saturday, with 16 films vying for the Golden and Silver Bears, among them such critically acclaimed entries as Wang Xiaoshuai’s Chinese drama “So Long, My Son” and “By the Grace of God” by François Ozon. Juliette Binoche served as Jury President, with other members of the jury [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel,' 'Lego Movie 2' to Lead President's Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” is holding a slim lead ahead of “Lego Movie 2’s” second frame with an estimated four-day take of $29.1 million from 3,790 North American locations. “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” meanwhile, is heading for about $25 million for a domestic tally of around $66 million. The two films lead the pack [...]

  • Marianne Rendon, Matt Smith, Ondi Timoner

    Robert Mapplethorpe Biopic Team Talks 'Fast and Furious' Filming

    Thursday night’s New York premiere of the Matt Smith-led biopic “Mapplethorpe” took place at Cinépolis Chelsea, just steps from the Chelsea Hotel where the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe once lived — but director Ondi Timoner had no sense of that legacy when she first encountered him in a very different context. “When I was ten [...]

  • Bruno GanzSwiss Film Award in Geneva,

    Bruno Ganz, Star of 'Downfall' and 'Wings of Desire,' Dies at 77

    Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor best known for dramatizing Adolf Hitler’s final days in 2004’s “Downfall,” has died. He was 77. Ganz died at his home in Zurich on Friday, his representatives told media outlets. The cause of death was reportedly colon cancer. In addition to delivering one of the definitive cinematic portrayals of Hitler, [...]

  • Steve Bannon appears in The Brink

    Sundance Film Review: Stephen K. Bannon in 'The Brink'

    Stephen K. Bannon drinks Kombucha (who knew?), the fermented tea beverage for health fanatics that tastes like…well, if they ever invented a soft drink called Germs, that’s what Kombucha tastes like. In “The Brink,” Alison Klayman’s fly-on-the-wall, rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-a-white-nationalist documentary, Bannon explains that he likes Kombucha because it gives him a lift; he drinks it for [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content