Grey Goose Cocktails and Conversation: In The Fade

Fatih Akin, Writer/Director/Producer, and Diane Kruger

It’s not everyday you get to have cocktails with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, like Rachel McAdam, Jessica Chastain, Benedict Cumberbatch and Diane Kruger. So when I got invited to Grey Goose Cocktails and Conversation during last year’s TIFF, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. These intimate discussion series showcased the vision, inspiration and creativity of the best in film. Not to mention they were set against the backdrop of one of the most stunning views of Toronto’s skyline.

They were all great but I particularly enjoyed the conversation with In The Fade director Fatih Akin and the film’s star, Diane Kruger, who earned a Best Actor nod in Cannes for the role. “In The Fade” also won the Golden Globe and the Critics Choice Award for best foreign language film so I thought this is a perfect time to revisit this great event. The movie has left a very deep impression on me and I had some questions for Diane.

Let me start by saying that “In the Fade” does not tell a happy story but it is a powerful film, and it is elevated by Diane Kruger’s superb performance in the central role. She plays Katja Sekerci, a woman who is out to avenge the death of her husband, Nuri (Numan Acar), and only son, both of whom are killed at the beginning of the film when a nail bomb erupts outside Nuri’s office. It’s not hard to see why Diane won the Best Actress prize at Cannes this year for her performance. Fatih Akin worked really closely with her during the entire process – she even participated in the casting – so I was intrigued to know what she had to say.

… on In The Fade being her first German-language movie:

“This film reconnected me to my culture, I’ve been gone for 25 years. It felt a little foreign, even though I speak the language it started to feel a little foreign. but I felt like I never left, I felt like I’m in my space. The language came back right away and I felt I owned my environment and that is a really good feeling. No matter how many years you lived in France or US I live, I love than culture and American way of life but I know that I’m not. I got that sense that I got home.”

…. on the making of In The Fade:

“This was a dark film for me to go through and I’m still feeling it. I didn’t work for 6 months afterwards. There was a personal lost in my life while we were filming that kind of made it worse in feeling grief, I don’t have children but I feel huge amount of empathy with the character. Talking to people was really vital. I wasn’t 100% convinced sure if I could do this but Fatih pushed me. As time went on, when he realized how much I was invested in it, the trust became so big and he felt my commitment and I felt his trust in me and you give each other wings.” 

… on relating to her character:

“Any movie is just a proposition of following the character’s journey. I don’t judge my character’s journey, as I was playing it and understood where is she coming from but I don’t know what I would have done.”

… on the significance of different emotions in creating compelling scenes: 

“It has to be everything. When you feel empathy for your character whether you play a villain or a victim, you have to find something in every character you identify with. It’s the layers, I think older I get, the more empathy you have with your characters and you bring more layers of your own personal life experience into it.

… on what brought her back to enjoying life after shooting such a tender yet heartbreaking drama:

“Life brought me out of it.. My life is lighter, I just needed time to live life and feel the lightness, and feeling the real connection with the women who’ve seen the movie was really light. It stays with you no matter you feel about the movie. It’s not a light movie to watch but it’s really rare that you have a movie that people connect on an emotional level. It stays with you. Doesn’t matter if you think the movie is the best thing you’ve ever seen but on emotional level, I think it doesn’t leave you in different. We all live in this world and it’s so timely I think you can’t help but think about what you would do.”

By Barbora

Slovakia-born, Toronto-dwelling fashion lover. A fashion consultant, freelance writer, red carpet reporter and the creator behind ChiChi.