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“Neither producers nor exhibitors take risks lightly nowadays”

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André Cruz Shiraiwa • Director


- From Brazil, but based in Barcelona, André Cruz Shiraiwa made his feature debut with L´altra frontera, which competed in the Official Section in Sitges

André Cruz Shiraiwa  • Director

From Brazil, but based in Barcelona, director André Cruz Shiraiwa made his feature debut with L'altra frontera [+see also:
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interview: André Cruz Shiraiwa
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, the second Catalan movie - alongside The Distance [+see also:
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, by Sergio Caballero – that competed in the Official Section of the Sitges Festival. Cineuropa spoke to him.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: Part of the team is made up of first-timers... Does that energy help when it comes to dealing with doubts or does it aggravate them?
André Cruz Shiraiwa: The enthusiasm helps, although you notice the lack of experience when it comes to solving problems and acting quickly in difficult situations. What undermines creativity is excessive self-criticism or the contempt shown by some script readers, as that causes energy to wane. I believe that doubts are excellent accomplices: they keep you on the ball and open to whatever comes your way.

Were you obliged to improvise on the spot or did you have to change things during filming and editing?
Yes to both. We had to improvise by choice and because of a lack of time and resources. We changed things while filming and editing: during editing we changed more than I would have liked.

Why tell a story that’s so critical of our time?
I preferred to give a critical or, better yet, raw vision, rather than providing simple escapist entertainment.

According to your movie... are we that insensitive to the problems of those who aren’t like us?
I don’t think that we’re insensitive to other people’s problems, although we’re not that concerned with what happens to people in other environments. What we’re really insensitive to -in general- are the problems caused by the system that affect our lives. I’m not talking about cuts or evictions, but about the slavery that we subject ourselves to in our attempts to be part of a social status... I believe that when you look back on your life from your death bed, you should be able to smile because of the good decisions as well as the mistakes that you made, but hopefully you won’t regret having lived your life according to what the business and marketing world dictated.

How far are people willing to go to convert any old tragedy into entertainment?
That’s another one of the boundaries surrounding us: Is it that simple to cross? What happens to modesty? Where’s the limit? I think the limit is set by the media and the audience.
Often you hear: "Yes, we produce rubbish, but that’s what the audience wants to see". I disagree, I don’t think that attitude helps... but the attitude of some people, who don’t question the moral quality of the show that they’re viewing, doesn’t help either. Add to that the sad fact that cinema is extremely expensive, so producers or distributors don’t take risks lightly, rather they seek comfort in repeating the same old patterns and a specific indoctrination, mainly on TV, towards the obscene.... Thus, only human beings themselves can define that limit.

And what are we capable of doing for an award?
Awards are crap; they’re rigged and there’s always cheating, except when they give it to you: then it’s a well-deserved, justified award, which drives your career... 

Is it possible to combine social protest and entertainment without being boring?
Let’s hope so! That’s the big challenge. But... what is entertainment? Is The Silence of Lorna [+see also:
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interview: Arta Dobroshi
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or The Piano Teacher entertainment? I don’t find them boring. I find Matrix 3, Tron 2 and a lot of superhero movies extremely boring. But what I can’t stand is the 20-minute shoot-out, with ever more powerful weapons, at the end of action movies. In my opinion, nothing is further removed from entertainment than that.

(Translated from Spanish)

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