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Past Article

A Particular Sensibility
By Nina Rehfeld
September 25, 2002 - 2:40 PM PDT

"What have you seen of Africa on film?"

You live on three different continents, is that right? Africa part of the time, the USA and India?

That is true.

Are you planning on doing a film on another culture?

I hope not. I hope I don't become this Benetton style filmmaker. I would die. So, no, I really have no intention to spin the globe and say, "That one!"

But you might be attracted to the idea of making a film as an outsider.

I do want to make a big film in Africa one day. Because I really feel like a daughter of that continent. And God knows, what have you seen of Africa on film? What have you seen that really tells you what it's really like? The contemporary continent? It's terrible. I get all these offers and it's all about white neuroses with an African backdrop. I mean, even now, there's a poster downstairs for Nowhere in Africa... Well, anyway. That's one of my dreams. But I'm not actively seeking to make films about other continents.

So how do you synchronize your life on three continents?

You know, it must appear daunting, but it's like this film. It's very global. My family comes to visit me in New York all the time and then we go to Africa in the summer, and it's really hot in India then, so the family comes to visit. It's very fluid. Culturally, it's not disorienting. You get used to it.

Do you have a home anymore?

I have three homes. Actively. Really. I have clothes in every closet, I don't have to carry luggage. I dress mostly in Indian clothes. It suits me more. Of course in the winter in New York, more western stuff. And the only other clothes I wear are Japanese. Japanese is the only other non-Indian stuff that I like and that suits me.

Monsoon Wedding

Is it true that you have a yoga teacher on the set?

Yes, and here in Berlin. Everywhere.

You do yoga all the time?

Yes. At least four times a week. Eight hours a week.

What kind?

Iyengar yoga, only Iyengar yoga. Yoga is very physical and rigorous. Especially when we're shooting a film like this one, very mad, it promotes a kind of egolessness, a real stamina and endurance and focus and calm -- and I'm too old to finish movies being wrecked. So, it's become a part of my life. Since I am a producer, I can make it happen. I put it into my contract when we did this other American film. We had a great teacher. The wonderful thing is having the movie star and the transport captain, everybody doing yoga in the morning. It creates a great sense on the set; it changes the hierarchical quality on the set. That's not the only reason I do it; it's more for internal well-being, really. I think it just keeps me in harmony.

Photos: Mirabai Films

back to past articles >>>

"...but it works."
"I'm not from Bollywood, really."
"Frankly, I don't give a shit about weddings."
"What have you seen of Africa on film?"

back to past articles


Nina Rehfeld
A freelance journalist based in Berlin, Nina Rehfeld's reviews, interviews and articles have been published in several major German papers and magazines. For more info, see the Kulturbotschaft.

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