Sergi Pérez • Director
by Alfonso Rivera
- The Long Way Home, Sergi Pérez's debut film, was the only Spanish title in the official section of Seville: we spoke to him
The Long Way Home [+see also:
interview: Sergi Pérez
film profile], the debut film by Sergi Pérez, award-winning short-filmmaker for New Dress and professor of film and video clips adman/director, is the only Spanish film competing in the Official Section of the 11th Seville European Film Festival. He reveals to us the keys to his bold, independent and harsh film.
Cineuropa: In The Long Way Home you don't explain how the protagonist ends up in their critical situation, something that the audience might insist on.
Sergi Pérez: I preferred to focus the energy on emotion and pain. Given that there was very little money, it would have been a waste of time to explain that the cause was a traffic accident: I opted to stay with the protagonist: it was better to show how he sees the world than to explain things. Besides, I like to think beyond what the movie portrays.
Your movie coincides with Flowers [+see also:
film profile] because it deals with mourning, something that British film Lilting [+see also:
film profile] also does in the very same Seville festival.
I didn't know that. In my case the need to explain it was a personal issue. It's kind of an angry movie because I spent two years looking for financing and, suddenly, the crisis emerged. I wanted to finish the film for once and for all, that's why it's also somewhat violent. Maybe I should go to a therapist so that they can explain to me why it ended up being so aggressive: but that's the only way you can set forth your storyline, I can't imagine any other way.
How do you keep control of something so dramatic while, at the same time you have a central character that's not always likeable?
When I saw in Three colours: Red by Kieslowski, the last scene with the dog, barely two minutes of film, I wanted the dramatic tension that I felt to be present in all of the first part of the second act of my movie. Certainly, that emotion is harsh and awful, and it can disengage the viewer from the character, but I adore films that opt for this type of formula. Take for example The Piano Teacher, by Haneke, when the protagonist is cutting her clitoris and the viewer is left on the outside because it's really shocking, but it's necessary, because it's a highly sadomasochistic role. At some point we talked about better redeeming my movie's character and at the end he kind of does so: when he speaks to the dog.
What's the NIU d'INDI collective that backs the movie?
It came about as a cooperative with partners participating in the project. We're a group that's establishing itself as a producer, it's not a community: we're becoming professionalized. In order to make the movie, first we used my savings, then we did crowdfunding and later more savings, so I'm on the verge of poverty now. We didn't call to official doors initially, but later we did and we're paying for that. We don't want to live on the margins; we don't want this movie to be seen as an auteur film, rather as a challenge, an experience, because it has a unique energy. Finally we had help from ESCAC (Catalonia’s School for Film and Audiovisual Arts), I don't want to play the victim but it's sad that a Catalan-language film makes it to the official section of Seville without institutional support, although I understand that for TV3 it's madness to keep the share. We hope that in the long run it will be shown on Canal 33. But anyway, it's already paid for (it cost 45,000 euro), and now we're looking for a distributor.
(Translated from Spanish)