The short feature 'Nothing compares to (E)U' directed by Eline Gehring
Crystal Beth is a story about the last European night, told as an excessive trip into one’s own heart of darkness. BETH (27) is a Brit living in Berlin for several years. In the night of Brexit, when Britain finally leaves the European Union, she is suddenly faced with terrifying questions concerning her own identity. Desperate, she asks her boyfriend to marry her while they’re having intercourse. He thinks it’s all part of their frivolous game and when he realises that Beth is serious he is completely overstrained. Disappointed and also trying to cope Beth ends their relationship on the spot and hurls herself into the Berlin nightlife. Together with her friend ANNA (28) she experiences a night that no one will remember. But above excessive partying and more spontaneous proposals there always hovers the unbearable question of who we want to be.
Changing the style in one scene:
When I first read the script there were a lot of things that came into my mind. What kind of a person is Beth (Tala Gouveia) ? What is she doing in Berlin? What is important to show and how should we tell the story of that night? We (Eline and me) thought a lot about finding the right concept for that night. We decided to start with a static camera, not showing our protagonists from in front. Along the story the camera style develops into more and more movement (from slow Zooms to tracking shots on a dolly) and we show Beth closer and more frontal, until Beth is rushing against the stream of people Berlin with a dynamic and improvised hand camera. The climax scene, when Beth is singing 'Thing Twice' of Celine Dion was my biggest concern. A lot of extras, just one long tracking shot, we could't get into location beforehand so a lot of things to be concerned. But in the end that scene was one of the most easiest ones to shoot. In order to get it done quickly I had to came up with a very simple light setup. We used 6 Asteras Pixel Tubes at the side of the 'dance floor' and two behind Beth singing on stage. There was a projection on stage with a 4500 Lumen projector. For atmosphere we used a hazer on low intensity. When the camera was tracking in, the light on the dance floor changed from 'Fincher' green to red, the two tubes behind her from lavender to 'Fincher' green. After rehearsing the scene a couple of times, we did 6 takes, I got some goosebumps, than we did the reverse shot on the crowd and that was it for the first part of the scene. Thx to 2nd AD Clara von Arnim, she did great work staging all the extras.
I always wanted to change the camera style during a scene. That scene was the best opportunity to realise it! When the camera is close to Beth, a guy jumps on stage, grabs Beth's microphone and starts with the countdown to midnight. In that moment, when Beth is emotionally into the song, she gets totally distracted and leaves the stages, goes through the crowd and leaves the Pub. The camera jumps into a profile shot on hand camera and leaves with her in profile the location. When I was operating the camera I also got totally distracted by the sudden change of the atmosphere. I was into the scene.
Two suns in the sky:
There was another interesting decision for the last scene. It is nearly the end of the night, the transition from night to day, blue hour. Beth is sitting at her most favourite spot, next to the river. Her best friend Anna (Amelie Kiefer) is joining her, accompanying her in that moment. It was pretty clear to shoot it during blue hour. We had 6 shots on our list. Two shots towards west, four towards east. Beforehand I was there testing the natural light at sunset. It was a beautiful light towards west, but in the other direction it looked awful. I asked the team if it was possible to have a short night (3 hours...) and film the reverse shot during blue hour in the morning, towards east. I was lucky, they all agreed and the weather was perfect as well. There are two suns in the sky.
It was an exhausting shoot but with a lot of new experiences! Thx to Eline, my crew and everyone who helped us to realise that film!
Cast: Tala Gouveia, Amelie Kiefer, Maximilian Hildebrandt, Virginia von Hartmann, Lucie Aron, Ilker Abay, Elena Herzog, Ruth Bickelhaput
Director: Eline Gehring
1st AD: Margarita Filipenko
2nd AD: Clara Arnmin
Script Continuity: Natalie Garcia
Screenplay: Sebastian Ladwig
Director of Photography: Konstantin Minnich
Gaffer: David Schmitt, Lydia Richter
Best Boy: Malte Siepen
Electrician: Ole Walkowitsch, Karim Rieg
Dolly Grip: Edoardo Scussel, Ben Bernhardt
Dolly Grip Assistance: Diego
1st AC: Thomas Amann, Belek Wunderlich
2nd AC: Victoria Schüth
Set Sound: Frieder Unselt, Alexander Reisenauer
Boom: Fabian Marschelewski, Anna Rosnowska
Trainee: Michael Kraeft
Set Design: Tatiana Bastos
Styling: Sophia Sigel
Hair and Make up: Carlotta Ohlhoff
Producer: Tamara Erbe, Maximilian Seidel
Production assistance: Elena Herzog, Lea Zippel