News from the Locarno Festival
 

Sandra Nettelbeck

Sandra Nettelbeck

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© Alessio Pizzicannella

How does it feel to come back to the Piazza Grande, where you presented Bella Martha in 2001?

I am really enthusiastic, but also very nervous. The screening of Bella Martha was for me like an adventure that was never repeated. I hope the audience will like my new film.

As in Bella Martha, Mr. Morgan's Last Love is rather bittersweet. Do you feel more at ease in this genre?

The protagonists of my films are all very similar. Often they feel very lonely at the beginning, and as the story unfolds they sort of re-embrace life. I like to ask the question: can love save? And then there's a connection with the subject of family ties: I try to show what makes a family. I don't believe it's just blood ties: a family is made of the people we want to stay with.

And here a family is confronted with the tough task of working through bereavement.

The film is dedicated to my father, who passed away in 2007. This played a big role during the writing of Mr. Morgan, where I deal with how you keep on living after losing someone. My father was very close to me, and I always discussed my work with him. I wish I could have shown him this film.

The protagonist is a foreigner in Paris, an element that was not present in the novel on which the film is based. Why this choice?

I am German but I lived in many places, for example America is like a second home for me. In France, though, I always felt like a foreigner and I never really learned the language. I have tried to develop this sense of being an 'alien' through the character of Mr. Morgan.

We can't help but ask what it was like to work with a Giant of Cinema like Sir Michael Caine.

I had written the screenplay thinking of him, without knowing if he would have accepted the role or not. I was ecstatic when he said yes: he's a genius of an actor, and also very generous towards his colleagues and me, even if I felt in awe when I had to ask him to repeat a scene. Instead, he welcomed me with open arms. He told me many anecdotes about his past, for example about his work with John Huston, and listening to him was very precious. In the film I talk about differences in age, and knowing Caine confirmed me how important it is to talk to older people – without them life would be more boring.

Sara Groisman
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