Florian Galenberger, the director behind “John Rabe”, made his first comedy, a historical thriller about the Nanking massacre in China and a political thriller “Colonia” based in Chile against the backdrop of the 1973 military coup.
“It’s Just a Phase, Honey,” which had its world premiere at the Zurich Film Festival, starring Christoph Maria Herbst and Christian Paul, shows a ridiculous view of a married couple who, in mid-life crisis, try a divorce.
The film is a best-seller adaptation of Maxim Leo and Joachim-Martin Gotts, consisting of 25 short, unconnected episodes. Galenberger and co-author Malte Welding had to create a major plotline that included various scenes from the book.
“We had and had some freedom to turn the novel into a story instead of 25 fun moments,” explains Galenberger.
Having fun in a crowd of around fifty, the film fights the questions and anxieties of aging. “It’s an attitude towards life: you’re not as young as before but you don’t think you’re old – you’re in the middle,” Galenberger said. “Am I young? Am I old? And the whole insecurity of looking back, ask yourself, ‘What was it? Something new is coming?’ I think it’s something I can relate strongly to in my own life.
Herbst, known for his stellar role in the German version of the hit series “Stromberg”, “The Office” and for his impeccable comic timing, made Galenberger’s first comedy an enjoyable experience.
“He’s a great partner,” the filmmaker insisted. “With Christophe Maria Herbst we had someone who is a great comedian, who has done a lot of comedy and who is an actor who knows very well what he is doing and how. In the most positive way he has an amazing awareness of himself. It gives a sense of belonging – knowing that we will find the right way to tell this story together and make his character believable and at the same time very funny. “
Paul is similarly brilliant in her role as a wife in an effort to gain more experience from life. Although not widely known as a comedian, Paul has a very comedic gene, Galenberger added. (In fact, he recently performed those chops in a small but significant role in the French-Belgian-German comedy series “Parliament”.)
“We just enjoyed that everyone was able to bring something to the party that enhanced the whole thing.”
Produced by Benjamin Herman of Majestic Film Productions, the company he runs with Galenberger sells the beta movie “It’s Just a Phase, Honey” internationally. The movie was released on October 1 in German cinemas by Majestic Filmverlih.
Galenberger and Herman are keen to join the cast for follow-up, depending on the performance of the film. “We love the characters,” he said, adding that it would be a shame not to take them on a new adventure. “If that happened then it would be a good idea to continue with something that was enjoyable for everyone.”
Galenberger is also working on a very different project, the modern adaptation of the 1948 book “Jane in the Art of Archery” by Eugene Herzel, a professor of German philosophy.
Describing it as a classic novel in Zen Buddhist literature, Galenberger noted that the book does not really have a plot but rather describes the experience of Kido, a Japanese archery student studying the art of Japanese archery, under Geran Gera in the 1920s.
“This book is one of the most important books in my life,” he says.
Galenberger is creating a plotline for the film that incorporates key elements of the book, such as the relationship between student and master, and it places the story in the present day. If all goes well, he hopes to shoot the film by the end of next year. The current Covid-1 restrictions, however, make it difficult to travel to Japan for the necessary research. A large part of the story will also be set in the country.
Additionally, Galenberger plans to reunite with actor Ulrich Tuku, who starred in “John Rabe” and also appeared in “It’s Just a Phase, Honey” for an installment in German publisher ARD’s long-running “Tartar” crime drama movie series.