Let us introduce you to the German director Louis Fried, who participated in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.

Born in Munich, Germany, he currently lives and works in Hamburg. From 2004 to 2010 he studied visual communications and film at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. He is co-founder of Veto Film, a platform for experimental film and video art.

Flexible Bodies_Louis Fried_Michael Steinhauser
Louis Fried by Michael Steinhauser

“Like a spaceship that has lost its way, the skyscraper protrudes from its surroundings. An imposing, elegantly curved, widely visible building that is architecturally inspired by UNO City in Vienna. Mixing architectural shots and surreal settings, the film Flexible Bodies enters the world of this skyscraper. The incongruousness of the work and of the building, which, even in today’s working world, is no longer contemporary, coalesce to create a weirdly charged atmosphere that is sometimes reminiscent of a science fiction film. The main focus of Flexible Bodies is on the views – both the exterior of the building as well the surrounding city as viewed from the interior. The building becomes a protagonist who, by virtue of its appearance, offers ample space for projections. (…) The inherent desire for ascent, the credo pertaining to the American dream of ‘You can do it’, and the consequentially related trend towards self-optimization right up to the predestined disappointment of countless dreams are the undertones that delineate the film,” comments director Louis Fried.

Flexible Bodies_Judith Newerla3
‚Flexible Bodies‘ by Louis Fried

What is your ambition in the film?

It was an unfolding process. First I really wanted to shoot a film in the high-rise building I live next door to, after I heard it would be torn down soon. I had something like a strict architecture film in mind. Then my co-author Maya Connors and I became more and more curious about what kind of work is done in such a place? How is it to go there on a daily basis to earn your money? What are the dreams, ambitions and also the disappointments that occur here? Only few will make it to the higher ranks, but the old „Just work hard enough and you can do it!“ cliché seems still somehow very alive. For me it’s almost a quasi-religious salvation promise and I felt that a fictional film could transport that better.

So the ambition in the end was maybe to catch all the things that echoed through the hallways – also a certain UN-World Peace aura, which is built into the architecture (model for the building was the UNO City in Vienna, Austria) – and out of this make a more surreal sort of film.

What do you like about the short form?

The short form gives you often more freedom for experimentation and spontaneity, but in the end should every film be seen as an autonomous piece of art, no matter of its length.

What are your future plans?

Do more films, short and longer ones. At the moment I’m trying to raise funds for an essay film project about the neighborhood where my grandfather used to live. It was completely destroyed during World War II and is today quite an interesting area with a very jumbled architecture and a big diversity of people living and working there.

24 films from 17 countries have competed for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

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