© Piffl Medien GmbH

Germany 2017

Opening 2 Nov 2017

Directed by: Nicolas Wackerbarth
Writing credits: Nicolas Wackerbarth, Hannes Held
Principal actors: Toby Ashraf, Milena Dreißig, Judith Engel, Stephan Grossmann, Tim Kalkhof

Director Vera (Engel) plans a remake of an old Rainer Werner Fassbinder film, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, which is based on Fassbinder’s play of the same name. Time is running out, and Vera is searching for an actress to play the leading role. One candidate after another comes in to speak for the part (therefore the title: Casting). As these are not solo parts, someone must sit close by and speak the return dialog in order to keep the scene moving. This “someone” is a young man named Gerwin (Andreas Lust). Hour by hour he interacts with these high-flying actresses. Although Gerwin is just a simple reader of script, he slowly believes that he, too, is an actor with realistic chances in the world of drama.

Nicolas Wackerbarth, director of Casting, said that there was much free improvisation. Since he truly was working with well-known actresses, many of whom we might have seen on German television, he was confident that they would have much to offer. He and his co-writer Hannes Held sketched out descriptions of the scenes, but allowed the candidates to make up their own text, which was often a surprise to others in the cast. The reaction was sometimes humorous, sometimes tearful.  Wacherbarth said, “It was interesting to see the joy, fear, and hierarchy reflected in great or small gestures when one candidate passed the baton on to the next one.”

This is not a film for a night of casual enjoyment. I was forced to ask myself “What is this all about?” Naturally, viewers familiar with the world of film-making and theater will find appropriate answers more quickly and appreciate the efforts made here. It premiered at the 2017 Berlinale in the Forum section. (Becky Tan)

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