Review of Award Winning Short Lacrimosa and Interview with the Director, Tanja Mairitsch
Award Winning Short Lacrimosa Headed to SHORTSTV
The story of a tear – told in a groundbreaking aesthetic filmed underwater
Lacrimosa, an award-winning short film directed and co-written by Tanja Mairitsch, has been picked up by SHORTSTV. The mesmerizing film tells the story of a young girl named Mila who wakes up in an unknown world full of mysteries. On her journey through the ever-changing surreal landscapes she meets her lost love, Theo. As they interact, Mila is forced to learn that love also means to let go.
Among the highlights of the film are the underwater cinematography, metaphorically the expansive tear manifesting stunning imagery that draws the audience in on a very personal and shattering journey. Water is a common symbol of the unconscious. Every image and every scene in Lacrimosa mirrors Mila’s inner state and condition. Both actors had special diving lessons in a time span of 8 months to prepare for the shoot and the camera team specialized in underwater film production.
The Oscar qualified film boasts the powerful collaboration of Director Mairitsch and DP Petra Korner and stars Saskia Rosendahl, who is currently starring in Never Look Away directed by Academy Award winning Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others). Lacrimosa is produced by Viktor Perdula and Klaus Schiebel, and the mesmerizing score is composed by Elia Cmiral. Lacrimosa has been shown around the world at multiple international film festivals including the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Hollyshorts Film Festival, and Sitges International Film Festival.
Review of Lacrimosa:
Lacrimosa is a very good surreal film, with some amazing underwater sequences. It’s the story of a girl named Mika, who must learn how to let go of her lost love Theo. It is told through a surreal vision that ends up being within a tear. The story is in German, with English language subtitles, but it is told so well that there is almost no need for dialogue at all. The underwater sequences are very well acted, and amazingly shot. The musical score really adds to the feeling of this film. If you get the opportunity to see this movie you should take it as I really recommend seeing this film.
Interview with LACRIMOSA Director: Tanja Mairitsch
1. I thought Lacrimosa was a good film that was visually very moving. What was the inspiration behind Lacrimosa?
The original inspiration came from an underwater photograph. A woman in a wide dress floating under water, beside her a little boy (not older than 2 years) with tiny angel wings. It was mysterious and stunning.
I thought „I want to tell a whole story that takes place under water“.
So Joerg Ihle and me thought of a story that motivates the use of underwater cinematography. We came up with the story of a tear.
2. What kind of feedback are you receiving from Lacrimosa?
LACRIMOSA has been traveling the world, we are grateful for having the opportunity to share our story with people from different cultural and societal backgrounds. Our film tells a universal story about the (often not so easy) process of letting go, we have been receiving emails and messages from audiences around the globe, it is thrilling to see people connect and get inspired by it.
3. Why did you decide to shoot this in black and white?
It gave the film a more classic and elegant look, I did not want this rich visual world to distract too much from the essence of the story. And, to be honest, it helped the visual effects of the underwater scenes.
4. I was really impressed by the underwater scenes. How difficult was this part to film? How long did it take to film? How did you achieve such an amazing look during these scenes?
The underwater world is very different than the one we move in, it works with different rules and conveys different feelings. The aesthetic is a different one. It offers completely new forms of expression.
We did a lot of testing under water starting half a year prior to principal photography: camera related tests but also tests with actors, wardrobe, etc.
I should say upfront that both actors had absolutely no diving experience and had been snorkeling two times in their lives.
Saskia and Frowin had special diving lessons to prepare for the shoot. A convincing acting performance is a challenge in itself, now imagine giving a great performance while being 5m under water, with water pressure all around you, not able to see in focus, with weights on your feet, no air in the lungs while acting.
Shooting under water takes longer than above water, yet the whole process is so much fun and adventurous.
5. I felt the choice of music fit this film perfectly. What can you tell me about it.
There is a movie out there that has a soundtrack with a pan flute theme that has been haunting me ever since I heard it – sad and melancholic yet so pure and beautiful. This is the kind of feeling I wanted to convey for our short film. Our wonderful music composer Elia Cmiral, who btw won many awards with the soundtrack of LACRIMOSA, and me decided to contact the pan flute virtuoso Master Gheorge Zamfir in Romania. He worked as soloist in movie soundtracks by composers like Ennio Morricone and collaborated with Quentin Tarantino on Kill Bill. Master Zamfir was immediately on board of LACRIMOSA.
6. How was it working on a film where the lead cast and crew were female? Is it a different feel and experience from working on a male dominated film? Is it any better for female filmmakers in Europe than it is here in the US? Is there more acceptance for female filmmakers or does it depend on the country you work in there? What more do you think can be done so that films, tv, entertaining, etc. aren ́t just male dominated areas?
I hope film gets made because of their creative merit and the talent of the people that are behind it, independently of their gender.
Here in Austria there is big support for female directors – or, to put it into other words, I never felt that funding entities made a difference based on the gender. You have to convince investors of your project like in any other business.
Our lead actress Saskia Rosendahl, though way younger in age, was a huge inspiration for me, she is one of the bravest woman I have ever met in my life. And, believe me, I do crazy stuff too.
7. Do you see yourself moving to writing and directing in more feature length films?
I am already on it 😀
8. Where can people watch Lacrimosa?
Lacrimosa was picked up by Shorts International for distribution. The film will be available on Shorts HD as well as on other outlets. Announcements will be made in time via our social media channels.
9. Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to let us know about?
I am in development of a horror/thriller, one of the most original scripts I have ever read in my life. It is the kind of film I would love to see in the theater myself.