Berlinale Silver Bear winner Angela Schanelec is prepping her latest feature film, the follow-up to “I Was At Home, But…,” which earned her best director honors at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. The new project, “Music,” will be pitched next month at the Locarno Film Festival.
“Music” is a modern-day retelling of the Oedipus myth, about a boy who grows up with his step-parents in Greece and, at the age of 20, unwittingly kills his own father. While serving the prison sentence for his crime he falls in love and has a child with a woman who turns out to be his mother. The story picks up 20 years later in London, where the man is now living with his daughter and beginning to lose his eyesight.
The film explores the lives of characters who are not only at the mercy of their desires, but of themselves, said Schanelec. “What is crucial for me is to have viewers understand that no other course of action was possible,” she said. “It is unforeseeable how long these characters can tolerate their own actions. It might only be for a while and they will then die as a result of them. That does not change the fact that they were very happy at times.”
The Berlin School auteur said she believes that “suffering lies at the source of all immoral action. There is such a thing as a good life amidst the bad.”
“Music” is currently in development, and will be produced by Germany’s faktura film and co-produced by France’s Les Films de L’Apres-Midi. The project has received a grant from the German-French CNC/FFA development fund.
Faktura’s Kirill Krasovski said he has been a long-time admirer of Schanelec’s, since the pair attended the same film school in Berlin in the 1990s. He described “Music” as a mixture of the cinematic elements that first attracted him to the director’s work. “It’s still Angela’s style in writing dialogues, exploring the characters, using narrative gaps, time jumps,” he said. “But I think with this project Angela will do a quite surprising turn using music. And on the other hand, you have this deepness: the Greek tragedy, the Oedipus myth, existential and moral questions.”
The film’s prospects will be buoyed by the Berlin triumph of “I Was At Home, But…,” which Variety described as a “tranquil brainteaser” that would reward audiences with “Schanelec’s signature virtues: vignettes of piercing human truth and cool, cockeyed humor; gorgeous first-chill-of-autumn atmospherics; and a seductively restful pace at which to puzzle it all out.”
Schanelec, Krasovski and Francois D’Artemare, of Les Films de L’Apres-Midi, will be pitching “Music” at the Locarno Film Festival as part of Alliance for Development, an initiative created by the festival to foster the development of film projects between Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland. Principal photography is planned for fall 2020.