Grüsse aus Fukushima

Listen to excerpts from the soundtrack “Grüsse aus Fukushima”, the wonderful new film by Doris Dörrie. Compositions and grand piano: Ulrike Haage. Cello: Johanna Helm. Percussion: Eric Schaefer, Brigitte Haas. Additional electronics on Asa Nisi Masa (From the CD Maelstrom): Christian Meyer.

“A radiation vacation” – as the protagonist who survived 3/11 calls her brief encounter with a German volunteer – sums up the gallows humor of Doris Doerrie’s post-disaster traumedy, shot right in the middle of Fukushima’s Exclusion Zone. Lensed in poetic black-and-white with the German helmer-scribe’s trademark whimsical fantasy and peppered with absurdist cross-cultural gags, “Fukushima, mon amour” offers a refreshingly quirky perspective on a heavy subject. Hanno Lentz’s gorgeous black-and-white images of the decimated landscape blended seamlessly with discreetly chosen news footage, reinforce the surreal, apocalyptic scenario. Ulrike Haage’s futuristic score, with its discordant piano notes and droning electronic tune, goes hand-in-hand with Christof Ebhardt’s piercing sound mix to create a broad range of moods, from chaotic to uncanny to hilarious and absurd.” (Maggie Lee, Chief Asia Film Critic, 2016)

In 2015 the renown film maker Doris Dörrie did ask Ulrike Haage to write the filmmusik for her latest film, the black-and- white drama “Grüsse aus Fukushima”. Both artists share their love for Japan and Japanese culture and they understood each other without many words. Ulrike started to write the first three themes due to her impressions of the first black and white shots from the set in Fukushima. Rather quickly she decided to use two pianos to record the score. One delicately prepared. One pure. To stick to a minimalist instrumentation, she added only percussion, cello and electronics.

Ulrike recorded the two pianos in the Kammermusiksaal of the Deutschlandfunk, Cologne. With the friendly support of Sabine Küchler from the Department for Radio Plays.

We had great fun during the recording sessions in the UFO and the Hansa Studios, Berlin with Brigitte Haas, Eric Schaefer, percussion and Johanna Helm, cello. Here with my sound mixer Martin Offik at the Berlinale World Premiere of „Grüße aus Fukushima“, 2016.

The soundtrack is available as CD or download.

When director Doris Dörrie made „Grüße aus Fukushima“, her first movie shot entirely in Japan, her partnership with Ulrike Haage was a perfect match. The musician’s reputation in Germany as a superb composer for documentaries, an experimental radio dramatist and a virtuoso jazz pianist is unmatched. Haage has composed a soundtrack which allows room for all the diverse feelings generated by this story, as her music connects unobtrusively with the pictures.“ [Press release, BPM 2016]

„Grüße aus Fukushima“ [World premiere Berlinale 2016]
Regie: Doris Dörrie
Mit: Rosalie Thomass, Kaori Momoi, Aya Irizuki…
Produzenten: Harald Kügler, Molly von Fürstenberg
Verleih: Majestic Filmverleih

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