If you are going to make a short, rule number one is, obviously, to make it as short as you possibly could. We all know shorts where they just tried to put too much into. I believe it is a wrong approach to overfill a short with three different plot lines, ten characters and twelve twists.
When Katharina von Weber and I decided to make a short, we started looking for some plot that could happen within a very short time. The difficulty was that, whenever you wish to create emotions, you need plenty of time: to develop the characters, create an authentic arc and so forth. If the story is not given enough time, the audience might get your idea but they will not get emotionally involved.
Eventually we came up with the idea of a young suicide victim, who, in dying, remembers the events that drove her into killing herself. The opportunity was that we could tell that whole tragic story by just showing the key moment of each incident; composing a silent film out of the visual memories of our protagonist.
When we started preparing the script for “Endless Silence”, I felt that we had to create a strong visual contrast between the frame plot – the suicide – and the portrayal of her memories. I did not want to stylize the memory-sequence in an old fashioned way like using fog-filters, flashing etc. and decided to create contrast by the use of opposing locations. Our protagonist’s memories bring us from the sallow bathroom right into the bright light of a winter’s day. We where lucky enough to have that wonderful snow when we shot and Katharina brought in that amazing red jacket of hers which worked nicely against the background of white innocence.
As the story progresses, the pictures become brighter and brighter until, when she is together with the stranger, it appears almost like a dream. This shows how desperately she is in love with him – her salvation from loneliness – and, on the other hand, gave me the chance to create a brutal break when he leaves her by hard-cutting to a dreadful dark shot.
Due to our budget of just 100 Euro we shot everything within one day. With Katharina von Weber and Stefan Faupel I not only had two great actors but also hard working participants behind the camera who assisted me wherever they possibly could. I am very thankful for their enthusiasm without which this project would not have been possible.
In a film with a bleak story like “Endless Silence”, it all depends on catching the inner movements of the characters – in our case: her loneliness, followed by bliss and finally desperation. If we failed to convey those emotions, the whole film would have been in danger to become too dreary. That said, my last words shall be about the fantastic music Vincent Strehlow composed. He splendidly managed to express the feelings of our protagonist.