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The summer of 1990 is hot in the countryside of Thuringia, in former East Germany. Maria is about to turn 19, lives with her boyfriend Johannes on his parents’ farm and would rather lose herself in books than focus on graduating. There is a sense of a new era dawning with the German reunification, when she bumps into Henner, the farmer next door. One touch is all it takes to ignite an all-consuming passion between Maria and the headstrong, charismatic man twice her age. In an atmosphere buzzing with possibilities, love is born: a secret passion full of longing and desire that devours everything in its path.

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B  I  O  G  R  A  P  H  Y

Emily Atef is a French-Iranian filmmaker who was born in Berlin. She moved to Los Angeles with her family at the age of seven. At 13, she moved to Jura, France, her mother’s hometown. Later she developed a passion for theatre in London, before ultimately settling in Germany to study directing at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB). Her first feature film, MOLLY’S WAY won the German Cinema New Talent Award for best screenplay at the 2005 Munich Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award at the Mar del Plata Film Festival. In 2008, her second feature film THE STRANGER IN ME (DAS FREMDE IN MIR) dealt with a young mother suffering from postnatal depression. It celebrated its world premiere at the Semaine de la Critique Cannes and received several awards.

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In 2011, she was offered a grant from the Cinéfondation of the Cannes Film Festival to write KILL ME (TÖTE MICH), a road movie filmed in Germany and France. In 2018, Emily Atef wrote and directed the feature film 3 DAYS IN QUIBERON (3 TAGE IN QUIBERON). It depicts the three,emotional days during which Romy Schneider gave her last interview to Stern magazine. 3 DAYS IN QUIBERON screened in competition at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival and won seven Lolas at the 2018 German Film Awards, including Outstanding Feature Film and Best Director. In 2021, Emily shot her fifth feature film, which she’d been envisioning for over 10 years: MORE THAN EVER (PLUS QUE JAMAIS), brought to life by outstanding performances from Vicky Krieps, Gaspard Ulliel and Björn Floberg. Filmed in France, Luxembourg, and the far north of Norway, it is an ode to life and love. MORE THAN EVER premiered at the 75th Cannes Film Festival in the 'Un Certain Regard' section. That same year, Emily shot her first literary adaptation, based on SOMEDAY WE’LL TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING (IRGENDWANN WERDEN WIR UNS ALLES ERZÄHLEN) by Daniela Krien. It premieres in competition at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival.

Selected director's filmography:

2022 Some Day We'll Tell Eachother Everything / Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen
2021 Killing Eve (Season 4, 2 Episodes)
2021 More Than Ever
2016  3 Days In Quiberon
2010 Töte Mich
2007 Das Fremde in mir
2005 Molly's Way

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“What I found fascinating in Daniela Krien's novel “Some Day We'll Tell Each Other Everything” is her taboo-breaking portrayal of a young woman's desire, of female desire, with all its facets, and the curiosity of the main character Maria, to test her limits, to understand herself and life, without fear of transgressing moral or social boundaries. The fact that she is allowed to do this as a woman, especially as a young woman, is something I was very interested in bringing to the screen. 

I was also attracted to the challenge of showing the raw, primitive desire between Maria and Henner. Their relationship is an ‘amour fou’, a crazy love between two outsiders from different worlds. Their love is socially unacceptable and takes place in secret but has an unstoppable momentum. The only witness to their forbidden love is nature itself; a timeless landscape that will endure long after the dramatic period of history during which the film is set. 

It is the first summer in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall: a time of chaos, of collapse and of new beginnings, of hope but also resignation. In the countryside, where this story unfolds, the chaos is different, change has a different pace. But we also see here that life paths are about to diverge. Some know how to take advantage of the new opportunities, others are disoriented and some are completely blindsided and will never adjust to the new world ahead. 

Maria is still looking for her place in life, but at this time of turbulent political change she finds it with Henner.  His farm hails from another century and he himself seems stuck in the past. Life has already left deep scars and hardened him. He is a damaged person but the darkness that surrounds Henner attracts Maria. He takes her seriously, does not expect her to move on or to have plans beyond their affair. With her inner strength and the determination of youth, Maria almost succeeds in convincing Henner and us that their impossible love, this ‘Amour Fou’ has a future.”

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“Henner lays his head in my lap with a sigh, and I cover it with my dress. Then he starts to cry. Yes, he cries, and his tears wet my bare legs, which are still trembling. It was the only time I ever saw him like this, and never again. Love made him soft.”
(Maria, Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything)

Conversation with Emily Atef (director/screenwriter)
and Daniela Krien (novelist/screenwriter)

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What do you look for in each other’s art forms? Emily, how do you make use of literature? Daniela, what do film and cinema mean to you? 

Emily Atef: I didn’t read for pleasure until very late in life. Maybe that’s because my family and I spent so much time living in different countries, surrounded by different languages. We were travellers rather than readers, although art and, in particular, music played a big role in our lives. I didn’t really discover the world of books until I was a young adult. Today, literature is a way for me to escape my own world. 

Daniela Krien: For me, it’s exactly the opposite. From the moment I could read, books were as important to me as food and sleep. And reading plays a fundamental role in my life to this day. That might have to do with the fact that I grew up in a village in Saxony with no cinema nearby. I didn’t really come into contact with film until I grew up, and, at first, films mattered far less to me than books. Movies were a way to escape from everyday life, a chance to immerse myself in a world of images and dreams that had nothing to do with my own world. It wasn’t until I went to university that I developed a more profound relationship with film.

Although films are inherently more visually specific than literature, audiences tend to react to both in one of two different ways: they either compare the subject matter with their own experiences, or they leave real life behind and surrender to the fantasy. So when a film director and a novelist meet, this must be an exciting area to explore. What was your experience?

Emily Atef: I was definitely the one who initiated things; I sought out Daniela. Esther Bernstorff, the screenwriter I wrote my first three films with, gifted me the novel Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything in 2012, without anything specific in mind. She just said, “I think you’ll like this.” 

And were you able to read it without thinking “cinematically”?

Emily Atef: I didn’t want to but it somehow automatically happened. I had already read several books that I thought might be suitable for a film adaptation. But when I read this book, I could see almost the entire film. That was down to Daniela’s style, which is very precise and minimalistic. The dialogue and the descriptions of the characters are very cinematic and possess a unique poetry. I felt a strong, almost physical urge: I just had to do it! Unfortunately, the rights had already been sold… But I stuck to my guns and contacted Daniela directly. It wasn’t so much about the specific project; I simply felt the need to write and tell her how much I liked the world she had created and give her a few insights into my own world. Daniela’s reply came 15 minutes later. I was as excited as if I had received a message from a lover.

Daniela Krien: We met ten days later.

Emily Atef: And immediately fell in love.

Daniela, were you happy to hand over your book to the moviemaking world?

Daniela Krien: To Emily, yes! That’s because we immediately hit it off, both artistically and personally. I had seen Emily’s films and I knew that she would have the right feel for the subject matter and wouldn’t let it slide into kitsch or tacky eroticism. Achieving the right balance with such subject matter is a challenge. 

You even worked together on the screenplay for Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything. How did that come about?

Emily Atef: I love co-authoring the screenplays for my films. And, in this case, I absolutely wanted to work together with Daniela to ensure that her direct access to that world and our constructive exchange could flow into the movie-making process. 

Daniela Krien: I didn’t even know if I could write a screenplay. It was uncharted territory for me. 

Emily Atef: I had no doubts. The novel and its dialogue are already written in such a cinematic way that I was pretty sure Daniela could also write screenplays. Ultimately, I was able to convince her of that. We tried it out on a short film project first – which ended up not being made – and discovered that we worked very well together. 

So how exactly did your collaboration work?

Daniela Krien: From 2014 on, we met regularly face to face. But we weren’t working together yet.

Emily Atef: No, absolutely not! It was about us meeting as people and as women, discussing our dramatically different personal histories and the places that informed the backdrop to our lives. Daniela had always lived in eastern Germany, whereas I had Iranian and French roots and had lived in West Berlin, the United States, France, the UK, and then back in reunified Berlin. So we talked a lot, showed each other our work, met each other’s families, and out of that grew the most natural and straightforward writing collaboration I have ever experienced. And our progress was very rapid. 

Daniela Krien: We never quarrelled. If I had to leave out certain details or threads from my book, Emily was able to easily persuade me of the need to do so. We also shared the work very well. For example, I took on the dialogue of the rural people because that’s something I know a lot about. But I didn’t want to touch the erotic scenes.

Emily Atef: Which are precisely what I love!

Is there a clear leitmotif in the way the two of you approach a new project? Does it start out with stories, themes or characters, or is something else more important?

Daniela Krien: In my case, it’s nothing specific; I start out with no plan at all. But before I actually sit down and write a book, I give myself around two years to collect ideas, have lots of conversations, hear different people’s stories, and absorb the politics and society around me much more intensively. At some point, I feel I have amassed so many impressions, but I still don’t know what the book is going to be about. There might be a question that it centres around, but, as I said, nothing specific. I simply start writing and hope things will flow. 

Emily Atef: For me, it varies. Sometimes ideas come to me, like for 3 Days in Quiberon, sometimes it’s a novel, like with Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything, or it might be a specific topic that I’ve been thinking about for a very long time, like with More Than Ever. If there is a leitmotif for me, it’s probably personal liberation from societal norms and constraints. And all my films to date have basically dealt with fundamental women’s issues. That’s certainly the case in Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything. But I don’t believe that those topics are for women only; I think they’re interesting for men too. 

What did you want the screen adaptation of Daniela’s novel to emphasise?

Emily Atef: The taboo breaking portrayal of a young woman's desire, her sexual desire, with all its facets. Maria is fascinated by Henner and the way he makes her feel, He see’s her and wants her like no one else around her does. He intrigues her and Maria’s wants to test her boundaries. Will she get burned starting a relationship with this man twice her age? Maybe? Maybe not?  She decides to follow her desire, even if it means getting burned and hurting the people who gave her a home. She can not turn back and furthermore she wants to experience this archaic sexual relationship which then slowly becomes a romantic one. And again the fact that she is allowed to do this as a woman, especially as a young woman, is something I was very interested in.  

In the film, Maria is 18 going on 19, rather than 16 going on 17 like in the book. Was that a deliberate concession?

Daniela Krien: Neither of us thought that the age change was really necessary. And, yes, in the end, it was a concession to modern attitudes. It is getting more and more difficult to be completely free in the world of art. Even during the creative process, we are often already considering possible reactions – because they can be so merciless and destroy livelihoods. But that kind of self-censorship has a negative impact on any kind of creative work. Art doesn’t have to be morally irreproachable.

Emily Atef: There were doubts – of course there were! But in the end, it was about showing the story in all its complexity – not only in Germany, but internationally, too. We wanted to avoid the risk of this film being reduced down to its sexual component. 

Daniela Krien: We spent a long time pondering how important it was for Maria to be 16. Couldn’t she just as well be 18? We could make her two years older and still tell the same story. In the end, it was a compromise that didn’t have any impact on our artistic integrity. And that’s why we did it.

Emily Atef: Apart from that, we very much wanted Marlene Burow to play Maria. You just need to look at her to see how mature and profound her screen presence is. She doesn’t seem 16 or 17 to me – I wouldn’t buy it.

Let’s stay on the topic of Marlene Burow. Legendary German photographer Ute Mahler once did a fashion shoot with her and describes her in unique and powerful terms: “Marlene carries a secret inside her – when she speaks, when she moves, when you look into her eyes. There is always more to decipher; she always remains somewhat of a mystery.” What might you have to add to that?

Emily Atef: In the preliminary stages, I was looking at lots of young women for the role. I didn’t know Marlene yet, but I immediately noticed one thing: she has something very fresh and natural about her, but, at the same time, something powerful and down to earth. I didn’t want a fragile creature who would quickly appear as a victim. What interests me about Marlene is her gift for minimalist acting. That’s exactly what I wanted for Maria. We spent a lot of time together, talked a lot and tried out many things. Marlene had done a great deal of preparation for this role – I was very impressed by how seriously she took the work. That meant that as soon as we started shooting, she could let loose and instantly become Maria. She was fairly inexperienced – having played only one other major role in a feature film – but I could see her talent. Also, she has an old soul. And she is a really great person too.

The film takes place in 1990, in a rural area of the GDR just before its collapse. Was it difficult to strike a balance between the actual period and a sense of timelessness, and between the actual location and a universal sense of place?

Emily Atef: At the heart of this film is the romance between Maria and Henner. It’s the kind of relationship the French call l’amour fou: it’s crazy and can only end in tragedy. This backdrop of social chaos – this bizarre time when everyone is experiencing rapid and daunting change – helps the story along but also makes it universal and timeless. 

Why does Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything even take place in 1990 and in the GDR?

Daniela Krien: As I said before, when I start writing, I don’t have a specific concept of what I want it to be. And it was no different here. What I saw in my mind’s eye was a village in Thuringia, during the months between the fall of the Wall and German Reunification. And so I just went along with the film that was playing inside my head. Maybe that’s why Emily found the novel so cinematic. As I was writing, I realised that the time during which the story was taking place – that unique summer of 1990 – was important for the development of my protagonist. This was the only time Maria could have had such incredible freedom, because the people around her were so preoccupied with their own problems. Even Maria’s mother is disorientated and trying to find her way, and is therefore not paying proper attention to what her daughter is up to. 

Author Clemens Meyer wonderfully describes the chaos and social vacuum of those times – albeit in a big city, Leipzig – in his novel As We Were Dreaming, which Andreas Dresen adapted for the screen in 2015. The novel also addresses this contrast between dynamic youth and disorientated adults. Daniela, at that time, you were 15 and living in rural Saxony. Did writing the novel and the screenplay awaken powerful memories for you?

Daniela Krien: It was particularly intense for me during shooting. Until then, I hadn’t realised that the location that had been chosen for Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything was just a few kilometres from the place I’d had in mind when writing. 

Emily Atef: It was a total coincidence, but perhaps, in the end, it was a kind of magic. Our set designer Beatrice Schultz was location scouting in Thuringia and was actually just trying to find a place to stay the night. But then she passed through “our” village and saw “our” farms. 

Daniela Krien: When I visited the set, I drove through the places where I spent my youth. It was strange: both nice and not so nice at the same time – after all, that’s how I remember it. 

Maria is a strong protagonist in the book and Marlene Burow plays her as a strong character in the film. The story develops from her thoughts and her point of view. The really difficult role is Henner; taking him on was a tough task for actor Felix Kramer. What makes Henner such a challenge?

Emily Atef: Setting the boundaries of how far Henner wants to go and will go, and to what extent Maria can and will let it happen. Ensuring she always has the opportunity to leave a situation she is not comfortable with. To depict Henner as a traumatised, damaged, charismatic, rough, broken and vulnerable person who is genuinely in love with Maria – perhaps more so than in the book.

Daniela Krien: For me, it was difficult to allow Henner his ambivalence. He is extremely contradictory and I didn’t want to smooth out his rough edges, including in relation to his sexuality. Sex isn’t always gentle. Both men and women push the limits between their own inherent desires and what society allows them to desire. And Henner really stretches those boundaries. But I didn’t want him to lose the audience’s sympathy.

Henner is not a one-dimensional ruffian and drunkard. He reads books, he listens to Maria, he speaks about his painful experiences with his mother. And Maria is genuinely interested in him, curious about him. 

Daniela Krien: With his help, she tests out her own boundaries too. Actually, she uses him more than he uses her. 

Emily Atef: Books can take things further than films. In the book, Henner is more brutal than how we depict him in the film, I think. In the film, we just see a door closing; what happens behind that door is left to our imaginations. Felix did an amazing job.

Film presents wordless moments that rely more on gestures, touching and facial expressions. The power of wordlessness is a major element in Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything.

Emily Atef: More and more, my films are making use of silence, of the quiet moments between words. I find it exciting to give my characters and my actors the space to act out situations without speaking. Desire and attraction, in particular, need no words. 

Why does Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov make an appearance in your story?

Daniela Krien: Between the ages of 16 and 20, I read everything Dostoyevsky wrote. I chose to give Maria The Brothers Karamazov because it says a lot about her, about her demands on herself, her development, her ambition and the ways out of her situation. Maria reads this complex work of literature in a rather simplistic way, but from an angle that is right for her. She relates in particular to Grushenka’s love story. Maria compares herself to the fiery, seemingly wicked Grushenka.

More so than to her own mother, who – despite still being young herself – succumbs to the chaos and social vacuum of 1990. Depicting this character and her part in the story is quite a balancing act.

Emily Atef: Hannah was a very important character for me. Her apathy is a major reason why Maria runs away from her and goes to live with Johannes and the down-to-earth characters at the Brendels’ farm, ultimately ending up with Henner. But we do allow Hannah to develop as a character: when Maria is in a bad place and really needs her mother, Hannah takes her life into her own hands, which makes her stronger.

Emily, in all your films it is important that the women who suffer through such existential crises are eventually given a spark of hope. What is Maria’s?

Emily Atef: She will leave the village and develop greater self-confidence because she has already experienced what will be the most extreme love story of her life. She will now have a better idea of what she wants and what kind of man is right for her. And someday she’ll be able to tell the tale of that heady summer of 1990. 

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M A R L E N E   B U R O W

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Marlene Burow, born in Berlin at the turn of the millennium, is one of the most interesting acting discoveries of 2022. Since 2019 she gained her first shooting experience and was soon able to convince Aelrun Goette to entrust her with the leading role in the feature film IN EINEM LAND, DAS ES NICHT MEHR GIBT. The film, set in the GDR in 1989, tells the story of an 18-year-old young woman who comes into conflict with the authorities and finds herself robbed of all her dreams for the future when she is discovered as a model by a random photo and a completely new world is opened to her at the legendary fashion magazine Sibylle. Marlene Burow embodies this young Suzie overwhelmingly. She is accompanied by Jördis Triebel, David Schütter, Sabin Tambrea, Claudia Michelsen and many more. The film was released in early October 2022. Marlene Burow has already shot her second major leading role: Emily Atef cast her in her new film SOMEDAY WE’LL TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING, based on the novel of the same name by Daniela Krien, alongside Felix Kramer. This is in the Competition of the upcoming Berlinale and will be released in cinemas in March 2023. In September 2022, Marlene Burow began her acting studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy".

F E L I X   K R A M E R

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At the end of 2018, the series "Dogs of Berlin" appeared on Netflix with Felix Kramer as Commissioner Kurt Grimmer, and his portrait was omnipresent in the capital: it could be seen on S-Bahn trains, buses, and even on construction fences. Since then, one can no longer avoid the actor Felix Kramer. After his Ernst Busch training, he first had theater engagements, including at the Stuttgart State Theater, where he stayed until 2005, before moving to the German Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. Here he appeared in numerous productions (Goethe, Dumas, Brecht, Shakespeare) and also for "Dorfpunks" after Rocko Schamonis' novel of the same name (directed by Studio Braun) he was on stage. From 2008, Felix Kramer worked as a freelance actor, including at the Munich People's Theater, the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, and the Schauspiel Leipzig.

Since the mid-2000s, the native East Berliner has played various TV roles, including various crime stories. In 2014, he appeared with Ronald Zehrfeld in Feo Aladag's war drama "Zwischen Welten" about German soldiers in the Afghanistan deployment. The film celebrated its world premiere as part of the competition of the International Film Festival Berlin. In 2016, he was seen as police chief Furrer in six episodes of the crime series "The Zurich Crime." In 2017, Felix Kramer's career took off with a lead role in Urs Egger's TV crime "A child is being sought." The same year, the multi-award-winning Netflix series "Dark" was broadcast, in which he has since played the time traveler Tronte Nielsen. In 2018, the actor portrayed the role of the East Berlin policeman Kurt Grimmer in Christian Alvart's Netflix series "Dogs of Berlin." Also under the direction of Alvart, he played the lead role of retired detective Markus Bach, who investigates in 1992 in the gray east of Germany, in the thriller "Freies Land" (2020) - a remake of the Spanish thriller "La isla mínima" by Alberto Rodríguez from 2014 relocated to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. For this role, the versatile actor gained about 20 kilograms. Since 2020 you can see him in the highly praised sitcom "Waiting for the Bus" - a series about "people in the waiting loop, parked, full of longing and emotions".

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Marlene Burow as Maria
Felix Kramer as Henner

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Director: Emily Atef
Writers: Emily Atef, Daniela Krien
Cinematography: Armin Dierolf
Film Editor: Anne Fabini
Production Design: Beatrice Schultz
Costume Design: Gitti Fuchs
Hair & Make-up: Monika Münnich, Astrid Mariaschk
Sound: Magnus Pflüger
Music: Christoph M. Kaiser, Julian Maas
Artistic Contribution: Josune Hahnheiser
Sound Design: Kai Tebbel
Sound Editor: Matthias Lempert
Casting: Simone Bär, Alexandra Montag, Jacqueline Rietz
Photography: Peter Hartwig
Line Producer: Christian Fürst
Production Manager: Richard Heinecke
Commissioning Editors: Meike Götz, Birgit Kämper,
Cooky Ziesche, Katharina Dufner
Producer: Karsten Stöter
Co-Producer: Emily Atef

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Duration: 132 min
Aspect Ratio:  1:2.39
Format: DCP
Sound:  xxx
Year: 2023
Original language: German
Country of production: Germany
Production Companies: ROW Pictures GmbH
Co-production Companies: xxx
With the support of: xxx

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