Nov 03 2009

Film “Réfractaire” Luxembourg Oscars nomination

Published by at 01:14 under Industry

SOURCE: http://www.station.lu/

The recently released Luxembourg film “Réfractaire” or “Draft Dodgers” as it will be called in English has been nominated to represent the Grand Duchy at the 82nd edition of the Academy Awards in the category “Best foreign language film” award.

The film, is directed by Nicolas Steil is a coproduction between Luxembourg (Iris Productions) and Switzerland (Cab Productions). Filming took place entirely in the Grand Duchy. The 5 nominations for best foreign film will be announced on 2nd February 2010.

Station.lu had the chance to interview Nicholas Steil the film’s director and gave us a unique insight into his vision and the making of Réfractaire. Thank you very much to Nicholas Steil for taking the time to talk to us. See the trailer for Réfractaire and a photo gallery, at the bottom of this article.

So what’s the film about? Here’s the synopsis.

Our past sticks with us. Ours, our family’s and our country’s. Without getting to the bottom of it, without digging up the suffering we have buried, evolution is not possible.

Wartime slows history down, but for men decisions are accelerated: Collaborate with the enemy, or resist?

However, we have to ask ourselves an even more fundamental question: Take on the role of a victim, or try to survive… but at what cost?

François, a 21-year-old, is living in a small country that Nazi Germany has just annexed. His father, who collaborates with the fascist regime, forced him to go to German university. But François committed a first act of disobedience: he left this place that preached racial hatred.

Now he is facing a Cornelian choice: to become forcibly enrolled and leave for the Russian front to fight the Allies or to become a draft dodger, buried alive in the cold and damp mines for months on end without seeing the light of day, the only hope being the Liberation.

« Réfractaire / Draft dodgers» is a grasping psychological drama that makes us experience the path of a young man who is depersonalised by a heavy family
history, but will manage to find himself at the cost of his own life.

What the Director has to say about the film.

We are all the result of a basic equation that combines some essential factors like inheritance, the family situation as well as the socio-economic background that we grow up in and finally our individuality that is revealed as we are confronted with different challenges as our life goeson.

To identify and embrace those factors is the way forward. Because after all, if we are here on earth for this short trip we might as well do our best to evolve towards harmony and happiness. It seems obvious and yet, it is so complex.

Getting to the bottom of our own sources and facing the numerous demons that are scattered along our trip takes a lot of courage. It also takes a strong will to realise that the way things go can be altered. But in order to change the world, we first have to change our interior world.

For some of us, the equation is tough and surrounding life is full of tremedous problems. For others, everything seems to be flowing like a long, calm river. The emphasis in this sentence lies on the word
‘seems’… I have often asked myself what choices I would have made in wartime.

It is more comfortable to see oneself as a hero than as a collaborator or even as a torturer. I think you have to answer this question with a lot of humility and that a good part of it depends on the aforementioned equation.

I happen to be from a small, young country not even 2 centuries old, where the second world war triggered a lot of dilemmas. Luxembourg was annexed by Germany and became an integral part of the Reich. This dark period of history nearly generated a depersonalisation of Luxembourg.

The Resistance in Luxembourg became really effective and efficient from the moment where the Nazis made the mistake to attack its youth and thus any sign of hope. A large number of young Luxembourgers were ‘forcibly enrolled’ and sent to the Russian front. They only had two choices: shoot the Allies or desert at their own risk, hiding until the end of the war. Those who chose the latter option became ‘draft dodgers’ by the established order, accepting the underlying risks.

The Resistance organised hideouts that varied from dropped ceilings to church towers and especially parts of iron-mines that weren’t worked in anymore. Another concern was that the close family of draft dodgers were systematically deported…. A real dilemma where they were stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea without any hope of getting out.

So this is the question that is put to the audience: what would you have done if you were this young man whose basic equation is admittedly complex but unites negative as well as positive elements. Coming from a difficult family background, the main character is looking for his identity as he is at risk of being objectified, just like the whole country. The choices that he will make are going to enable his change and what you could call a heroic behaviour, using this tarnished word in the most cautious way possible.

I would like the audience to join young François on this initiatory trip so they can follow his emotions and his evolution very closely. In this context, the mise-en-scène will give priority to a mix of subjective vistas (i.e. the camera sees through the eyes of François) and vistas that are in perspective, which will allow us to ‘elevate’ ourselves enough to analyse the course of things.

The symbolism of the imprisonment which represents this troubled time and the need for the characters to choose between two evils is embodied
here by the following:

• the mine that will be organic, the tunnels that run through it, being the blood vessels that carry or shelter the human beings who are fighting for their future;
• the cellar of the old distillery, a magical haven of pleasure but also a hellhole where fear is taking over;
• the night that reflects the Manichean forces at work through the expressionist aspect it confers on human beings and on things.

It is not only an imprisonment of the body but also of the spirit. Unfortunately, in François’ case, he will only be able to free his spirit and his body will be sacrificed to war and its madness.

Some scenes in the mines will be shot ‘in situ’ in the National Mining Museum of Luxembourg in Rumelange. The fabulous set that spreads over kilometres will allow us to get closer to the truth of that period. Others will be recreated in a studio in order to use the movements of the camera to the full.

Finally, the oppression will be emphasised by the use of a steadycam that is often moving, symbolising the will to escape from the ones who have shut themselves away ‘voluntarily’.

The director
Nicolas Steil

For full information about Réfractaire, visit the official website: www.refractaire.lu

Comments

comments

SOURCE: http://www.station.lu/

The recently released Luxembourg film “Réfractaire” or “Draft Dodgers” as it will be called in English has been nominated to represent the Grand Duchy at the 82nd edition of the Academy Awards in the category “Best foreign language film” award.

The film, is directed by Nicolas Steil is a coproduction between Luxembourg (Iris Productions) and Switzerland (Cab Productions). Filming took place entirely in the Grand Duchy. The 5 nominations for best foreign film will be announced on 2nd February 2010.

Station.lu had the chance to interview Nicholas Steil the film’s director and gave us a unique insight into his vision and the making of Réfractaire. Thank you very much to Nicholas Steil for taking the time to talk to us. See the trailer for Réfractaire and a photo gallery, at the bottom of this article.

So what’s the film about? Here’s the synopsis.

Our past sticks with us. Ours, our family’s and our country’s. Without getting to the bottom of it, without digging up the suffering we have buried, evolution is not possible.

Wartime slows history down, but for men decisions are accelerated: Collaborate with the enemy, or resist?

However, we have to ask ourselves an even more fundamental question: Take on the role of a victim, or try to survive… but at what cost?

François, a 21-year-old, is living in a small country that Nazi Germany has just annexed. His father, who collaborates with the fascist regime, forced him to go to German university. But François committed a first act of disobedience: he left this place that preached racial hatred.

Now he is facing a Cornelian choice: to become forcibly enrolled and leave for the Russian front to fight the Allies or to become a draft dodger, buried alive in the cold and damp mines for months on end without seeing the light of day, the only hope being the Liberation.

« Réfractaire / Draft dodgers» is a grasping psychological drama that makes us experience the path of a young man who is depersonalised by a heavy family
history, but will manage to find himself at the cost of his own life.

What the Director has to say about the film.

We are all the result of a basic equation that combines some essential factors like inheritance, the family situation as well as the socio-economic background that we grow up in and finally our individuality that is revealed as we are confronted with different challenges as our life goeson.

To identify and embrace those factors is the way forward. Because after all, if we are here on earth for this short trip we might as well do our best to evolve towards harmony and happiness. It seems obvious and yet, it is so complex.

Getting to the bottom of our own sources and facing the numerous demons that are scattered along our trip takes a lot of courage. It also takes a strong will to realise that the way things go can be altered. But in order to change the world, we first have to change our interior world.

For some of us, the equation is tough and surrounding life is full of tremedous problems. For others, everything seems to be flowing like a long, calm river. The emphasis in this sentence lies on the word
‘seems’… I have often asked myself what choices I would have made in wartime.

It is more comfortable to see oneself as a hero than as a collaborator or even as a torturer. I think you have to answer this question with a lot of humility and that a good part of it depends on the aforementioned equation.

I happen to be from a small, young country not even 2 centuries old, where the second world war triggered a lot of dilemmas. Luxembourg was annexed by Germany and became an integral part of the Reich. This dark period of history nearly generated a depersonalisation of Luxembourg.

The Resistance in Luxembourg became really effective and efficient from the moment where the Nazis made the mistake to attack its youth and thus any sign of hope. A large number of young Luxembourgers were ‘forcibly enrolled’ and sent to the Russian front. They only had two choices: shoot the Allies or desert at their own risk, hiding until the end of the war. Those who chose the latter option became ‘draft dodgers’ by the established order, accepting the underlying risks.

The Resistance organised hideouts that varied from dropped ceilings to church towers and especially parts of iron-mines that weren’t worked in anymore. Another concern was that the close family of draft dodgers were systematically deported…. A real dilemma where they were stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea without any hope of getting out.

So this is the question that is put to the audience: what would you have done if you were this young man whose basic equation is admittedly complex but unites negative as well as positive elements. Coming from a difficult family background, the main character is looking for his identity as he is at risk of being objectified, just like the whole country. The choices that he will make are going to enable his change and what you could call a heroic behaviour, using this tarnished word in the most cautious way possible.

I would like the audience to join young François on this initiatory trip so they can follow his emotions and his evolution very closely. In this context, the mise-en-scène will give priority to a mix of subjective vistas (i.e. the camera sees through the eyes of François) and vistas that are in perspective, which will allow us to ‘elevate’ ourselves enough to analyse the course of things.

The symbolism of the imprisonment which represents this troubled time and the need for the characters to choose between two evils is embodied
here by the following:

• the mine that will be organic, the tunnels that run through it, being the blood vessels that carry or shelter the human beings who are fighting for their future;
• the cellar of the old distillery, a magical haven of pleasure but also a hellhole where fear is taking over;
• the night that reflects the Manichean forces at work through the expressionist aspect it confers on human beings and on things.

It is not only an imprisonment of the body but also of the spirit. Unfortunately, in François’ case, he will only be able to free his spirit and his body will be sacrificed to war and its madness.

Some scenes in the mines will be shot ‘in situ’ in the National Mining Museum of Luxembourg in Rumelange. The fabulous set that spreads over kilometres will allow us to get closer to the truth of that period. Others will be recreated in a studio in order to use the movements of the camera to the full.

Finally, the oppression will be emphasised by the use of a steadycam that is often moving, symbolising the will to escape from the ones who have shut themselves away ‘voluntarily’.

The director
Nicolas Steil

For full information about Réfractaire, visit the official website: www.refractaire.lu

Comments

comments

One response so far

One Response to “Film “Réfractaire” Luxembourg Oscars nomination”

  1. Oskaron 03 Nov 2009 at 15:09

    komesch geschriwenen text… et klengt als wier de film schon fir den oscar nomineiert. a wourecht ass en awer weder dat nach ass e vun de letzebuerger “nomineiert” gin…

    souwisou eng total iwerflesseg noricht. als wier et e verdengscht vun der letzebuerger oscar kommisioun (!) ausgewielt ze gin – aus weiville filmer ass de refractaire dann iwerhaapt erausgesicht gin?

    losst ons mool drop konzentreieren besser filmer ze maan amplaatz vun oscaren ze dreemen. come on!

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