In the Fade (2017): Fatih Akin on his Revenge Film, Starring Diane Krueger

German filmmaker Fatih Akin returns to the Cannes Film Fest competition with In the Fade, a contemporary drama about a woman who takes revenge after her husband and son are murdered by the neo-Nazi group, National Socialist Underground (NSU).

NSU still active in Germany?

Fatih Akin: We have this very strange case, a scandal right now, involving neo-Nazis and right-wing extreme right groups in the German army. German soldiers, whose political background is extreme right, created fictional personalities. Pretending to be Syrian refugees, they were planning bomb attacks, in order to blame the refugees as terrorists, so the state wouldn’t let refugees in anymore. That was their aim. These things are happening right now.

Personal film?

Collaborating with Josh Homme of the US rock group Queens of the Stone Age

Akin: When I was writing this, I was listening to a lot of music by Queens of the Stone Age. I had the feeling that this could be the music that the character was listening to, It has a self-destructive attitude and somehow the film is about self-destruction. I sent him a very early version of the film. He immediately called back saying he loved it and was blown away and that he would like to put his hands on it. We phoned maybe four or five times, sent 10 emails back and forth and then I had the music. It was a very uncomplicated, fast and very clean process of working.

Casting German actress Diane Kruger in her first German film

Akin: I met her in 2012 at the Cannes Film Fest. We liked each other. In Germany, she’s not known as an actress. In Germany, she’s more like an “It” girl, a Karl Lagerfeld model. Casting her here in Germany was a very unusual act. Although she’s German, she’s like an outsider here, so it was attractive to have this for my cast, to make people here in Germany curious. I like the way she looks. I like the way she has this real German face; blonde, blue eyes, this Aryan face. I like the idea that a real Aryan fights against Nazis. Somehow it adds another layer.