Lucy, a privileged North American in contemporary Berlin, living a life of post Punk hedonism, roams the streets with her best friend, Derek. Together they use the city like a playground, a stage, and a never ending party. Into their lives enters Galia, a young Israeli woman carrying the promise of a better, cleaner way of living.
A tribute to Punk underground films turns into a melodrama in “Saturn Returns”, mirroring Lucy and Galia’s modulating states of mind. Their look into each other’s life and culture, becomes an investigation of empty facades.
The shooting of this film took place in December 2007 in Israel and in Februrary 2008 in Berlin, with professional and non-professional actors and a budget of about €2,000. The film was shot and edited by the director, with only one more crew member on set, usually the script co-author, Imri Kahn. All public spaces (including streets, museums, shops, bars) were shot “as is”, with no interventions and no extras.
One of the objectives of the film was to create a modulating film language that adapts to the states of mind of the characters. The production adjusted itself to every part of the film, sometimes immitating documentary approaches and sometimes setting a framework where scripted dialogue was enacted within a pre-planned shooting.
The actors, on their side, toyed with the tensions between their personal lives and their characters’ personas, with shifting boundries. The film is set within a social scene of the Kreuzberg neighboorhood in Berlin, where Chloe Griffin (Lucy), Joshua Bogle (Derek) and most of the cast live. The actress Tal Meiri (Galia) came from Israel to Berlin to play the part of the outsider newcomer. Believing that the production and the formal language of a film convey a state-of-mind and ideology, “Saturn Returns” presents to the viewer a collision of different interpretations of reality through the relationship of Galia and Lucy.
One of the main purposes for me in making “Saturn Returns” was to investigate contemporary multi-culturalism in a central western city, and to use the relations between the people portrayed in the film in order to ask whether what we conceive of as “inter-cultural” only disguises what has already become one global social-class system. Is there only one culture, one system, or are there still multiple cultures?
If this centralized system of multi-culturism exists, it would naturally assist maintaining a political economic status quo in the guise of multi-culturalism. However, other groups or individuals, that we would first imagine were only victims of this system, can use it too, as a tool. For example, immigrants trumpeting traditional values and reactionary ideals in order to better assimilate in their new environment or in order to free themselves from the rules of a system that does not seek their benefit.
Berlin, as the main setting for this story, brings its own troubled history into the mix, both as the home-base of one of the greatest “culturally” motivated crimes in history, and as it was immediately afterwards controlled by two opposite economic and political systems that co-existed for almost half a century.
These histories, un-functional shadows of value systems, are the broken tools befitting scattered peoples, who lost their self-proclaimed persona. These are the people that are portrayed in this film.
93 minutes, HD, Germany / Israel 2009
Written by Imri Kahn, Lior Shamriz
Assistant Director: Imri Kahn
Sound Design: Assaf Gidron, Jochen Jezussek
Color: Sander Houtkruijer