ÉCU had the pleasure of interviewing Matthias Rosenberger, director of “Spaghetti for Two”, Official Selection 2013 nominee for best European Dramatic Short.

“Spaghetti for Two” is an impressive short that praises humanity in just 18 charming minutes. Adapted from the same named short story by Federica de Cesca, director Matthias Rosenberger lets his contrasting characters, “come together at a table over a meal.” In such a brief amount of time, the plot twist is conveyed in an extremely clever and witty way. During this short, a selfish man loses five Euros when refusing to donate to a homeless man. Unable to afford the meal that he had longed for, he ironically and circuitously gets his meal thanks to the homeless man.  Ultimately he finds some kind of awareness for humanity. Enriched with some film-historical references, Rosenberger’s short makes itself – by the way without a single spoken word – a postmodern homage to film AND realism.

What was your inspiration for the film? The short “The Lunch Date” (dir.: Adam Davidson, 1989), the Federica de Cesca’s short story “Spaghetti for Two,” or even both of them?
I have to admit I’ve never seen “The Lunch Date” or even heard of it before some people mentioned it to during the production process. In addition, we were the first who actually received official permission from Federica de Cesca; that is, to adapt her story for a movie. We purchased the rights and tried to visualize the story as true to the original as possible, but in a manner that the author would like, as she mentioned it to us more than once.

What originally gave you the idea for this story?
Actually it was Betina Dubler’s idea, my co-director. When searching for a project in school, she adapted “Spaghetti for Two” for the big screen. In 2007 we finally began to realize the film.

Why did you shoot the movie without any dialogue?
For me it was a huge challenge to just let the music speak instead of the protagonists. I know that often this is a task for students at film schools. I think this is a fascinating way to tell a story, and luckily I had composer Max Jetzinger who wrote some beautiful pieces even before we started shooting. Those songs now support the film in a fantastic way.

Your short plays with some film-historical references. Why did you include things like that?
You’re right, it does.  For example I added this Spaghetti-Western reference, just because I really love them and I like to use references like this as a provocation and exaggeration. They kind of add a secondary level to the movie. In regards to the “Lady and the Tramp” quote, we actually asked Disney for permission to have the scene be shown on a TV in the background. They denied it, but to be honest I’m glad about it. I actually like our scene better the way it is right now. There are even more references in my movie but I’d rather let the audience explore them by themselves while watching the film for the first time, even if they’re not initially obvious.

What does it mean to you that your film was included in the ÉCU Official Selection?
It really means a lot to me and I am very proud. The film has garnered a lot of interest at festivals all over the U.S., but as a European I really like that it will finally be screened at a European festival, especially in a city like Paris. I have the impression that the ÉCU Film Festival is being organized very professionally and it also has a great reputation.

How do you evaluate the circumstances of Indie film in Germany, and how hard is it to produce these kinds of movies there?
Although I benefited from subsidies of the Bavarian Filmfund – for which I am really grateful – I see support from public film funds as skeptical. Films should always aim to attract a big audience, which is often contradictory to movies that are supported by these film funds. That’s why I try to gain money by other new, innovative ways and work together with investors that have no special connection to the film business. In my opinion, without the demand to maximize success, it’s not possible to compete with productions from the United States. It’s hard to find investors like these in Germany, and therefore I work in Australia in order to realize my current project.

One last question: Do you have a certain role model who is a director? If so, who is it?
If I had to name one special role model, I’d definitely say Steven Spielberg. I grew up with his movies and they encouraged me to make films by myself. And even Spielberg started really small…

Making of video – Spaghetti for Two (German)

Tim Reuter

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