Heartland Interviews: MARC ROTHEMUND  

German filmmaker Marc Rothemund (born 1968) began his professional career as assistant director to Helmut Dietl (on Rossini), Bernd Eichinger (on Das Maedchen Rosemarie), Dominik Graf (on Sperling) and Gerard Corbiau (on Farinelli). In 1998, he obtained the Bavarian Film Prize for best young director for his first feature film, Love Scenes from Planet Earth. With 1.7 million admissions, his second feature, Harte Jungs (Just the Two of Us), was one of the most successful films of 1999. His TV thriller Das Duo-Der Liebhaber won the VFF TV Movie Award in 2003.

With Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) was a very important movie to Rothemund because, as he explained, his parents divorced when he was young and his mother raised him. “I went [to the movie] by myself,” he said. “It touched me so much I watched it three times that day.” He said this was the first film in his recollection that demonstrated just how much cinema can involve you in stories and relate to real lives.

Comedies
To Rothemund, the emotions of laughter and tears “belong together.” Thus, his next three film choices are all comedies. What’s Up Doc? (1972) is a screwball comedy by Peter Bogdanovich that stars Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. Another of Rothemund’s choices is The Blues Brothers (1980), because it is a fun mix of music, comedy, anarchy and “destroying.” “I love the destroying,” Rothemund said.

The final comedic pick is Arsenic & Old Lace (1944); Frank Capra’s classic comedy/thriller, which stars a young Cary Grant. Rothemund said he has watched this film 30 – 40 times in his lifetime and said he still laughs just as hard as ever.

Dramas
Finally, Rothemund talked about the films that kept him thinking a long time after he finished watching them. He described these Truly Moving Pictures as “three movies about human rights and values.”

Sue (1997) is a serious story of a woman struggling with mental and emotional issues as she seeks stability in human relationships.

The Deer Hunter (1978) is a famous Robert DeNiro film about the post-war effects on a Vietnam veteran and the people around him.

Dead Man Walking (1995) is based on the true story of Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) and her interactions with a violent death row inmate (Sean Penn).

Passion
Rothemund summarized the criteria of his most Truly Moving Pictures in a single word: passion. “For me, the most important thing in filmmaking is passion,” he said. Each of these films, in his mind, powerfully demonstrated the passion of both the actors and the filmmakers, in front of and behind the camera.