Exclusive Interview: Monika Treut Talks Of Girls and Horses

Monika TreutToday we are very pleased to welcome Monika Treut to the site in order to spend a few minutes talking about her latest work Of Girls and Horses. If you haven’t yet read our review of the film then just head here. For those of you who are still here then read on for our chat about the film, the psychology of horses and much more…

Hello Monika, thanks for taking some time out to do this interview today! 

Hi James, thanks for your smart review of my film!

In my eyes it seems that you use the horses to act as communication tools for the characters. They particularly advance and grow, both inwardly as well as outwardly, when they are with the animals. What kind of a relationship were you aiming to strike between the characters and the animals? Why use horses in particular? 

Horses are very sensitive creatures. They are ‘flee’ animals“ (I don’t know the term in English, in German it is: “Fluchttier“) – it means when there is danger they just run away. So when you establish a relationship with a horse you have to be calm and fearless to give them trust. The horse immediately mirrors your way of presenting yourself and gives you feedback. This way working with horses strengthens the persons behaviour not only towards animals but also to other humans. No wonder that “horse-therapy“ is now used to work with a number of troubled people like prisoners, endangered youth and stressed managers.

You make use of a very subtle and relaxed approach to the girls’ relationship, what in particular dictated the film’s pace and focus? 

I call the film a “slow movie“ borrowed from the term “slow food“ – there is little drama but the focus is on subtle psychological elements and changes of the characters. The pace imitates the slow pace of life in rural places where the days are dependent of the changes of weather and the seasons.

The adult’s relationship in the film provides a vicarious sexual experience for Alex where it seems that she longs for and lusts after the adult, lesbian sexual encounter. Why did you decide to paint the two relationships in such different ways? 

I wanted to paint the in-between-stage of late puberty with the character of Alex. She is insecure of her sexual identity and is in the stage of experimenting. Whereas sketching the adult lesbian relationship of the riding instructor for me was a chance to just introduce her relationship as something utterly normal without making much ado about it.

Ceci Chuh (Alex) and Alissa Wilms (Kathy) in OF GIRLS AND HORSES (2)Alex is the more obviously troubled out of her and Kathy, what was the thinking behind following her rather than Kathy? 

The more troubled character always is the more interesting one, isn’t it?

Do you always intend to produce queer films, or is that an element which inevitably works its way into your work? 

My interest and sympathy has always been with the marginalized subjects. I’ve made a few films with less queer focus, like The Raw and the Cooked, a documentary about the marginalized culture of the island of Taiwan and its various influences by indigenous people.

And what about in the future? Do you have particular ideas about what sorts of films and topics you hope to tackle in the years to come? 

Right now I’m finishing a feature documentary on a human rights project in the most violent favela of Rio de Janeiro in the wake of the Olympic Games in 2016. What will present itself as a project after this one I’m not sure yet. I like to keep myself surprised.

And that’s all folks! Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the box below before you go. Also if you want the chance to win Of Girls and Horses then just click right here.

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