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Interview: Nacho Vigalondo • Director

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“Privacy seems like a relative value to us”


- Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows is a co-production involving Spain, France and the United States, shot in English and with US stars such as Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey heading up the cast

Interview: Nacho Vigalondo  • Director

Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows [+see also:
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interview: Nacho Vigalondo
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is a co-production involving Spain, France and the United States, shot in English and with US stars such as Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey heading up the cast. Cineuropa has met up with the Spanish filmmaker.

Cineuropa: How are sales doing for Open Windows after its appearance at the festival in Austin?
Nacho Vigalondo: Quite well, thanks to Wild Bunch: in Japan and Europe, it sold very quickly. Whenever that happens, I feel as if my pride has been wounded because I think: it’s not because of me, but rather because of the casting. A film sells well if it has a strong cast. In pre-sales, when the film has not yet been shot, people place a good deal of faith in attention-grabbing names – in this case, those of Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey... because no one knows me in Japan!

Which of your concerns does Open Windows stem from?
This is the first time that a film originated somewhere other than me: Enrique López Lavigne and Belén Atienza – the producers – suggested I shoot a thriller in which the language of the internet featured heavily. I maximised that approach and turned the film into a stream of events, without any ellipsis, through a screen that would be on at all times. But more than the internet, digital technology or social networks, I’m interested in something that’s traditionally related to film: real time. More than hypertext language, I’m interested in split screen, a resource that we’re used to. Therefore, the element that drove me to get going with this project is more traditional than it may appear.

I assume that post-production was a very long and complicated process...?
It’s the film that I devoted the most post-production time to, but it’s not the film where I had the most control over the end result. In Extraterrestrial [+see also:
film review
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interview: Nacho Vigalondo
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we were able to expand it or take things out because it was a manageable film, though not an easy one. In the case of Open Windows, if I wanted to tweak the edit, I had to do it through the sound, as it was impossible to shift that huge mass around. It’s not a film with cuts in the shots, but rather a stream of information, with a colossal digital footprint.

All the planning to make sure that the timings matched up must have been hell...
The big challenge for me was to manage to make the film exude a life of its own, despite it being a matter of logistics. More than shooting, we were solving a Sudoku puzzle: that’s scary because you’re not directing from the point of view of the humanity that the characters have to transmit, but rather you’re putting together a jigsaw puzzle, which takes me back to Timecrimes [+see also:
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interview: Nacho Vigalondo
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, another complicated movie.

There are currently too many windows in our lives – is that not going to drive us a little bit mad?
I’m doing exercises in order not to lose my ability to concentrate, and I have a very basic mobile phone: I’ve started closing these windows because I miss the brain I had 15 years ago, when I found it easier to read a text in greater detail or to watch a film from start to finish, without any interruptions.

A movement has emerged defending the right to have no digital footprint on the web.
It’s interesting, this right not to be there: suggesting that machines are there to serve us, and not the other way around. The driving force behind the film is to reattach a negative connotation to being constantly exposed and to realise that not being in front of a camera is something positive. We like constantly being in front of the camera, and we entrust our privacy to a company in exchange for small pleasures: the laws governing the exposure of children within the media are very strict, but you see kids playing the fool on YouTube because their parents are filming them. Privacy seems like a relative value to us. Open Windows attempts to get back that old feeling of panic you had when you were in front of a camera.

So it’s something there’s no turning back from...
I think there will be upsets: names will be given to the syndromes that will start popping up. We’re in an age like that featured in Mad Men, when people used to smoke unaware that it would cause cancer: we’re the generation that’s testing things out, discovering what effect the internet is having on our attention span. Right now, attention deficit is a global epidemic. When this syndrome has a name attached to it and there are therapists that fight to cure it, we’ll see everything in a different light.

(Translated from Spanish)


original title: Open Windows
country: Spain
sales agent: Wild Bunch
year: 2014
directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
screenplay: Nacho Vigalondo
cast: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey

main awards/selection

South by Southwest Film Festival 2014
Miami International Film Festival 2014
Beaune Film Festival 2014
Beaune International Thriller Film Festival 2014

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