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THE INTERNATIONAL

About The Production
To tell the story of The International, the filmmakers would need a team that was truly international, with expertise all over the globe. Joining the producing team with Charles Roven and Richard Suckle was producer Lloyd Phillips, who has vast expertise with a wide range of locations and logistically complex shoots. Phillips proved an invaluable asset as Suckle and Roven moved a globe-trotting production to Istanbul, Berlin, Lyon, Milan, and New York. 

In addition, Tom Tykwer has worked with the same core group of creative collaborators for many years, and reassembled this team for The International. Among them are cinematographer Frank Griebe, who has shot every one of Tykwer's films, production designer Uli Hanisch and editor Mathilde Bonnefoy. Academy Award®-winning costume designer Ngila Dickson, based in New Zealand, was a new addition to the European foursome.

The film was shot principally on locations in and around Berlin and deliberately features the capital's modern architecture rather than its other, more frayed, personality. The shoot out in the Guggenheim was filmed on a stage near Babelsberg Studios where the interior of the famed Frank Lloyd Wright-designed New York museum was painstakingly replicated. A week of exteriors in Istanbul began the production's shooting schedule for the film's finale; a day in Lyon established Louis Salinger at Interpol's actual headquarters; three weeks of exterior scenes in Milan placed Salinger and Whitman in that city during the middle of their investigation. The final week of filming took place in New York where the filmmakers chose to reveal a more gritty side to the city, providing a contrast to Berlin.

Architecture features prominently in The International, through which old and new worlds are represented. An ultra modern landscape is the bank's terrain in Berlin, where glass and concrete structures symbolize the contradiction between transparency and impenetrability of the financial world. Milan bridges old and new worlds by combining classical and modern architecture and an older, more tangible environment is depicted in New York. For the finale, Istanbul is a contrast between tradition and modernity in both physical and moral senses. 

As Salinger closes in on his prey, the backdrop moves from highly-stylized modernism through to antiquated classicism. 

"With Frank Griebe and Uli Hanisch, we developed a color concept as well to portray each individual city with a particular representation and, at the same time, make them all look combined as one world,” says Tykwer.

All the filmmakers shared a core belief that the thriller genre is one in which audiences are well versed and, as such, demands authenticity. "We felt it was important to shoot in all of these various locations to make it feel authentic, not in a showy way, but because it was organic to the story,” says producer Suckle. 

Attempting to meet this demand, locations in all of these cities were selected that suited both the visual style of the film and made sense in the world's real environment. Decisions were made to avoid cheating a street in Berlin for a street in New York, for example, so the film was shot principally at actual locations in all of these cities.

Cameras first rolled on The International in Istanbul, Turkey. The story's climax unfolds in this mystical city amidst stunning silhouettes of minarets and domed mosques. Hot on the heels of his nemesis, Salinger's frenetic pace takes him from the marbled courtyard of the Suleymaniye Mosque to the subterranean wonder of a Byzantine columned cistern; from dodging chaotic traffic in the city's center, and weaving through the throngs of shoppers in the famed Grand Bazaar, to the relative quiet rooftops of Turkey's largest covered market.

"Interestingly enough, we started filming where the story ends - with t

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