"We have more artistic freedom in Spain than in the United States"
by Alfonso Rivera
- The Pastor brothers made their debut with Carriers, shot in the United States. They are now back in Spain with another apocalyptic title: The Last Days.
The Pastor brothers, who are just over 30 years old, made their debut with a feature film shot in the United States called Carriers. They are now back in Spain with another apocalyptic title: The Last Days [+see also:
interview: Àlex and David Pastor
Cineuropa: In your opinion, what is it that differentiates the two continents?
Álex Pastor: We would like to keep one foot on each continent. Some films offer more margin for freedom if they are filmed here, for others, it is the opposite. The major advantage when we film in Spain, beyond the quality of the technical teams, is that there is a lot of artistic freedom and a relationship with producers and investors which functions on a more equal footing. In the United States, you need to acquire a status, a reputation and a name, in order to be respected, but you can make films there of a much wider scope than we could ever imagine here today. But things are starting to change: the film The Impossible [+see also:
interview: Juan Antonio Bayona
film profile] is an example of this.
Yet Carriers was not a larger project than The Last Days in terms of production...
David Pastor: The Last Days is an even vaster project, more spectacular and ambitious, even though it cost less. Filming in the United States costs more: everyone earns more money and every week of filming costs more, though some spending is superfluous. For example, studio directors come to watch the shooting, and they fly first-class and stay in 5-star hotels. We also have very well-equipped trailers that we hardly use, assitants who follow you around everywhere and constantly ask if you want a cool drink... You can really do without all that. For The Last Days, we didn't have any of that, and we didn't miss it. Here, we have smaller budgets, but all the funding can be seen on the screen: it is used for the movie to shine out and be impressive. Superfluous spending does not exist, and team members are more willing to tighten their belts. Here, we spent more weeks shooting, more days with camera cranes, more experts and extras, and many more special effects. We have a way of getting a return on money that they do not have over there.
How much did your movies cost respectively?
A.P: Carriers cost 9 million dollars and The Last Days 5 million euros, which is less, but it doesn't show. When we show the movie to someone from North America, he thinks it cost 40 million dollars.
As a duo, how do you share out the work?
D.P: We don't share things out. We do absolutely everything together. A film is a vast enterprise and we are not just directors: we write too, so that we are inhabited by the story for a very long time, in other words, we constantly discuss the scenes, themes and characters... When filming begins, we have analyzed and talked about everything, so much so that we will give the same answer to any question that could be asked of either one of us.
Could we categorize your film as an "environment movie"?
A.P: There is something eco-friendly about it, but it does not deal with mankind's destruction of the planet as much as about the fact that we are distancing ourselves from who we are and living less for what we are: animals. We have clothes and have built this vast fiction called civilization. It has its advantages (vaccines, not being too hot or cold, the cinema...), but also negative consequences, like working in offices that we dislike, giving them our time, sitting in front of computers and getting back-ache and dry eyes from staring at the screen... The damage is not only physical, but also emotional: we are bombarded by a constant flow of sounds and images, fraught with stress, and the result is that we feel dissatisfied... The film tries to evoke this distancing from Nature and the manner in which all these anxieties build up and create an epidemic that can only cease with the end of the world.
In the film, we hear a phrase repeated over and over again: "¡Con la que está cayendo!" (lit. "with everything that's falling on us!", reminiscent of a weather forecast or a particularly difficult situation). Did the financial crisis have an effect even your film?
D.P: Yes. We started to work on the story before the financial crash, but as we wrote, reality crept in more and more clearly in the film: it made a path for itself and ended up settling into the screenplay: the theme of the fear of being fired, unemployment and insecurity in the workplace is a crucial part of The Last Days.