Lena Dunham talks about the new movie “Treasure” and “Renaissance Girls.”

When Lena Dunham first read the screenplay for Julia von Heinz's “Treasure,” it came to her mind.

The “Girls” creator's grandmother has died at the age of 96, and Dunham has found herself thinking a lot about her legacy. “Treasure” is based on the 1999 novel “Too Many Men” by Lily Britt, and follows Ruth (Dunham), a journalist who travels to Poland with her Holocaust survivor father (Stephen Fry) to confront their family’s tragic past. Not only did Dunham agree to star in the film, but her production company Good Thing Going also signed on.

Both Dunham and her producing partner, Michael B. The Cohens are Jewish and found the story “incredibly resonant for each of our families,” Dunham says. diverse At the Berlin Film Festival, where “Treasure” premieres Saturday night.

“We both looked at each other after we read the script and said, 'This is something we'll be proud to tell our kids we made.' “This is something we would be proud to tell our grandparents about,” says Dunham. “Michael’s grandmother had already seen it, and I thought, ‘If Nan likes it, that’s good enough for me.’” She gave a great text review and I said, “Can Nan text?”

“Maybe 'Girls' wasn't meant for Nan,” Cohen interrupts as Dunham laughs.

“It was interesting because my grandmother was in the Season 1 premiere of Girls, and I don’t think she liked it,” Dunham recalls. “I think she was excited because she thought, ‘Wow, Lena wears a lot of beautiful dresses.’ But I liked thinking about it [‘Treasure’] One would be she [would enjoy] …It was very special and emotional to show it to my family members who are still around.

Below, Dunham discusses the timing of “Treasure,” the recent renaissance of “Girls,” and what to expect from her new Netflix show.

Tell me a little about working with Fry. How did you craft the father-daughter bond?

When I sent the first picture of us together in costume to my mom, she said, “Oh my God, I feel like we now know who your real dad is.” He also happens to be a gay cultural icon from another country. But who knows, it could happen!

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Honestly, we didn't have much prep time together. Stephen was learning Polish, which was intense, and I was in the writers' room for the show I'm doing now. We met once, then we went to Poland. But I think there was something about us being native English speakers in this group – we just blended into each other. We basically talked from morning to night every day. There were even moments when he would say, “You need to get off your phone,” getting angry at me like a father would. But there's also an incredible bond where two Jewish people go to these places. Our first day together was at the world's largest Jewish cemetery in Poland, which contains the graves of many family members of non-survivors and family members of survivors. After that, everywhere we went held more clues to parts of our identity that we didn't understand. So this experience connects you very quickly.

Did you visit Poland before filming “Treasure”?

I visited Poland once when I was in college, and it was a trip to drink with the boys, not a trip to find my identity. In fact, at that point I didn't even know – my grandmother always said we were Hungarian, when in fact Hungary was where the only surviving member of our family had moved to. All of our family members, including my great-grandmother, come from Poland actually about 15 miles from where we were shooting. So on this trip, it had a whole new resonance — and on this trip I was also a sober, functioning adult interested in metabolizing these experiences.

It was impossible to overstate how powerful that was, especially going to Auschwitz, to experience the place, to understand that there was also a city of people living around that history. We think of it as this terrifying trail, when in reality there is a terrifying trail surrounded by people continuing to live their lives. I think the really important movie that came out this year was “The Zone of Interest” — it was shot less than four miles from where we were and we had a lot of the same crew. So it was really cool for me to watch that and understand that, while all the things that were plaguing Steven's character were happening, there was this other reality of people who were living and just ignoring. It has a lesson to teach us, which is that we cannot keep turning our heads away when we see wrongdoing. We must remain vigilant in upholding our humanity.

treasure

Stephen Fry and Lena Dunham in the movie “Treasure.”

Whether intentionally or not, it's certainly a very timely film with the current conflict in the Middle East. What do you hope people take away from it?

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It's a weird thing, because Julia has been trying to make this movie for over a decade. But my hope is that it will force us to look at this horrific event in a profound way that continues our mission to never let something like this happen again — to the Jewish people, or to anyone. The thing I love about storytelling is that when you learn someone's story, their trauma, and their truth, it's impossible not to empathize with them. It's the same thing when they say a large percentage of Americans think they don't know a trans person, but once they do their perception of that may change. So I hope that this film will reach people who may have distorted perceptions of what it means to be a Jewish person, and I also hope that it will encourage a really strong message of opposition to any form of racism, xenophobia or hatred.

I have to ask about your upcoming Netflix series, “Too Much,” starring Megan Stalter and Will Sharp. As someone who moved from the US to London after a breakup, just like the plot of the series, I couldn't be more excited. What can fans expect?

You are literally our target audience. We target girls who have moved away geographically after a breakup. We filmed for three weeks and it was an amazing experience. I mean, Megan Stalter is fun and entertaining and Will Sharp is an absolute genius and we have an amazing cast that we'll be announcing soon. I'm sure you've witnessed the fact that English and American people speak the same language, and yet there are so many quite strange gaps in how we define ourselves. And then also, I like a woman in crisis to get what she deserves in the good way. This is what we will achieve in this presentation. Also, speaking of this time in the world, I'm trying to make something that's endearing and uplifting and hopefully still edgy and insightful and all the naughty scenes people are used to from me, but with kind of an underlying, uplifting message of love and hope.

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It's like everyone rewatched “Girls” this year. What does it mean to you that people still love the show?

It's crazy and brutal and not something I was expecting. My crew and I, when we receive funny memes from someone, we share them. I will be 38 in May. I started writing this show when I was 23 years old. And I felt, “If I do a pilot, what a life experience.” So the fact that there's someone – I mean people are still watching a show that came out before Instagram was invented?! For recklessness? So to anyone leading the revival: I see your TikTok mashups. I feel grateful to them, even though I'm not technologically proficient and not really on Instagram. I receive, feel and appreciate the love so much.

Did you see the clip of Marnie (Allison Williams) singing “Fast Car” in the final season reappearing after Tracy Chapman's performance at the Grammys?

I love that Alison kept saying when we were filming “Girls,” “Oh my God, are you really going to make me sing this?” This is so embarrassing.” And I'd be like, “It won't be a big deal.” And then those are the things that will become memes for the next 20 years. So I'm sorry, Allison.

Like Marnie's rendition of Kanye West's “Stronger.”

I'll give her credit for some of the lyrical changes on that one. We are so grateful to Alison.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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