Tali Barde is the German director, actor and screenwriter of For No Eyes Only, a movie that will be screened at the German Film Festival 2015 in Vietnam. With the week-long extravaganza kicking off in Hanoi on Sep. 6 and Ho Chi Minh City on Sep. 12, Barde will be in situ to introduce his movie. The man behind the film gives us some insight into his work.
Due to a hockey accident, computer nerd Sam is forced to stay home with a broken leg. Just when he is about to die of boredom, he hits upon some hacking software that enables him access to external webcams. The shy teenager becomes a hidden voyeur and finds out everything about the intimate secrets of his classmates.
Your film For No Eyes Only is a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window. Do you think the 'Master of Suspense' would have held his breath while watching your film?
Tali Barde: At least I hope he didn’t turn over in his grave. Honestly I believe Hitchcock would have had a lot to object to the film. As many filmmakers including myself, he was a perfectionist and for sure he would have done some things differently. But right from the start our demand was to find our own style and to tell the story in our own language. Even though I work in a similar way as Hitchcock – taping the settings in advance, planning them down to the last detail and composing the scenes– wanting to hold a candle to the 'Master of Suspense' at the age of twenty would be presumptuous.
Out of fear of people like Sam, the protagonist of your film, some people cover their webcam with tape. How do you protect yourself against hackers?
Recently I moved to another flat and now I live to the rear with a backyard – similar to our source of inspiration Rear Window. It’s absurd but actually I worry more about the curious eyes of my neighbors than about the security of my computer. At the same time I constantly catch myself standing on my balcony, gazing at my neighbors. Somehow that’s even a great thing: this curiosity is just human. But computer hackers usually have much worse intentions and that’s why an anti-virus program and a firewall are required.
Your debut film gained a lot of attention in Germany as well as internationally. Now you are going to introduce your film in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, also fielding questions from the audience. Which questions do you hear most often?
Indeed,there are some questions being asked over and over again and meanwhile I would probably miss them if they wouldn’t come up. Front runners are: Is the father dead in the end or is he not? When will the second part be released? How did Aaron know about the garden gnome? For the latter one, each time I hope it won’t be asked, but there is always someone who is watching attentively.
Have you ever been to Vietnam? Do you have any expectations on this country and what are you looking forward to?
Unfortunately I’ve never been to Vietnam or any other part of Asia before. That’s why I’m greatly excited and looking forward to the journey! I’ve heard many positive things about the country. My older brother has been to Vietnam and he already gave me some insider tips. So I think I’m expecting a totally different culture, probably it’s a little louder, more colorful and cordial than what I’m used to in Germany. Apart from that I will just come with an open mind.
What advice do you have for emerging filmmakers?
I think that every filmmaker has the same advice for junior talents but it’s true: Just do it! You can’t learn how to make a film from a book. Watching other films is really important and instructive but the only way to finally get your own style evolves from trial and error and an eagerness to experiment. It requires courage and endurance. I still see myself as an emerging filmmaker and I struggle almost every day to hold on to my visions and my dream. Above all, there isn’t one 'correct' formula or one 'correct' style, except: There are good and there are bad films and even this is in the eye of the beholder.
As a special guest of the German Film Festival 2015 in Vietnam, Tali Barde will present his film For No Eyes Only in Hanoi on Wednesday, Sep. 9 and Ho Chi Minh City Saturday, Sep. 12. A discussion with the audience will be followed after the screening. For more information visit goethe.de/german-filmfestival-vietnam.de. Free tickets for the film festival are available at the Goethe-Institut Hanoi from Sep. 1 at noon. At the Goethe-Institut in HCMC they will be available from Sep. 7 at 10am. Information for the other venues is listed here.