Director Pen Portraits: Valeska Grisebach

Valeska Grisebach was born in Bremen and studied Direction in Vienna, at its Film Academy in 1993. Her graduation film and first full-length feature was Mein Stern (You’re a Star 2001). This concern with the ordinary carries through to her latest project Sehnsucht (2006), which distinguished itself at the Berlinale for that year, and received a nomination for the Golden Bear award.

Mein Stern demonstrates a sensitive documentary realism in its portrayal of a relationship between two fifteen year olds, but not to examine social themes of adolescence; rather to draw out emotional realities. Sehnsucht remains in similar territory. Grisebach shows an interest in the different roles we assume at different points in our lives, but how those experiences are demonstrated in the everyday exchanges and minutiae. Interviewed about Mein Stern, she said: “The normal, the quotidian interests me. I didn’t want to make a film with any generic statements about youth in the year 2000 but rather to capture a timeless and perhaps even old-fashioned moment.”(www.sensesofcinema.com)

Having trained in Vienna, Grisebach has been making her way back to Berlin where she grew up. She acknowledges being influenced by the films being made by other Berlin-based filmmakers, and describes the idea of a ‘Berliner Schule’ as a “friendly, pragmatic union. Perhaps the connection, as far as the content of our films is concerned, is the attempt to find an approach to reality, and thus to our own identities.” (www.german-films.de).

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