Thursday, 13 September 2012

Marina Anna Eich - a thirstyrabbit interview

For someone regarded as one of Germany's most beautiful actresses, Marina Anna Eich isn't as widely known outside her home country as she perhaps should. She works predominantly in independent films, and apart from her acting talents, she is a producer at maverick director Roland Reber's film company, WTP International, and also its PR Manager, in charge of production and marketing. In an exclusive interview with this blog, Ms. Eich shares some of her thoughts on her latest film "Die Wahrheit der Lüge(The Truth of Lie), her work, and attitude to life.


An interview with Marina Anna Eich

Marina Ann Eich
Photograph © Catherina Hess


Let me congratulate you on another fine performance Marina. You had a nasty accident just before this film's production. I do hope the finger is now fully healed and well-set. It must have however been quite uncomfortable during the shoot - did this hamper you in any way?

My accident was in April 2011. The shooting began in August. The healing went very fine and while acting I almost didn’t notice that I was handicapped with a shorter finger. Fortunately there was not much pain to distract me. I was lucky as it could have been much worse.


"The Truth of Lie" - an intriguing title. How did you see this film as an artist?

All our films have different levels. For me, this movie can be interpreted in many ways. For example: Both of the prisoners stand for two human opposites. The publisher symbolizes destiny, who is testing all of them, intervening with advice in a tough and ruthless but supporting way, and holding the reins. The author is a mix and stands between both of them, as a kind of mediator who wants to help the two prisoners in a special way, e.g. learning to see behind words, telling the truth. But he too is being tested by destiny.
The film also is about being inconsiderate and not thinking about consequences. The women are acting without considering the consequences as they simply agree to the experiment without thinking of the outcome. The writer is inconsiderate as he neither has prepared himself, nor the experiment: he doesn't know what “reaching the top” actually means. Only the publisher isn't inconsiderate. There are some more levels but we want the viewers to find out for themselves and interpret in their way. Even I myself haven’t seen all the levels that exists in the film.


I could find similarities - at least in the usage of BDSM elements, between this film and Reber's earlier "The Dark Side of Our Inner Space", one in which you again were closely involved. Not many films delve into the world of BDSM - at least not since the 1970's in any case. Is this a key area of interest for WTP, or perhaps a prudent approach to fill an existing void?

I wouldn’t say it is our key area. All our films tell different stories, but surely deal with the big questions of humanity. It depends on the story and subjects we want to tell. Yes, Sexuality is one of the fields which we showed in “24/7 the Passion of Life” and “Angels with dirty wings”. As for me I don’t think about BDSM elements in “The Truth of Lie”. Especially the torture scenes - they're more an attempt of the author to bring the two women over their limits, to make them feel helpless, to disrobe them mentally and physically. It is not a mutual agreement (really dealing with the person and action they do together, as you can find in the BDSM-scene).


This film also depicts practices like water-boarding, a taboo after Guantanamo. Do these scenes have a political subtext?

All WTP films are team work. Roland considers all involved as artists who define their role themselves. He leaves a lot of space for us to bring in our own ideas. Not just the actors, all other aspects like camera, light, set-design, etc., as well. This creates a great atmosphere during the whole film process and everyone see themselves as a big part of the film.
As for the torture scenes it was up to the actors to make ideas and to develop them. Lots of them are archetypal symbols, they show primal fears. Especially the water-boarding scene, which was my personal borderline experience. Because of the gag reflex one psychologically gets the impression of drowning immediately, in no more than a few seconds. I wouldn’t have thought that the fear of death would come so quickly. Now I can understand why this kind of torture leads to the desired result in less than a minute.


Unlike WTP's earlier projects, this film is centred around a male protagonist, even if it is to offer a critique. Was the characterisation and screenplay preconceived or did it evolve during the film's production?

The first idea was to take the story of an earlier theatre play by Roland. Roland, Mira, Antje, Christoph and I sat down together and made some brainstorming. Everyone added their ideas which Roland wrote afterwards into the final script. So only the basic storyline of the play - a man holding two women hostage, remained. During the shoot, additional ideas came (some spontaneous) which we incorporated into the film.


I couldn't help noticing the unusually long scenes of nudity in the final cut, particularly from yourself. Is it because you are now more comfortable acting with your body than before, was it because you were more at ease with the crew, or was it all purely Ms. Gittner's editorial decision?

As far as nudity is concerned I have always been comfortable with nude scenes. For me nudity is something very natural. It all depends on the reason for a nude scene. Both of the imprisoned women live through different tortures, naked, so that the author, he feels, could lead them to the top. But nudity is not related to sexuality here. In “The Truth of Lie” for me it is a symbol of purity, an expression of clarity. Being tortured naked is more mortifying, one feels even more helpless.
As far as the cutting is concerned it is the creativity of Mira. She is completely free in the editing process. From time to time the inner circle of WTP (Roland, Mira, Antje and me) sit together to watch the film's development, making proposals here and there, but the composition of music (which is an important element in our films), the rhythm of the film and the length of the scenes is Mira's creation.


Playing a victim and the protagonist's subject, this is also your most serious and least glamorous role to date. Do you see yourself as an actress ready to take on even more challenging character-roles?

Every role has something special within. And I am very happy that in each of our films I have played different characters. This role was indeed my most challenging one. The character is very calm and steady and tries to act in a considered way, in a very difficult situation, of which the outcome is uncertain and which could end up in death at any time. A character which isn’t at all corresponding to mine. In such a life threatening situation I would rather slip into hysteria. I am very curious as to which character I will perform in our next film.


Tell us a bit about audience reactions to the film during the recent festivals.

After having premiered at the renowned “International Hof Film Festival”, we accompanied “The Truth of Lie” through Germany on our Cinema Tour. The reactions were differing and we had very interesting discussions.
For some it was very cruel (one lady even said why it had to be necessary that the film only consists of torture scenes – but if you count those scenes you’ll be surprised how few they were compared to the whole film). Some said the film is quite tame and they would have liked it crueler. Many people thanked us for giving them something to think about their life. Another spectator compared the cellar to his head, the two women and the author inside, the chains symbolising the chains of society, family…


Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we next expect from the WTP stable?

We have many subjects we would like to make a film about, but which of these will be the next is not clear yet. This much is certain - next year there will be a new WTP film.


Is there a message you'd like to convey to your adoring fans in this blog (trust me - there are a few)?

I am happy to hear that our films get attention through your blog.

People see several messages through our films, so if you enjoy them please recommend them. I would also like to quote from our film “24/7 the Passion of Life”: “Society likes to have standardised people. They obey more easily. But can emotions be standardised? Who puts forward these norms? Who standardises us? Who is living our life? Most people just exist, but they are not the living. Live YOUR life!”
I also like the following sentence: "If you want to change something in your life don’t just talk about it, do something about it."



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