Written and Directed by #JessicaHausner
Inter-View is a 45-minute German film that mainly follows the viewpoints of two characters; the first character is a young writer who interviews people about what makes them happy and what their hopes are in order to help him find some meaning in his own life. Half-way through the film the perspectives are changed and we then follow the daily happenings of a young woman who has just graduated and is trying to figure out what to do next. The graduate and the writer eventually cross paths and the graduate is also interviewed about her ideas of happiness.
Inter-View is the second film that Jessica Hausner has worked on, which was filmed in 1999. This film was screened as part of the Jessica Hausner season at the BFI, where I also watched (and reviewed) Hausner’s film, Flora. I enjoyed Inter-View more than Flora, yet they are very similar.
Like in Flora, the dialogue in Inter-View is very sparse, particularly for the character of the graduate. Lack of dialogue seems to be something that Hausner preferred in her earlier films. However, I found it difficult to understand the motives and personalities of the characters, particularly for the graduate, presumably because of her lack of speech. Unfortunately, you don’t really get a sense of who the characters are aside from their overwhelming lonesomeness, which makes their experiences less relatable. Although, the writer is the more likeable of the characters, he seems to show more emotion and has more dialogue that reveals who he is and how he changes. Klaus Händl, who plays the writer, put on a very good performance too.
The soundtrack was lacklustre and there aren’t even any songs that I can remember off the top of my head, apart from the song which plays at the very end of the film, unfortunately do not know what it’s called. However, the only reason this song really stood out was because it plays during the most visually engaging moment in the entire film.
Something which I really appreciated in Flora was the use of dislocated cinematic shots and so I was glad to see that this is a style that Hausner had developed and stuck with. The last scene in Inter-View sees the writer dancing in a nightclub and as he does so the use of very mild strobe-lighting coupled with subtle visual and sound distortions create an image that represents the behavioural metamorphosis that the writer goes through in the film. Cinematography is the aspect I seem to like most in Hausner’s films.
Aside from the last scene, the majority of the other scenes are rather slow paced, which may not appeal to some viewers but, if you’re willing to stick with it, Hausner’s examination of the darker effects of loneliness is rather impactful. Hausner clearly enjoys exploring the realms of isolation and sadness in her work and she does it well. Nevertheless, Inter-View did sometimes felt like a bit of a slog to watch. I usually don’t mind slow paced films but a slow paced film with not much dialogue, an unimpressionable soundtrack and largely dull characters is not a good combination. Yet, my high regard for Hausner’s directing and cinematography makes me hold onto hope that I may really enjoy another of her films, especially considering that Inter-view was only her second film... maybe I’ll give Little Joe a watch.