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Torino Film Festival

“Afire”, interview with director Christian Petzold

todayDecember 2, 2023

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Christian Petzold, director of Afire: “I started to laugh about me. Me and Leon, my protagonist, we are a little bit the same but I think i’m more intelligent than him”.

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    "Afire", interview with director Christian Petzold Chiara Nicoletti

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After winning the Silver Bear – Grand Jury Prize for Afire – Rotter Himmel at the latest Berlinale 2023, Christian Petzold is screening the film at the 41st Torino Film Festival and presenting in Italy where it has been released in movie theaters with the italian title “Il Cielo brucia”.

“Afire” is the second chapter of Petzold’s trilogy of elements and last time he was on FRED, he described the film as a feminist version of the first chapter of the trilogy, Undine, starring the director’s new muse since Transit: Paula Beer.

Afire“’s protagonist, Leon (Thomas Schubert), is, to quote Petzold, playing a writer and the director already confessed, in many interviews, that this character is loosely inspired by his playing a director at the time of his second film. Could Afire be a way to get that old Petzold out of his system? “ I would love if cinema was that terapheutic, I started to laugh about me.  Me and Leon, my protagonist, we are a little bit the same but I think i’m more intelligent than him”.

At the end of the Berlin interview, Petzold declared that he could not decide on which element would define the final chapter of this trilogy. We asked him again? Will it be air or will be soil, earth? “I’ll stop lying – admit Petzold – I wanted to adapt into film, a fantastic book by an English author as it was based on a balloon filled with air but I didn’t have enough money to get it and someone else bought it. This trilogy is over, I’m sorry”.


Plot

A small holiday house by the baltic sea. The days are hot and it hasn’t rained in weeks. Four young people come together, friends old and new. As the parched forests around them begin to ignite, so do their emotions. Happiness, lust and love; but also jealousies, resentments and tensions. Meanwhile the forests burn. And before long, the flames are there.

Written by: Chiara Nicoletti

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