Álvaro Brechner • Director
“We must safeguard the cross-cultural nature of cinema”
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
Álvaro Brechner (33) was born in 1976 in Montevideo, capital of Uruguay. Ten years ago, he decided to up sticks and move to Madrid to work as a film director. He went on to make several documentaries and shorts. Four years ago, he began work on his debut narrative feature, Bad Day To Go Fishing [+see also:
film profile], which was 70% co-produced by Spain (Telespan 2000 and Baobab) and 30% by Uruguay (Expresso), and screened in Cannes Critics’ Week.
Brechner shot the film in Uruguay, South America, but took along his team of Spanish collaborators. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that he rejects national labels and prefers a broader outlook: “I like to say that film belongs to planet cinema, although obviously each work also reflects the time and place in which it was made. What’s wonderful about film is its cross-cultural appeal, which saw Jean-Pierre Melville recreate North American cinema of the 1930s in France, then came along John Woo, who brought Melville-inspired films to Asia, and finally, Tarantino discovered Woo and brought him back to the US. Films are always about the personality of their creators and the society in which they lived, but also about cinema itself. Nowadays, we focus on safeguarding regional film production, which is important, but we must also safeguard the cross-cultural nature of cinema”.
This is a very fitting analysis when talking about his debut feature, which has echoes of many different genres: “I wanted it to have an air of 'Once upon a time...' I really like it when you see a film and you can immerse yourself in a particular world, not the world around the corner from your house, but closer to fantasy and dream. And I dreamed about one of those villages where you always see dawn and dusk, which is still part of the “western” idea, two men confronted with an inevitable fate”.
These two men are Prince Orsini and Jacob Van Oppen, a manager and wrestler, respectively. They are touring around a series of remote villages in South America (see news): “The film explores the process of identity formation and how we end up becoming what we believe we are. All the characters are constantly talking about what they are. Whoever feels the need to say this is hiding something. And what they’re hiding is a lack of belief in themselves”.
As for the future, Bad Day To Go Fishing has marked a turning point in Brechner’s career: “Right now, I don’t have many short-term plans, because I’ve been touring film festivals for three months. I have a completed script, which right now we’re starting to show to people and I hope it will be able to secure greater European investment”.
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