“Today, cinema has got inside human relationships”
by Alfonso Rivera
- Carlos Marques-Marcet talks about Long Distance, winner of five awards, including Best Film, at the Málaga Film Festival
Born in Barcelona in 1983, and initially specialising as an editor (Caracremada [+see also:
film profile]) and short-film writer before studying film direction in the USA, Carlos Marques-Marcet does not try to hide his glee at the warm welcome received by his directorial debut, Long Distance [+see also:
interview: Carlos Marques-Marcet
film profile], surrounded as he is by the members of the press that have flocked to the Mediterranean city.
Cineuropa: Has the audience reaction to your film here been different to that in Austin, where it was screened at the festival not long ago?
Carlos Marques-Marcet: It’s been different: there, people laughed; here, people seemed to prefer the dramatic aspect. In the USA, it aroused a lot of interest in the film industry, and Variety published some brilliant reviews. We’re currently negotiating international offers.
How did you plan the shoot and the use of the screens that appear in the film?
We had two apartments in Barcelona, in different neighbourhoods, and we built the set in one of them, to establish the point of view: whom the audience is with in each scene, to get a feel for the physical distance. In the other one, there was the actor, acting in front of a computer; we wanted to maintain the live aspect, in real time. Then we would change the set from one flat to the other, always respecting the chronology of events, in order to thus gradually discover the nuances of the characters while we were shooting.
How long did filming take?
Twenty days. The total budget was €350,000, and we paid the whole crew: it’s the only way to keep cinema afloat.
When the characters meet each other again, they touch and smell each other, like animals. Is technology tricking us, providing us with an odourless simulation of reality?
Yes, deep down, it’s the same as in cinema: it’s a representation of reality. Webcams are like everyday metacinema: the person using them decides how to frame the shot of him or herself as well as how to direct it; there’s an area out of shot, and you don’t know if the person is naked underneath the camera... You accept that it’s reality, but it’s constructed. The animalistic aspect is lost and changes into something symbolic. I want to explore how the tools used in cinema – the camera and the screen – have become a way of relating to other people. Because cinema is no longer outside, but has got inside relationships.
We now have two realities, don’t we? The real one and the virtual one?
Yes, but technology is good and bad at the same time: it depends on how you use it. I have friends who are addicted to their mobile phones, and when you meet up with them you have to tell them: "Hey, I’m here, next to you... Take advantage!" I don’t know if technology alienates us, but it takes us to places where we aren’t, and we have to fight against that. On the other hand, technology has also enabled us to be in contact with the entire world.
As shown in your film, even Bill Gates cannot overcome distance...
Well, there are people who manage it... but they have to be closely knit. It’s a problem with our generation: it’s difficult to plan for the future, not just because of the financial crisis, but also because of hedonism, which is the antithesis of sacrifice. This whole debate on what self-sacrifice means is also very interesting, I think.
(Translated from Spanish)