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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Slow Cinema and Carlos Reygadas's Silent Light (Jordan Scholig)

 

Slow Cinema and Carlos Reygadas's Silent Light (Jordan Schonig) 10'
6 dec 2020


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Stellet Licht by Carlos Reygadas (Luke Cox)

 

International Cinema 2 - option 2a (14 Feb 2018)

"A video in which you explain and critically evaluate the recurring characteristics of the overarching cinematography and/or other stylistic elements in one particular film by using several scenes from that film."



Saturday, April 10, 2021

WANG Bing sur Arte et France Culture (2021)

 

Wang Bing filme la Chine qu'on cache sous le tapis (Tracks ARTE) vidéo FRENCH 8'49"
11 février 2021


* * *

Ecoutez aussi sur France Culture :

dans une serie de 3 épisodes sur la Chine industrielle dans l'art, une émission de 58min sur le premier film documentaire de WANG Bing : A l'ouest des rail (2003), et sur Argent Amer (2016)

Aussi dans "Par les temps qui courent" (France Culture) par Marie Richeux, sur Argent Amer (2016) :



Thursday, March 25, 2021

Interview with Sabrina Moreno (Azur el mar)

 


THE BEGINNING


Unspoken Cinema : What first film did you see that sparked an impulse to make films yourself ? When was it ? How did it happen ? How did you choose cinema ?

Sabrina Moreno : Since I was a child I was very imaginative and was making stories all the time. My father said I lived in a fantasy bubble. And I remember when I was 15 years old, I saw Natural born killers, then I knew there was a wild world I had no idea about. It was shoking but at the same time it had something that sparked in myself. I understood cinema will make me travel out of my boring village where I lived at the time. I continued writing stories and I began theater. So when I turned 18 and I had to choose a carrer, I thought to try cinema. But I didn’t know how it would be. After the first week studying cinema I knew I was right and I felt fortunate.


UC : Who are your cinematographic inspirations, your film references ?

SM : I had several inspirations at different times of my life, but one breaking point was the Nouvelle Vague. I felt free watching those films. I had the same feeling when I discovered Asian cinema.

And from my country, Lucrecia Martel was another breaking point.

Also I must say I follow some masters like Tarkovsky, Bergman, Welles, Kubrick and Resnais. All philosophers more than filmmakers to me.


UC : Is it harder being a female director in Argentina ? What is your own experience ?

SM : I should say it is difficult to be a woman just for itself. And it is also difficult to become a film director. So you can imagine the rest. But besides that, I must recognize I feel lucky being able to make cinema as much as other women in my country. It is hard but not impossible, so I encourage all women to do it if they wish so.



THE CURRICULUM


UC : How were your film studies in Cordoba ? Where else did you study ? What was the most important thing you collected from these years ?

SM : I really enjoyed making my studies in Cordoba, it got me grounded. But when I finished my curriculum I felt I needed to learn more about everything. Making film is very difficult, even when you may think it is not. So I kept studying while making my short films, and travelled to other universities in Spain and Cuba. I think the most important is to find yourself, to let the artist grow and connect with others you can learn from and work with. And being a director it also requires to lead a group, to transmit your passion to others.


UC : You’ve also received a Master's degree in European Audiovisual Management in Spain. What does it add to your filmmaking career ? Does the producer hat make you see another side to cinema ? How do you compare filmmaking in South America and in Europe ?

SM : Making the Master gave me a lot of firsthand experience. It gave me the push to redesign my project and move foward. I think the producer hat helps me to understand the film integrally, and travel with the project from beginning to end. But most of all, I have the decision making and that is fundamental to me, because I make auteur cinema.

It’s difficult to compare one continent with another, but I can say Europe has an established industry so things work in a certain way and that has its benefits and its drawbacks, like a separated line between niche cinema and crossover films.

In South America it is more difficult to get anything and the resources are fewer, so it pushes the artist to create with minimal expectations and to get the most of it, because we also know than later, we are going to compete with other films made from equal circumstances.


UC : What do you teach in the class titled « Alternative writing for cinema » ? What does your academic career as teacher bring that your studies as student didn’t ?

SM : In my studies I felt I learnt only the basics and what most manuals say, I mean the classic way for everything. So later I explored other films and authors because I was more interested on doing things my own way, and not what the classical cinema does. That is what I teach, how to think and write the stories you want to tell in the way you are looking for, and not what others tells you to do.



AZUL EL MAR - THE FILM


UC : How long was the making of your debut film : Azul el mar ? How long between the writing and the shooting ? Was it difficult to gather fundings for this type of niche film ?

SM : It took more than 10 years from the first draft until the shooting. It was difficult to find the right strategy of production for this film because it was, as you say, a « niche film » but ambiguous in the way of being made. It is not narrated in a conventional way so everything was a risk from the first point, and also it had all the elements to make it complicated, several characters, majority of exterior scenes, real places with settings, etc.


UC : The film is dedicated to your mother, is she the inspiration for the main protagonist, Lola ? Is it a personal topic for you ? How much can you tell about it ?

SM : Making this film was the way I found to record my memories, some moments and feelings I needed to keep at a time where my family was no longer the same. I found this way to talk with my mother since she was gone and I still had too many questions to solve. So for me, was an opportunity to get closer to her and to create another ending.


UC : The film hesitates between going for ensemble family cast or for solo protagonist… Which was your original intent?

SM : I don’t think about it as separated and different concepts. The family was there from the begining and I knew I wanted to explore the intimate world of Lola, since she was trying to find an answer to her wishes and to her fears. But Lola is not who she is without that family, so for me, everything turns out about the relatioship between all of them.


UC : You’re not trying to demonise Ricardo, the husband, with an overtly machist behaviour, or haineous discourse… Instead he’s a gentle father with his kids and caring husband with Lola. So how did you portray this particular justification for Lola’s alienation ?

SM : I don’t think in a dualistic way (good vs. bad). I see my characters with contradictions, fears, unable to do what they wish. So I play with opposites, with tension, with doubts. But I don’t see them as protagonist/antagonist. I believe in the power of a wish and the difficulty to make it real because we know everything is related, so we know our actions are going to change, not only ourselves. A mother knows that more than anything, because she is not alone anymore, she can’t think only for herself. And that is what Lola needs in this travel, for once, to be able to think for herself instead of everyone else first.


UC : The omnipresent ocean is menacing with salvage waves and splashing foam, often in close ups, but never really endangering the cast… All the tension takes place in the editing of images together. A collage of seemingly quiet views that become worrisome together. How do you articulate this element of fear within the otherwise calm and understated narration ?

SM : The editing was fundamental for this film. Because there we could play with these contradictions about what seems calm but is not. That is the way I remember my mom at that time, as someone mysterious that was trying to hide all the tsunami she had inside, to show us, her family, that everyting was perfectly calm. But I could see in her eyes that was a lie, I undestood things are not what they seem to be. That is the concept of the film. I can’t imagine something more contradictory than the ocean to represent that.



THE MAKING


UC : How did you film and edit the Black&White double exposures (aerial views) ? What was the concept behind this ?

SM : We filmed it in slow motion and in the editing room we started to try movements on overlays. These images are a special place and moment for Lola’s character, I couldn’t explain it in words, I only knew I had to try those images until we get the final result. This process was very intuitive as much of the film was. I was trying to find in the images, sounds and ensemble, sensations and abstract things that you could not put it in another way.


UC : A ghostly appearance from the past, a secret fantasy, or a friendly doppleganger… How did you get the idea to duplicate Lola on screen (colour double-exposures)? Was it already present in the scenario?

SM : No, it wasn’t like that in the script. It took us some time to find that location, and even then it was hard to get there. But when I discovered that place I felt that was the world of Lola and that there, I could put in images the things I couldn’t explain in words, even for my team. So we found these images on shooting. But most of it came after, as I said, it was an intuitive process so at the end, our work in the editing room was to listen to what the images were telling us.


UC : You cut a lot, with shorter shots, but it doesn’t feel rushed because of the juxtaposition of slices of life without transition. Do you know how many shots there are in the film [to estimate the ASL = Average Shot Length] ? Is this ASL the result of the shooting material on location or the intention on the editing table ?

SM : We filmed over 600 shots in 6 weeks of shooting. I proposed to the editor to work with elipsis, repetition and jump-cuts, to be free of move from one shot to the other not necessarily for a narrative intention but emotional. Mostly you can see short duration shots, but there is also others that keep still with a duration longer than you may expect, they talk to each other. For us, everything was connected as in a circle, there was not a single line of time, so we wanted to explore other paths. This was our agreement and we found the film as we were puting the pieces together. So the ASL was a shortcut to work in the editing room. The film finally has 395 shots. [ASL = 9.9 sec per shot on average]



THE ARGENTINIAN SCENE AND BEYOND


UC : Filmmakers like Pablo TRAPERO (Mundo grua, 1999), Lucrecia MARTEL (La Cienaga, 2001) or Carlos SORIN (Historias Minimas, 2002) helped put the Argentinian Contemplative Cinema on the World map, not to mention the greatest and most contemplative of all, Lisandro ALONSO (La Libertad, 2001). How are they perceived in Argentina ? Did they help pave the way for you or is it a fierce competition out there ?

SM : I think the films of Martel and Alonso allow other filmmakers to feel free to try their own way. We have the fortune in our country to have several talented directors that are well recognized in the international field, so it is very competitive because you already have to compete with an established director when you go to look for a fund or a coproduction. But at the same time, I think we have a very diverse cinema, not everyone is doing the same, each is trying to find its own vision and voice, so it is very insteresting and I am grateful when you find similitudes with others who have the same differences.


UC : There is also the newer generation : Pablo Giorgelli (Las accacias, 2011), Jasmin LOPEZ (Leones, 2012) and yourself (Azul el mar, 2019). How do you see the future for New Argentinian Cinema ?

SM : I like to think cinema is growing and changing all the time, even when we came back to older ways of telling or in the formal construction, we do it with a contemporary view. So I hope we keep being free and exploring, instead of getting confortable with what we all know already works.


UC : What do you make of Contemplative Cinema ? A family of films united aestheticaly by 4 main criteria : Plotlessness, Wordlessness, Slowness and Alienation… Do you feel part of it, along luminaries such as Chantal AKERMAN, Elia SULEIMAN, Yulene OLAIZOLA, Carlos REYGADAS, Sharunas BARTAS, Paz ENCINA, Pedro COSTA, Naomi KAWASE, Amat ESCALANTE, Michel FRANCO, Fernando EIMBCKE, Valérie MASSADIAN…

SM : I feel glad with all these talented names. I remember when I discovered Kawase or Reygadas, I felt home. I love to think I can be part of it, but I don’t believe much in tags, I mean I consider all of these directors you are naming, work hard to find their own vision. And I do it too. That I can feel part of.


UC : What is your next project ? And what did you learn from your debut film that will help you make more films tomorrow ?

SM : The next film is THE HOUSE OF DOORS & WINDOWS. It’s another ambiguous project that tells the story about a community of women who live isolated to find their own freedom and wisdom.

What I learned from my debut is to trust my intuition and vision, and to keep working hard, finding the right partners for every adventure. And also to connect and listen to the film itself. I see myself as a canal where the film is passing trought, so I have to go with the flow.


(This interview was conducted via email in March 2021)


Read also on Unspoken Cinema :



Monday, March 15, 2021