Ted Fendt is what you might call “a weirdo”, so brilliantly out of date, so unfashionable, that he seems to have come from another century or another planet. Born in 1989, in Philadelphia, this young literate American coupled with a sharp cinephile, having made his classes as a projectionist in the repertoire rooms of New York, is a sort of liaison agent between the New and the Old Continent. He masters several languages (including an exquisite French) and ended up settling there, between Berlin and Vienna.
Apart from his work as a translator and essayist, since 2012 he has also been making singular films on a very low budget, made between friends, without ever skimping on the film. End to end, these begin to constitute a work of choice, of an openly European sensibility, exhibited outside the circuits, but which, by dint of retrospectives all over the world, is beginning to make its way.
The Noise from Outside, his third feature film, is the first to be the subject, in France, of a hybrid distribution, half-theater half-VoD. It is also the first to explicitly leave the East Coast of the United States of precedents, for Europe and the German language. His characters are people we are not used to representing: the student classes, the intellectuals, the literary professions, not necessarily the most “favoured” on the social scale.
After a stay in New York, Daniela stops over in Berlin to visit Mia, a friend who is completing a master’s degree in ethnology, before returning to Vienna. Shortly after, when she has to audition to work in a museum, comes her turn to host Mia, who has come to participate in a conference. The latter is accompanied by Natascha, who is thinking of settling there. The three girlfriends go through a fluctuating summer, between idleness, urban wanderings, insomnia and the lingering effects of jet lag.
With a duo of actresses (Daniela Zahlner and Mia Sellmann) playing roles very close to them, and credited as co-authors, Ted Fendt pretends not to tell much, just micro-facts of everyday life and discussions with broken sticks, but records, under the features of a nebulous comedy, the fundamental doubt of an uncertain entry into life. Each plan, of astounding rigor and beauty, installs the beings in the right proportions within the urban architectures they survey, a decor with emotional geometries and enveloping volumes. The “noise from outside” is the indifferent hum of cities, this movement of the world that sometimes seems so external to us, and the translation of an existential phase shift that is the whole subject of this beautiful secret film.