Don't Look at Me That Way

Not available for screening anymore

Don't Look at Me That Way (Schau mich nicht so an)

Directed by Uisenma Borchu

  • Germany, Mongolia 2015; 88 min
  • Original version: Mongolian, German
  • Genre: Drama
    • FIPRESCI Award - Munich IFF
    • Grand Prize - Taipei FF

Synopsis

Hedi is the new neighbour of Iva, who raises her daughter Sophia by herself. The two women start a relationship and Iva is desperately in love with Hedi. Suddenly Iva’s father appears. Hedi feels strongly attracted to him. It seems that only one world exists for Hedi. Her own.

Director's Statement

At a certain point while I was writing the script, it became clear that I would be playing Iva’s counterpart Hedi and I realized the radical force within the film. I continued writing with mounting excitement. My characters have an unconscious inner desire for alienation.

Catrina and I have been friends for a long time, but when I asked her whether she would take on the role it was as if we were meeting for the first time. For us as non actors this was an advantage, as it meant we could explore the roles from fresh perspectives. I wanted to protect the naturalness by improvised dialogs, and the small and intimate team meant that I had a lot of freedom. I was sometimes nervous about my dual role on both sides of the camera, but acting myself was ideal and allowed me to intervene directly in the scenes.

While I was still looking for the “grandfather” character, I happened to be in the cinema at Michael Haneke’s CODE UNKNOWN - and I was gripped by the certainty that no other actor than Josef Bierbichler would be right for the role. Bierbichler is the only professional actor in the film. The idea of bringing non actors and professional actors together has always been a powerful one that generates a tangible, palpable freshness, and I am happy that Bierbichler brought his own personal style to his development of the idea in the film.

I rejected rules and conventions from the outset; this brought considerable opposition from the establishment, but that was no reason for me to give up. I was utterly convinced of my urge to make this film and leave those barriers behind me to arrive at the essence of the film.

I have lived between two cultures since I was five years old. Mongolia in the holidays, then back to Germany. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it was particularly difficult to combine these worlds, neither of which knew about the other, and the stark contrasts numbed me to my core. This situation drove me to permanently reflect about people, their roles and identities. In my previous films I have examined women, their forms of upbringing and their intimacies; however, I have now taken another route with this drama and attempted to visualize what it means to be female by using my own thoughts, questioning the identity of the person that is made into a woman – whether the process takes place in the character of Hedi or Iva. Two characters full of contrasts, seeking, finding and destroying.

The film adopts the element of contrast to tell the story. It was vital for me to have this element in the film – it is something I have a deep and permanent need for.

Production

  • DREIFILM

    Martin Kosok