Director of Vampire on the couch David Rühm has been the guest of this year’s Szemrevaló film festival. After having watched the movie, we were very curious, how vampires, relationship issues and Freud can be put together into a movie – so that it will be, as an addition, extremely hilarious. So we interviewed him – see the result below!
DailyNewsHungary: How do you like it here in Hungary?
David Rühm: It is not my first time actually, but tomorrow I will already be leaving. Today is the screening of my movie, that’s why I’m here. After the screening I will also meet the audience.
DailyNewsHungary: I really liked your movie. It’s a very complicated movie – there are two pairs, one of them are vampires, the other ones „normal people”, plus Freud „personally”, and all these caracters have different motivations, there are a lot of conflicts of their interests. So there is this vampire-thing, the Freud-thing, the things couples usually have… How did all these come together to be a movie?
David Rühm: It started very simply. I had a simple thought in the nineties, that it must be terrible for the vampires not being able to see themselves in the mirror, and I’ve even seen a movie about it. So it made me thinking: vampires live for hundreds of years, so if you never see yourself in hundreds of years, what happenes to you personality? From this idea I came to the mirror-theory of Jacques Lacan. He was a psychologist in the 1930’s. According to his theory, when a child recognizes him- or herself in the mirror, that is when he or she becomes a person – when they realize it is them and their reflections. From this theory I got to Freud, which I thought was funny, I mean, the psychoanalysis of a vampire… Plus, vampires have a lot of freudian things: they can fly, which Freud thought was an erotic thing – when a human dreams about flying – and a lot of other things. For example, the must of counting objects: the vampires have this tick to count objects. I was wondering why nobody ever made a movie about that, because I found it so obvious. So the whole concept started with these thoughts, but the main theme of the story is projections. The vampire woman cannot see herself in the mirror so she depends on her husband, he has to describe how she looks. What happenes: when he describes her the way he wants her to look, she becomes a person he wants her to be. That’s why there is the other couple, the painter who paints her girlfriend the way he wants her to look. So I was playing with these projections – in relationships and in situations when you change because of someone else. In the beginning of the movie, Lucy, the painter’s girlfriend is the only normal person who likes herself. And in the end she also have a tick with her haircut…
DailyNewsHungary: In these relationships of the two couples, the issues are still very everyday issues.
David Rühm: Yes, the vampires fight just like any other couple, only they have superpowers which they can use against each other – althought they are also thrownig glasses against each other… And I also like comedies from the 30’s – a lot of them are about couples fighting. And of course there are a lot of personal experienc. People want to change each other.
DailyNewsHungary: So how long did it take for you to develop this script?
David Rühm: It took very long, seven years, but I was not writing every day. When I started up with it, it was very difficult to raise money for a vampire-movie. It is now already over again, there have been too many vampire-movies and it killed the genre. And I know it was going to be an expensive movie concerning austrian budget, so we cooperated with Switzerland. So it also took time to get the money that was needed.
DailyNewsHungary: Well, it can be seen that there is some VFX, but other than that, I wouldn’t think it was an extremely expensive movie…
David Rühm: But there are hidden things as well. First I wanted to shoot the whole movie in studios, the same exact way the movies in the 1930’s were shot. But it would have been too expensive, therefore, we couldn’t do it, only partially. The scenes we shot on the streets of Vienna, I tried to make them look like as if they were shot in the studio: a few passangers walking by, and so on, a little artificial. So I can say, almost every shot have special effects on them. Sometimes you don’t even see it, sometimes something has just been taken away, so you don’t miss it, because you don’t know something more was there.
DailyNewsHungary: Still, the visual athmosphere of the movie is very homogenic.
David Rühm: It was important for me to be so. We storyboarded every single shot to avoid running out of time.
DailyNewsHungary: Did you write the script alone or were there some braingstormings with anyone else?
David Rühm: I wrote the first draft completely by myself and the main elements were in it. But then of course I discussed it with my dramaturg, for example, who told me if something didn’t work.
DailyNewsHungary: The dialogues?
David Rühm: Not really, rather the construction of the story, because the story, as you said, is very complicated. And it was important for me to tell it in a simple way. So I didn’t want to make a movie that can be understood and enjoyed by only those knowing everything about Freud, for instance.
DailyNewsHungary: Still, I cannot even imagine how someone can figure out such a story…
David Rühm: Me neither! – he laughs. – But you come from one thing to another, and it starts happening.
DailyNewsHungary: Now there is another aspect of your work that made me wonder: you started your carreer as a photographer, is that right?
David Rühm: No, not really, I started making my first movie when I was 10-11 years old. I always wanted to make movies, I was fascinated by movies all my life. I was too young for a film school when I was 15, but I was old enough for a photography course. So that was my only opportunity at that time, but I thought it was going to be good, because I can learn the technique, the lights, lenses, and so on. After having finished, I threw away all my pictures I made there and wanted to go to a film school but they didn’t take me. So I started working on movies, I really did almost every job you can have, except… no, not exception, I even did acting – he laughs – , so I learnt a lot. When the digital cameras became more and more known, I was amazed by their simplicity so I started making pictures again. So this is my so called side project now, but my love is still the cinema. I have exhibitions, but the series of photos I have, are also very cinematic… There are night scenes, I do it with actors, and it’s like something just happened before the shot. Fortunately by now I can have my photos exhibited in very good galeries.
DailyNewsHungary: But when it comes to a movie, you are rather directing than photographing.
David Rühm: Yes, but I work very closely with the director of photography, which is a good thing for them, too: there is somebody, who understands what they are doing.
DailyNewsHungary: So you don’t want them to make something impossible. They must be very thankful! You can hear a lot of stories about the opposite situation. I saw on IMDb that your movie has been screened at several festivals and premiered in Germaly already…
David Rühm: Well, you can never completely rely on IMDb. There are some movies that I never shot! – he laughs. – Or I wrote the screenplays but the movie has never been shot. But yes, I went to a lot of festivals with this movie. For example, to South Korea. I was very curious how the audience there will react, but it was perfect! There was a huge audience: 3000 people, and they laughed, so it was a great experience. I went to Edinburgh, Brussels, a lot of places and it worked everywhere. I will go to Transylvania in two weeks – that will be fun – , and to Mexico in the end of october.
DailyNewsHungary: Are you working on the next script yet?
David Rühm: Yes, it will be a gengster movie this time!
DailyNewsHungary: No humour, just tough guys?
David Rühm: Of course there will be humour! Somebody always says something stupid and it comes into the story. So it comes in automatically, I can’t help it!
by Noemi Gangel
Source: Daily News Hungary