Pere Vilà • Director
“I don’t like it when someone decides on the intellect of the viewer”
by Alfonso Rivera
- We interviewed Pere Vilà, the director of The Invisible Artery, which is competing in the official section of the Seminci 2015
Girona-born filmmaker Pere Vilà is competing in the official section of the Seminci - Valladolid Film Festival for the second time with The Invisible Artery [+see also:
interview: Pere Vilà
film profile], after having done so in 2012 with La lapidation de Saint Etienne [+see also:
film profile], which won the FIPRESCI Prize at that edition. Cineuropa got the chance to chat to him.
Cineuropa: You’re making a return to the Seminci with The Invisible Artery...
Pere Vilà: I’ve only made four films, and the only festival that has invited me into the competition twice has been this one, so I feel good here, and I need that respect for and interest in what I do, because getting a project off the ground is a long process where you suffer a lot of setbacks; so finishing it and being able to come to Valladolid and fill up the movie theatre – regardless of whether they like the film or not, that’s a different kettle of fish – is something I really appreciate.
You were also involved in the production of the film.
The movie was produced by Televisió de Girona, DDM Visual and myself, through Manium Produccions. It’s a product of Girona; it was shot there, and in this way my contribution to the production, which wasn’t financial, consisted of keeping an eye on the space and not getting lost. The budgets were tight, and scouting out locations that weren’t too far away from each other helped me to keep the costs under control. I also felt at home while shooting: I filmed some shots just 100 metres from my house.
It’s not possible for the audience to identify the city shown on screen. Did you toy with this sense of emptiness?
Undoubtedly. I know that sometimes even the city itself likes it when identifiable elements appear, but I didn’t need them for this story. Even the exteriors are on the outskirts: I was trying to make it look like it could have been anywhere. Although the TV news reports that the characters are watching make it clear that we’re in Spain, and the language they speak – Catalan – means we’re in Catalonia, for someone who sees the film at an international festival, it has to be as universal as possible and, at the same time, as personal as possible to that person. What I was looking to do was enable the viewer to watch the movie and feel like it touched them somehow, like they could identify with it to such an extent that they even feel uncomfortable. That’s why it was important to generalise.
Does The Invisible Artery already have a distributor and a release date in Spain?
It will come out in Girona and Barcelona on 4 December, and very likely in Madrid after that; I’ve already talked about it with one cinema. We, as producers, are going to manage it – we will circulate the film ourselves, seeking out venues and people that will deal with it in a particular way: it’s not that this type of film needs special treatment, because that shouldn’t be the case, but I don’t like it when a handful of individuals – a TV channel or a distributor – are able to decide on the judgement, opinions or even the intellect of the viewer. I really do believe in the intellect of the viewer, and I know that anybody can watch my film. If they can’t bear to watch it all, they should still grit their teeth and watch a bit of it, but I’m sure there will be something that gets through to them because, at the end of the day, I’m talking about human beings, and the intention is for the movie to be seen by human beings: there has to be some form of connection, and I’m going to seek it out. It’s very gratifying when the members of the audience come up to you and tell you what they thought of your film.
Incidentally, you dedicate The Invisible Artery to Truffaut...
I dedicated my first film, Pas a nivell, to Joaquim Jordà because he was a teacher and a friend of mine, and to Tarkovski because I’ve always been in his shadow. The next one – La lapidation de Saint Étienne – was dedicated to a relative with cancer because it was relevant to the story it told. La fossa was dedicated to Theo Angelopoulos, whom I knew. And this one is for Truffaut because I like a lot of his movies that are not so famous, such as The Soft Skin, which I think is very sad, and The Green Room, which also runs along the same lines as my work.
(Translated from Spanish)
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