La robe rouge
When a young wanderer discovers a red dress hanging on a tree, she is immediately fascinated by it. But she has no idea what will happen once she tries it on.
»La robe rouge« (translated to »The Red Dress«) has been made for the 5th edition of Neuchâtel Super 8 Film Festival that took place in October 2023 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The films made for the festival have to be shot on one cartridge of super 8 film stock with only in-camera edits. An original score has to be produced blindly without having seen the film. In French this way of making films is called »tourné-monté«. The films are projected at the festival and the filmmakers experience their films for the very first time together with a live audience.
The film was shot in Le Noirmont in the Jura Mountains and in Basel, Switzerland, in July 2023.
Credits / Collaborators / Cast
A film by LARS KEMNITZ | http://www.larskemnitz.com
Starring MICHÈLE BIELSER
Shot on KODAK EKTACHROME 100 D super 8 film stock
Processing by ANDEC Filmtechnik, Berlin, Germany
Telecine by GRANDMARQUIS, Biel, Switzerland
The story behind the film
When I was in Neuchâtel for the first time two years ago to see my contribution to the Super 8 Film Festival on the big screen, the idea arose that Michèle and I would present a film together at the next edition of the festival. We have known each other for a long time, she lives in Basel, I in Hamburg. The idea stuck in my head and led me to want to shoot in the mountains for the first time ever. And so the concept for “La robe rouge” developed, starting from an image that I had in my mind’s eye; it showed a woman in a red dress in a mountain meadow. So I wrote a short script and sent it to Michèle and she was immediately fascinated and had images in her head, too. The decision to work on the film together in the summer of 2023 was made.
The connection with the well-known fairy tale actually only became clear to me later, but it was a welcome invitation to take the story and make something new out of it. The fairy tale was not at the beginning, but gradually crept into the plot.
We shot the film mostly in Le Noirmont, in the Swiss Jura Mountains, in July 2023. I had never been there before, Michèle had chosen the place. And it was beautiful and ideal for the planned shots. The weather cooperated too and so it became a wonderful little adventure.
The special thing about the festival in Neuchâtel is that the films are shot on one cartridge of Super 8. When the film is fully exposed after 3 minutes and 20 seconds, it is finished. There is no post production. This means I also had to implement all visible visual effects on site and get creative in advance. Because there is not an obvious easy solution for everything. But in the end, this is exactly where the magic comes from. And you forgive small mistakes that are inevitably inherent to the process.
The film stock used is Kodak Ektachrome. It is considered demanding, but has a very unique aesthetic that gives our images a warm mood that I just love.
The story begins almost documentary-like, but quickly becomes enigmatic and leaves some unanswered questions.
I composed the music myself again and mixed it together with foley and field recordings. The idea was to enrich the sound of a mountain meadow with music that suggests mysterious events and creates suspense. Cozy warm pads meet scratchy strings and crystal-clear bells that are reminiscent of cowbells.
The film celebrated its world premiere in Neuchâtel in October 2023.