Lukas Nathrath plans next project “Bourgeois Paranoia”

German director Lukas Nathrath has already envisaged his next projects, diversity found out. After the ensemble drama One Last Evening, which earned him the Locarno Film Festival’s Cinegrell First Look Award, which includes post-production services worth €50,000, he will next turn to Bourgeois Paranoia.

A mix of dark comedy and psychological thriller set in the near future when the rent has become unaffordable and the roommate selection process is falling apart. Driven by constant pressure to perform, winning becomes a matter of life and death, says Nathrath.

“It might have some genre elements,” he teases.

He will also work on “Principle of Failure,” an episodic tragic comedy that follows an aspiring writer who becomes embroiled in an odyssey of misadventures, white lies and absurd power games with his much more successful cousin.

“I want to do both of these projects on a much larger scale,” he says, noting the gory climax of the latter. But the concepts of failure and success have bothered him for some time, so “One Last Evening” follows a group of friends who get together for a couple’s farewell party while eyeing each other’s accomplishments.

The film was produced by Klinkerfilm and co-produced by Doppelbauer and Nathrath Filmproduktion. Judges Vanja Kaludjercic (International Film Festival Rotterdam), Tricia Tuttle (BFI London Film Festival) and Huh Moonyung from Busan found the storytelling “rich and nuanced”.

“Not much going on outside. But those seemingly small moments or events in life interest me because inside they begin to reveal people’s actual needs and desires, things they want but can’t articulate. Or get it,” says Nathrath diversity.

Inspired by the likes of Everyone Else boss Maren Ade and John Cassavetes, he also wanted to “process the fears” experienced during the pandemic, which came to a head over the course of a dinner.

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“One Last Evening”
Courtesy of Lukas Nathrath

“Suddenly all those longings and feelings just crash.”

But while he shot his intimate film in just seven days and “in utter frenzy,” rarely venturing out of the couple’s soon-to-be-vacant apartment, Nathrath doesn’t see it as theatrical, he says.

“It gets theatrical for me when people come into the room and express themselves in long monologues. But Greta Gerwig once said this very interesting sentence: ‘I’m interested in how people use language to avoid saying what they mean,’” he notes.

“In Mike Leigh or Hong Sang-soo’s films, people sit around and talk, but they don’t really say what’s really going on. All this talk is just to silence the fears.”

Nevertheless, he also thought of the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, especially when focusing on the main couple who decided to move from Hanover to Berlin.

“In his plays, people sit around in the country, nothing happens and they only talk about going to Moscow. Here many want to go to Berlin and most never. But they still have those hopes and dreams,” he adds.

When friends drop out and complete strangers show up in their place, arguments erupt and life-changing decisions are thrown into question, things quickly turn tragicomic.

“I often feel that the most uncomfortable situations make for very interesting stories. It fascinates me how people try to save face when they are afraid of embarrassment.”

But most of the time, that fear just holds them back. Especially in the case of Clemens, a once-promising musician who now plays second fiddle to his doctor friend.

“It’s not exactly my story, but I can identify with it. Sebastian Jakob Doppelbauer, who plays this role and co-wrote the screenplay, is a version of both of us,” says Nathrath.

“As an artist or filmmaker, I’m often afraid of showing my work to others. If it’s not conventionally “successful,” does it still have its own value? Of course it does. But it’s hard to remember sometimes.”

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Luke Nathrath
Photo credit: Nils Schwarz Lukas Nathrath plans next project “Bourgeois Paranoia”

Charles Jones

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