February 26, 2015

Behind the scenes of Gallenberger's 'Colonia', starring Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl

The film will premiere in September at the Toronto Film Festival

The scenes of "Colonia", the film that recreates the UP (don't know what's that) and darkness of Colonia Dignidad

The film is starring British Emma Watson ("Harry Potter") and German Daniel Brühl ("Goodbye Lenin"), with the Swedish Michael Nyqvist ("Millennium") and Paul Schäfer. To recreate the days of the Popular Unity in Santiago, the oldest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires were used, and to reproduce, after the military coup, the first arrests in the National Stadium, a football stadium in Buenos Aires that has the same caracteristics as the sport facility of Ñuñoa in the 70s.

The image of Paul Schäfer with his entourage of people in a camp frozen in time, stuck in the 40s, has remained in the memory. Like a separate country, Colonia Dignidad operated for nearly 40 years near Parral, hiding the continuous sexual abuses Schäfer was performing on minors and the support given by Pinochet to use the place as a concentration camp during the military dictatorship.

This year, the German film Colonia, directed by Florian Gallenberger, and filmed in Argentina and Luxembourg is being made. For the Argentine shooting, production service Pensa & Rocca CINE was hired. Their members were responsible for preparing everything needed to make the recordings in Buenos Aires. Miguel Angel Rocca and Daniel Pensa spoke to El Mostrador Cultura+Ciudad on all the details of the mega production.

It is a story of love and adventure, surrounded by fiction, based on a German novel about Colonia Dignidad, to build a Hollywood drama. Emma Watson is a German stewardess who travels to Chile in search of her husband, Daniel Brühl, who has been captured by Paul Schäfer and held in Villa Baviera, when it was operating as headquarters of the concentration camp during the Pinochet dictatorship.

For logistical issues the place chosen to film scenes located in Chile was Argentina. Many elements put together made the shooting in Buenos Aires easier. Among them, the most important was a series of planes from the 70s, which were part of the final scene of the film, and they were only in the neighboring country. On the other hand, the technical requirement that production needed was very specific, and could be achieved with integrity in Argentina.

This sum of things convinced its director to replace Santiago by Buenos Aires. The streets of the capital were replaced by neighborhoods of the Argentinian city, which had a certain air and similarity. The major concern was the emblematic scenes that were to be hosted at the National Stadium, which was resolved with the use of a soccer field in Buenos Aires, that dates from the 70s, to which were added images of the Stadium from then. Also the airport was partly replaced by what Ezeiza looked like in the 70s.

"It's a fiction, many times in international fictions, the historical reality is a little flexible. There's not much detail," argues one of the owners of the film production company, Miguel Angel Rocca.

A super production that features actors Watson, Brühl and Nyqvist, has a number of new challenges for those who realized the production service of one half of the film. In addition to a budget of a magnitude worthy of a mega Hollywood production.

"Personally, it was a challenge and an experience to have international actors who have particular protocol requirements and to have to deal with all that. I think this film could have done with a lot less money, but they handle a structure of a huge magnitude, it's kind of like a Hollywood structure. But we really create the same with less, because we care much more about the resources. Many trucks, a lot of logistics, much technical equipment, that's how they work, "says Rocca.

Harry Potter actress was a new element in the work of Pensa & Rocca CINE. Because of her superstar quality, she had a strict protocol everybody had to fulfil in terms of security. She was always surrounded by her team, it was also necessary to have permanent cars and a specific hotel, besides taking care that no one approached within 150 meters of the shooting.

During the month that Watson was in Buenos Aires, she didn't have much contact with the film crew. "Almost nobody interacted with her, she had an entourage who was very protective. We couldn't chat or talk to her, it was not allowed to take pictures and the few photos that were taken, she took them herself and posted them on her website, "adds Rocca.

With Brühl, the experience was totally different. From a Spanish mother and living in Germany and Barcelona, ​​the actor was managed to speak Spanish and could engage with people. One more thing, he had no security, he moved with absolute normality and took pictures with people.

The interior of Villa Baviera was recorded in Luxembourg, where a replica of the colony, based on pictures, stories and a visit by the director and Watson themselves. This is where the most violent scenes of the movie were filmed, the moments of torture the agents of the dictatorship performed on the site, also used as a concentration camp. The producers from Pensa & Rocca CINE confess not having seen these scenes, but explain that they have received comments of images quite strong.

"They know people who participated in the construction of the Colony, of the tunnels, and who still refused to give much information, they did not like to talk about it. They had to work quite hard to see where the events had happened, and came several times to Chile," says Daniel Pensa, another owner of the production service who worked on the set.

This research with two informants was essential to the film as the director Florian Gallenberger "got two people who were in the colony to work as consultants all the time and participate in the film, so I guess yes there was some serious reproduction" adds Pensa.

In this sense, the film is a fiction that takes place in Colonia Dignidad, but that doesn't use the place as the center of the story, rather it is a facilitator to create a love story. This situation explains Pensa, is to avoid expectations that have nothing to do with the reality of the story.

"The film is about adventure and a love story, it is a romantic story of a young woman who comes to save her boyfriend who was captured in Colonia Dignidad, that's the movie. It does not focus on telling the reality of Colonia Dignidad, the protagonist is a German stewardess who comes to save her German boyfriend who has been captured by the sect of Paul Schäfer and the context is Colonia Dignidad, but not the protagonist".


elmostrador via pottershots

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