Berlinale 2016: All Of A Sudden

50 minutes ago

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

These words from Shakespeare's Hamlet open "All Of A Sudden" by Asli Özge, a Turkish filmmaker based in Berlin. Özge's film premiered at Berlinale's Panorama section.

"If you look generally in the world of politicians, the most antipathetic ones are the ones who have much power," the filmmaker comments.

A still of Karsten's family from Aslı Özge's film featuring Maria Hartmann, Julia Jentsch, Sebastian Hülk, and Hanns Zischler.
Credit Emre Erkmen / Berlinale

Özge was thinking about the dynamics of politics when she created her central character, Karsten. "All Of A Sudden" is about a man in his late thirties from an upper-middle class family. He has a girlfriend and a good job, but suddenly, overnight, Karsten's secure life takes a harsh turn.

"We have this woman, Anna. Karsten, the main character, spends some time with her, but [for] a very short time in his life, so I also wanted the audience to feel the very short, but intense period of time."

Still of the actor, Sebastian Hülk who plays Karsten in the film, "All Of A Sudden."
Credit Emre Erkmen / Berlinale

Her film begins with Anna and Karsten smoking a cigarette on his balcony. Anna is the last guest at Karsten's party. They don't really know each other, but their attraction is apparent. Then, just minutes later in his apartment, we see Anna dead. Her mysterious death spins Karsten's life out of control. What follows is in stark contrast to the tender beginning.  

"For me," Özge says, "in a way, it's a bit like Hamlet, because his father is like the king of a small province city Altena, and he's like a prince. Then this incident happens, and he sees the hypocrisy of society, and then he wants to take revenge. He gets very, very evil."

The movie was filmed in autumn in a small German town. Özge and her cinematographer, Emre Erkmen, eliminated blue from the film's color scheme to emphasize the overall melancholic atmosphere. 

Director Asli Oezge with Julia Jentsch and Sebastian Huelk, attending 'All Of A Sudden' photo call during the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival.
Credit Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

The film's theme of surprise and sudden change played an active role in its production. The Turkish filmmaker didn't reveal the full script to her cast, so they are almost on the same level as the viewers, discovering the story as it unfolds.

"It was a very controlled manipulation. Let's say it seems improvised, [but] it's not improvised. Everything was written but in a different way," comments Özge.  

"All Of A Sudden" is Özge's first German-language feature film. Women directors are rare in the German film business. There are ongoing debates whether there should be a quota, but for the filmmaker, the real question is: 

"Why are the budgets of women much more smaller than the budgets of men?"

Her thriller, "All Of A Sudden," received a special mention from the Europa Cinema's Jury for its artistic quality. At the Berlinale premiere, the audience responded with applause.