Casting (2017)

Director: Nicolas Wackerbarth
Writer: Nicolas Wackerbarth, Hannes Held
Cast: Andreas LustJudith EngelMilena DreißigStephan GrossmannCorinna KirchhoffUrsina LardiAndrea SawatzkiMarie-Lou SellemVictoria TrauttmansdorffNicole MarischkaMarkus von LingenTim KalkhofToby Ashraf
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 21.10.2017

Vera (Judith Engel) is preparing to direct her first television film, a remake of Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant. Everything is pretty much set to go and things are about to start. All that is missing is the lead actress. Vera has a day of casting lined up with the available candidates and Gerwin (Andreas Lust) as a stand-in to read the lines with the actresses. But things don’t really go the way Vera, or anybody else, planned.

Casting may not be a laugh out loud comedy, but it is funny, emotional, smart and full of biting, feminist commentary that I didn’t expect, but very much appreciated.

Casting is a surprisingly complex look at showbusiness itself. On the one hand, it’s a nice look behind the scenes of an often dehumanizing casting process and the making of a TV film that I found rather insightful. And it doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the industry and how the people in it are treated, providing us with a rather fundamental critique.

But then it also plays interestingly with gender, starting with the fact that it switches the lesbian love story of the film Vera is remaking for a heterosexual love story and exploring the power dynamic between the female director and the actresses, but also between the director and the gay, male stand-in.

All of the actors in it are amazing and they work their butts off. I loved the acting. Personally for me, the most memorable performance came from Andrea Sawatzki. It was breathtaking. The acting work here becomes even more impressive when you know that the film was improvised – and contrary to many other films with improvisation, you don’t notice it at all. It’s pitch-perfect.

The result makes Casting a surprisingly emotional, highly political and nevertheless absolutely entertaining look at the beginnings of a film. I certainly didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.

Summarizing: Highly recommended.

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