Whenever I start a film, I try to have everything go just as I had imagined it. Like the demiurge behind a world waiting to be created, I try to shape everything to my will. But films—at least the ones I make—are made in the real world, with real things and real people. And the real world, no matter how hard I try, refuses to let itself be shaped easily.
I find myself fighting desperately against all the elements. Nothing wants to turn out the way I had imagined it. After fighting and suffering for awhile, I realize that the unexpected, what wasn’t in the plans, can actually be quite valuable. In fact, even more so than what I had imagined.
Reality not only outdoes fiction; it is better. I start to think excessive control may not be such a good idea. From then on, my approach to making the film changes. It is no longer a matter of how to control all the components but of how to get the unexpected –chance- to work in the film’s favor.
I realize, now that I have finished the work, that the challenge did not lie in making a work in accordance to what I had imagined. The film is nothing like what I had imagined. The challenge was making a film through oneself. Managing to turn myself into the means by which the film took shape. Letting chance and reality play a part in the creative process.
In this film I had the privilege of collaborating with artist Miquel Barceló. We started talking about the film about four years ago, at the birth of the project. We were both at a similar point in our lives. We were about to premiere artworks: the dome he made for the United Nations in Geneva and my film, Bullet In The Head. We were both very eager about the premieres of our works and we were both suffering from some critical incomprehension in the form of controversy. Then we started shuffling ideas about the work to be done on the film.
I soon realized that the main difficulty would be finding a way to combine an extensive process –painting- with an intensive process –film. For him, time is no problem. He can keep trying things until he is satisfied. That is not possible in cinema and certainly not in this film, made of only sole takes. Something had to be created in just one attempt, with a sole gesture. The final result has made me very, very happy. I learned a lot working beside him: about life, about what it means to be a real artist.
Something had to be created in just one attempt, with a sole gesture.
I am fascinated by human reality. What is absolutely real. A portrayal of the everyday. The precision of expression in human relations. I am interested in small gestures and the look in people’s eyes. Uncontrollable emotions. I am interested in observing things unhurriedly. We all have a self that we hide under several layers. We only occasionally allow our true nature to see the light. One must pay careful attention. All the decisions and the architecture of the mise-en-scène were designed to be able to portray that reality with great precisión.
A portrayal of the everyday. The precision of expression in human relations. I am interested in small gestures and the look in people’s eyes.
The screenplay of the film has no dialogues. The actors receive the dramatic content at the same time we shoot the scene. They are not given any directions about what to say, how to say it, or what to do. No takes are repeated and no scenes or situations are shot from various angles. The first improvisation is the sole, true and unrepeatable one. I let what the actors say and do surprise me. Sometimes they move out of the frame unexpectedly, leaving it empty. That is also valid.
The first improvisation is the sole, true and unrepeatable one. I let what the actors say and do surprise me.
I am concerned about how weak the foundations of the civilization being built are. I am worried that it is a civilization that does not know how to respond to human beings’ spiritual needs. We have a spiritual dimension. I cannot define it rationally. But I can feel and sense it and I am able to express it poetically through a film. Or at least I try. The magic. The sacred. The mysterious. The poetic. The mystical. We are sensitive to all of them. There must be a reason why. Even if we fail when we attempt to produce coherent discourse.
I am worried that it is a civilization that does not know how to respond to human beings’ spiritual needs.
The entire film was shot with hard grain black and white stock. The grain in black and white images is very beautiful. It gives the film an extraordinary consistency. A very physical, material sensation. What you see is there. It really happened. A type of film was used that allows shooting with no artificial light. No extra lighting was used in spite of shooting in 35mm. Everything was shot with natural light. This way of shooting adds great agility and produces very beautiful, touching images.
It gives the film an extraordinary consistency. A very physical, material sensation. What you see is there. It really happened.
Following his Business Studies at ESADE, he was given a grant to study film at the prestigious International Film and Television School in San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV) in Cuba.
The Dream And The Silence
Cannes IFF 2012. Director´s Fortnight
Bullet In The Head
San Sebastián IFF 2008. In Competition FIPRESCI International Critic’s Award
Cannes IFF 2007. Un Certain Regard
The Hours Of The Day
Cannes IFF 2003. Director’s Fortnight FIPRESCI International Critic’s Award