After beginning his career as a screenwriter for film and television, Jaime Rosales received a grant to attend the International Film and Television School (EICTV) in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. From there, he went on to study at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in Sydney.
After his acclaimed debut feature LAS HORAS DEL DÍA, he is currently working on La soledad (Loneliness), his next project developed under the Cinefondation du Festival de Cannes and was officially selected by the CineMart 2005 at the Rotterdam Film Festival.
Las horas del día (2003)
La pecera (8’ / 35mm) (1999)
Festivales de Kiev (Ucrania)
Figueira da Foz (Portugal)
Yo tuve un cerdo llamado rubiel (11’ / 35mm) (1998)
Festivales de Huesca (España)
La Habana (Cuba)
Santa Fe (Argentina)
Episodio (11’ / 35mm) (1998)
Muestra audiovisual de Cuba
Virginia no dice mentiras (13’ / Betacam) (1997)
Festivales de Paza (Cuba)
In 1998, I wrote a short film about a man who kills a taxi driver in a empty field and then picks up a prostitute. The idea was to create a piece full of suspense built around the tension the viewer felt, knowing the prostitute was in the taxi with a murderer. Then I thought, “What happens next?” Then I thought there might be a feature film behind it. At the time, I came across an article about serial killers that I found very interesting. I was no longer interested in suspense, but instead in creating a super-realist portrait open to various interpretations.
Let’s say that playing that double role sets you up for getting hit with the problems faced by both directors and producers. As the director, I’ve had problems concerning the artistic and creative aspects. As a producer, the biggest problem is convincing people with money to invest in such a personal project with such an unpredictable outcome. It’s fairly exhausting. Of course, everything has its good side. The good side is that I managed to avoid the problems between the director and the producer. Problems relating to trust and respect for the work.
I don’t like using actors to create characters. I’m not interested in having actors put together a character that exceeds the actor’s own personal characteristics. That’s just fine in the theatre, but I find it terribly false in the cinema. What I do is look for an actor whose personal characteristics are like those of the character. Then, during the audition, I pay close attention to what the actor or actress is like. If I like them, if I see something interesting even if, a priori, it’s not what I had in mind for the character, I don’t have any difficulty changing the character to make it more similar to the actor.
I don’t know… I don’t really know what my characters are like. While I’m writing the screenplay, I try to listen to what they say to me, and assimilate what they want, and what they do. I try to let them lead me along. What happens is that during that process, the characters don’t tell me everything- they keep some things to themselves. That’s why there are lots of things I don’t know. When I started rehearsals with Álex Brendemühl, I told him there were things I didn’t know about Abel and couldn’t tell him. He didn’t care. The same thing happened with the others actors. I think you have to use your intuition, your instincts. Some analysis is good, but too much can kill your instincts.
We tried to set up and portray the murders in keeping with the tone of the rest of the film, not emphasizing anything in particular: not the violence or the setting. When I thought of Abel, I didn’t think on a especially able or implacable murderer. I thought, “Killing someone must be very difficult.” First, it’s not something you learn at school or that you practice much, so the technique can’t look very refined. Also, people cling to life and I don’t think they die very easily. We see that in documentaries about the animal kingdom. It’s not easy even for a lion to kill a deer. So that’s how I envisioned the murders. Naturally, the way I imagine they happen in reality, not in the formulaic way movies have accustomed us to see.
Well, both, I’d say. I have a personal preference for realism. I really like Italian Neo-Realism, and the aesthetics of documentary filmmaking in general. Is one aims to maintain a certain artistic freedom, which for me means being able to say what one wants freely in the personal way one wants outside of what sells, what people are interested in, or what entertains, then one must face the fact that one won’t have many means to work with. Realism, in this sense, is a cheap that makes a lot of things easier. Except the small difficulty of recording live sound, everything else regarding realism seems to be an advantage.
Yes, but that’s not the only reason. Aside from the demands of realism, in my case, I don’t use music because I don’t think music is intrinsic to the language of cinema. Unless there is music in the scene itself, such as in a bar, it seems like an artificial addition to me. Something that is used all the time, and to good effect, but it is inappropriate. Using it seems to make up for something lacking in the setting. It’s a sort of trick used to emphasize an emotion in the viewer. I don’t want to emphasize anything.
For me, making a film is setting up a dialogue with the viewer. A dialogue between equals. In order for a dialogue to take place, both sides have to participate. Otherwise, it’s a monologue. It’s not a matter of trying to shock or idolize the viewer. For me, making a film is offering a way to the viewer. Leaving the interpretation open for the viewer to make, bringing his or her own sensibility to it. This does not mean falling into indecisiveness. Quite the contrary, it means creating something tremendously concrete that also leaves some open doors.
As I told you earlier, I am a great admirer of Italian Neo-Realism. It is an essential reference point for me. I also find what happened in the Nouvelle Vague very interesting, especially Godard. In his films, he questions what cinema is by making cinema. I fins that fascinating. He opened a fundamental path for investigating what modern cinema ought to be. Just as happens in the case of abstract painting, and post-modern tendencies, cinema also has to ask about its own nature within films.