Interview Norbert Lechner

© Rat Pack Filmproduktion© Goethe-Institut Hanoi

„Fortune Favors the Brave“ is an adventure movie with a lot of wit and energy. What was the most beautiful experience at the set?

In my opinion, one of the most touching scenes that we shot was the scene succeeding the encounter with Mrs. Trost who works at the youth welfare office. Pauline lied to her and told her that Linh and Tien have been at their father’s place for days – and the two sisters don’t even know who their father is. It is obvious that the truth will be exposed now! Linh is drained of energy and begins to cry uncontrolledly. It is a tremendous challenge for actors to shoot a scene like this from scratch. We shot the scene on one of our last days on set. During the preparation Lynn Dortschak considered what would make her really sad together with her coach Yvette Dankou. And she thought of having to bid farewell from her “film family”, meaning the film crew, with which she had been shooting for two months by then. During the shooting she imagined what this farewell would be like – and immediately she was in tears. I was so touched by this scene that I had to cry, too.

How did you decide on the famous Vietnamese actors Chieu Xuan and Manh Cuong for this movie?

I made the decision to cast the Vietnamese adult roles in Vietnam when I found out that there are very few actors descended from Vietnam in Germany and most of them are very young, they are between 20 and 30 years old. They were too young for our roles. My production colleague La Van Phuong, who was born in Vietnam and lives in Munich, supported us during the casting. He travelled to Ho Chi Minh City in October 2014 and prepared the casting. I had seen Manh Cuong in the fabulous movie “Three Seasons”, apparently Chieu Xuan’s attention was drawn on the casting due to our casting tender. At that point I didn’t know how famous both of them are in Vietnam. I only realized that when they were in Germany and Vietnamese always recognized them on the street!

What do you like about shooting movies for children and teenagers?

I like shooting with children a lot, they are very open and unbiased, even though sometimes it is very exhausting because, for instance, they are just not in the right mood. Shooting with children is always enormously stressful because the shooting hours with children are limited and during that limited time everything has to be done! But working with them is wonderful. And I really, really like telling stories to children! In your opinion, what makes a good children’s film?

Apart from the story having to be good and touching I consider it to be extremely important that children are being taken serious in it. I repeatedly realize that some movie people think that you have to tell children stories in a simplified manner because otherwise they wouldn’t understand it. What horrific nonsense! As a result, fantastic artists are staged as ridiculous ones – they appear as clumsy and exaggerated.

I think that a children’s movie has to be told at eye level of the children. It should tell what really moves children.

What is your favorite children’s movie?

I think my favorite children’s movie is “The Six Children of Bullerby” by Lasse Hallström. Another movie that I also like a lot is the black-and-white version of “War of Buttons”. And there are some wonderful movies that are not “purely children’s movies”, e.g. “The Grand Highway” by Jean-Loup Hubert and “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet” by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.