Mrs Keller, in Amnesia you play a character with two completely different sides: Martha is a very quiet, and settled woman on the surface, but in her inner life she’s struggling with her rage. How did you work on this double level?
She’s so stubborn, she’s like a pitbull, she doesn’t let it go. If she would live in the city she probably would speak again German. Living alone in the island helps her keeping this madness with her. She holds on her rage so strongly, she refuses her heritage and little by little this becomes an obsession, a motivation for life.
Which kind of director is Barbet Schroeder?
Barbet is so quiet and open. He prepares enormously, he’s the opposite to me, he’s scrupulous. The movie is based on her mother’s story. He keeps everything under control, I’m more: “Let’s see what happens.” I didn’t do too many researches because I knew this story: my father was German and he left Germany before Hitler came to power, it was something very similar. He was not jewish, he left because he knew he was not good for my country. He told me to be always ready to leave. To have always my passport with me. It’s more important that money, the passport. And I leave all the time, whenever there’s a problem, because I don’t like to discuss, I’m gone. Men, work, life, everything. I can’t talk, I hate conflicts. My character doesn’t want to suffer, she’s a little bit selfish, and I understand this side of her. I’m very friend with myself, I feel alone only when I’m around people I don’t appreciate. I understand her will to live alone. I like this character even if I don’t agree with her being so stubborn.
Do you agree with her will to forget the past?
No, I think I couldn’t do that myself. Germany changed, the young kids are not really responsible, and they don’t want to forget. I’m very much for that: I don’t know if we should forgive, but definitely not forget. I could never choose not to speak German. I love too much German language on stage. I love German music so much, Brahms. Going home at a certain age is beautiful. When you’re young you want to leave, but then you want to come back, to go home.
Last question is about you great career. Who are the best directors and actors you worked with?
I was very lucky working with the greatest. Billy Wilder, Clint Eastwood, Marlon Brando, John Gielgud, George C. Scott. In America they offered me other roles but they were all about terrorism and genre, it wasn’t interesting anymore. Movie changed, now they are for kids, not for me. A few days Al Pacino said to me that The Marathon Man we did together, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico or Scarface today would be independent movies. I think this is very sad. I have no frustration that I moved back.Adriano Ercolani