British filmmaker Amma Asante first had the idea for her period drama Where Hands Touch when she came across an archived photo of a mixed-race young girl in Nazi-era Germany.
After much research about a little-reported aspect of World World II and having made two critically-acclaimed films,Belle (2013) and A United Kingdom (2016), her movie based around the existence of the Rheinlandbastarde finally came to fruition.
In the beautifully constructed feature, rising star Amandla Stenberg plays a teenage biracial woman named Leyna, the daughter of Kerstin (Abbie Cornish) and a French-Senegalese soldier, who falls in love with a young Nazi officer Lutz (George MacKay) in 1944. She falls pregnant but they are separated as war breaks out and Leyna is eventually sent to a concentration camp where Lutz has been posted.
We had the chance to sit down with Asante to discuss the inspiration for her film, its long gestation period before finally becoming a reality and what she thinks the impact of the taboo-testing movie, which tackles an unknown corner of history, will be.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 21st May 2019.
Video/photo: Filippo L’Astorina
Where Hands Touch is released in select cinemas on 10th May 2019. Read our review here.