Cast: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar
Director: Fatih Akin
Genre: Crime, Drama
Running Time: 105 minutes
Synopsis: Out of nowhere, Katja's life falls apart when her husband Nuri and little son Rocco are killed in a bomb attack. Her friends and family try to give her the support she needs, and Katja somehow manages to make it through the funeral. But the mind-numbing search for the perpetrators and reasons behind the senseless killing complicate Katja-s painful mourning, opening wounds and doubts. Danilo, a lawyer and Nuri's best friend, represents Katja in the eventual trial against the two suspects: a young couple from the neo-Nazi scene. The trial pushes Katja to the edge, but there's simply no alternative for her: she wants justice.
In The Fade
Release Date: March 8th, 2018
Question: What-s the origin of the project?
Fatih Akin: I was inspired by the NSU murders in 2011. The German Neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund) perpetrated a series of xenophobe murders between 2000 and 2007 throughout Germany. It was shocking for me as I'm of Turkish background. My brother was acquained with someone who was killed from Hamburg. The big scandal was that the police focused their investigation on people within the community of the victims, blaming drug or gambling connections. Police pressure was so intense that even the press and the community themselves began to have similar suspicions.
Question: What makes the main character Katja tick?
Fatih Akin: I started researching the concept of revenge. Does it really exist? Who would actually seek vengeance? Would I take revenge? Katja has her own morality, her own definition of justice. In that way, Katja embodies something dormant inside of us that should always remain dormant. I was not interested in the murderers' perspectives. I was very clear about where my empathy, my focus, had to be. In the Fade became a very personal film for me. Although she's a blond and blue-eyed German woman, the character of Katja is my alter ego. This film is about that universal feeling of grief and its so many layers.
Question: How did the collaboration with co-writer Hark Bohm come about?
Fatih Akin: Hark Bohm was on-board at an early stage. He's a lawyer, and of course it helped me a great deal that lawyers and court cases have also been central to his movies. We both headed to Munich to follow the 2013 NSU Trial live. That inspired me to study the case files, which I then discussed with Hark. In this sense, he became the supervisor of the court sequences.
Question: How did you come to cast Diane Kruger?
Fatih Akin: I met Diane Kruger in 2012 at Cannes. I was presenting my documentary Polluting Paradise and we put on this little beach party. Diane turned up at the party and started talking to me in German. She said she'd want to shoot with me if the opportunity arose. I was happy to give her my word and the day came four years later: I was looking for a main actress for In the Fade and thought of Diane and sent her the screenplay. Diane absolutely wanted to play Katja! I never regretted casting her. She played the role magnificently.
What makes her such a great actress is that she's fearless and curious. She will try anything. She's also very focused. She has such a high level of concentration. I truly believes she enjoys acting, even in the most painful scenes. I also firmly believe that Diane put in such an exceptional performance because, as an international star, she's waited years for a big German-speaking role, as she grew up in Hanover and considers herself German. Diane really enjoyed acting in her mother tongue, as here – in contrast to her usual English or French-speaking roles – she had the opportunity to express herself even more freely, in the language she grew up with. I realized she possesses a spot-on instinct and immediately senses when something's not right in a certain scene. That's why I was always well advised to listen to her in such cases.
Question: How do you work with cameraman Rainer Klausmann?
Fatih Akin: My many years of working with Rainer is like a marriage. Our communication on-set has been reduced to the odd grunt because we hardly have anything to discuss. Rainer always drives me to try out new things and would never stand in the way. Rainer certainly supports me, but he always puts the brakes on if I lose sight of our original goals or get stuck at a dead-end. He tells me straight-up if he thinks something is ridiculous or doesn't understand my motivation for a certain shot – or he'll sometimes accuse me of only choosing a shot for its aesthetics.
Question: Tell us about your collaboration with Josh Homme of the rock group Queens of the Stone Age.
Fatih Akin: I listened to a lot of Queens of the Stone Age music when I was writing the screenplay. They have these fatalistic songs. It came to me that fatalism was the right attitude for this film. I made a Queens of the Stone Age playlist for the character of Katja. I asked my music supervisor to clear the rights to those songs and she suggested that I ask the band. I was able to speak with the group's founder and lead vocalist Josh Homme. He saw a very rough cut of the film and he liked it! Maybe it hit the same nerve where his songs come from. He was busy finishing the group's new album, but he still accepted to work on the film. He had only a short time to do it, but he managed to make this incredible music. It's very unique and sad and beautiful. I've always wanted to do a thriller or at least work with some elements of that genre. Integrating this music has definitely given the film that quality.
In The Fade
Release Date: March 8th, 2018