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AMNESIA Director Barbet Schroeder

DIRECTOR'S PROFILE | Starts July 21, 2017

DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY 

An Iranian born film director and producer Barbet Schroeder started his career in French cinema in the 1960s, collaborating with Nouvelle Vague and master directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette. From 1958 to 1963, he took part in Cahiers du Cinéma and Air de Paris, and in 1963 he established the production company Les Films du Losange. During the 1990s, he started directing big budget Hollywood films in which he often combined family dramas with the thriller and action genres, such as BARFLY, REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, and SINGLE WHITE FEMALE. Schroeder also recently directed an episode of the television series “Mad Men” and over the years has appeared as an actor in several films, most notably in Jacques Rivette’s CELINE ET JULIE VONT EN BATEAU (CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING, 1974); as a Porsche driver in BEVERLY HILLS COP III (1994); as the president of France in MARS ATTACKS (1996); as a hair products salesman in PARIS, JE T’AIME (2006); and as the mechanic in THE DARJEELING LIMITED (2007). He lives in France and is married to actress Bulle Ogier.

Filmography (Director)

 AMNESIA (2015)

 MAD MEN; Season 3, Episode 12 (2009)

 INJU: THE BEAST IN THE SHADOW (2008)

 DEVIL’S ADVOCATE (2007)

 MURDER BY NUMBERS (2002)

 OUR LADY OF THE ASSASSINS (LA VIRGEN DE LOS SICARIOS, 2001)

 DESPERATE MEASURES (1997)

 BEFORE AND AFTER (1995)

 KISS OF DEATH (1994)

 SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1992)

 REVERSAL OF FORTUNE (1990)

 BARFLY (1987)

 CHEATERS (1984)

 THE CHALES BUKOWSKI TAPES (1982-1985)

 KOKO, A TALKING GORILLA (KOKO, LE GORILLE QUI PARLE, 1987)

 MAITRESSE (1975)

 GENERAL IDI AMIN DADA : AUTOPORTRAIT (1974)

 THE VALLEY, OBSCURED BY CLOUDS (LA VALLEE, 1972)

 MORE (1969)

 

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – The Making of AMNESIA:

“To get the best performances possible and never miss a moment from a ‘magic take’ I used two or three cameras crossing each other. It was something new that I had wanted to explore when making the very first feature film shot in HD Video in 1999, OUR LADY OF THE ASSASSINS with the cameras still shooting at 30 frames per second. Subsequently with Luciano Tovoli we employed three cameras shooting technique in 2001 in Hollywood for MURDER BY NUMBERS, and then on all our other movies after that until AMNESIA, which is out eighth collaboration. Luciano managed to find solutions, without ever sacrificing the quality of the image, to the seemingly insurmountable problems of light that that kind of set up creates. But by using this system it meant every actor in every scene was always looking and reacting to the other in front of one of the cameras, so we could not miss any "magic moment." In 2014, fifteen years after OUR LADY OF THE ASSASSINS, 35mm is more or less history, but I found myself again exploring things that were even more revolutionary than the beginning of HD video. AMNESIA is the first European film shot in 6K. This is so exciting not because of the quality of the image—6K provides three times more image definition than 35mm—but rather for the unlimited editing possibilities 6K allows within the image itself. So I had the pleasure and exhilaration of discovering and exploring anew the most modern possibilities in cinema. This shooting system was essential for being able to capture many of the situations in AMNESIA that were often full of subtle reactions unsaid between the characters.

Night lighting: With Tovoli we refused the easy use of "pretty" candlelight for interior night scenes. Instead we took great care to ‘glorify’ otherwise ordinary petrol lamps that were much harder to use as a source of lighting, less impressive on the screen but truer to Martha’s frugal way of living. HDR (High Dynamic Range): Two years ago this technology would have been unthinkable for movies. For the first time in cinema HDR allows you to combine two different exposures in the same shot: one for the interior light and another for the exterior light, which of course is ideal when you are working in a place like Ibiza that has such great contrasts in light.

A nineties period film: For reasons that are too long to go into, I have always refused to make period movies, or going any furtherthan twenty years back in time. That’s what I did on REVERSAL OF FORTUNE. In AMNESIA, it was even simpler. The action happens in an isolated location and the house has changed very little over the years. We decided not to get bogged down in period details and concentrate instead on bringing out only the key historical elements for the story: the fall of the Berlin Wall, German reunification, the emergence of a new style of music. Our aesthetic choices related to the period were generally limited to a dozen or so car models, the electronic music equipment of the time and the big battery-operated cassette player.

Set: In the austere and beautiful context of the house, the strategic placement of certain items in full-view—the orange gas canister, the brightly-colored fly swatter, the white plastic bag on the wall—allowed us, as with the choice against candlelight, to protect ourselves from creating an overly-aestheticized décor. Instead, we let in traces of daily life, both authentic and surprising.”