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“How do we build an ‘us’ in today’s world?”

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Carlos Marques-Marcet • Director

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- Anchor and Hope has opened the 14th Seville Film Festival: it is the second film by Spaniard Carlos Marques-Marcet, who garnered huge acclaim with his feature debut, Long Distance

Carlos Marques-Marcet  • Director
(© Óscar Romero / SEFF)

Anchor and Hope [+see also:
film review
interview: Carlos Marques-Marcet
film profile
]
is a co-production between Spain and the UK, shot on the canals of London and starring three lead actors who ooze a powerful chemistry: Oona Chaplin, Natalia Tena and David Verdaguer. The latter two previously starred in Long Distance [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Carlos Marques-Marcet
film profile
]
, the much-lauded feature debut (which also snagged the Goya Award for Best Debut Director in 2014, to boot) by Carlos Marques-Marcet, who has opened the official section of the 14th Seville European Film Festival with his second effort. We sat down to chat to the filmmaker in the Andalusian city.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: Was it hard to get this movie off the ground after the success of your debut film?
Carlos Marques-Marcet: Yes, it was a bit, as we went round in circles with the casting, and we worked intensively on the edit for nine months solid, although I shot only the scenes that I had in a mere 110-page screenplay. I work regularly as an editor, and that had never happened to me before: I’d ended up with a three-hour film, and we didn’t know what to cut, because we had these three main characters and we didn’t want to steal the limelight away from any of them. So we gradually chiselled away at each one until we arrived at a length which balanced the film out as much as possible without losing anything. The funding process went well, thanks to the success of Long Distance: the television stations helped us, but given that this was a more ambitious project than my previous movie, we were in it up to our necks a lot more. In the end it all went ok, although the production itself was more complicated.

In your debut film, distances are important, as suggested by its title; in Anchor and Hope, it is also distances and places that are crucial to the plot.
At the end of the day, that’s what cinema is, people and places; there’s not much more to it than that. I’m interested in how that space and all its facets have an impact on us: how we pass through those spaces and the distances that are created. Here, the characters are crammed onto a boat, and they get out straight away: I spent some time living on a boat to find some inspiration, and I realised that it’s complicated, logistically speaking. People live like that because it’s cheaper, and of course, you have to like that kind of lifestyle: in that situation, you get the feeling you’re living on the streets, with an inside that is never fully closed off and with the outside ever-present.

Personal relationships are at the core of your work once again.
I don’t think I’ll spend my whole life making this kind of film, but there are indeed certain concerns that are playing on my mind right now: how can you share your life with someone in the world as it is right at this moment, which really stresses the importance of fulfilling ourselves and seeking who we really are, singing our own praises the whole time... So how do we build an “us”? It’s a problem that I’m constantly worrying about, and that’s the thematic thread I’m pursuing.

You also tackle the family model, which already has no rules whatsoever...
Yes, I grew up in a world where many of my friends’ parents had divorced: then there was the mother’s boyfriend, who started to live with them. There were these new figures, and then the roles had to be created.

Why did you set the film on the canals of London?
I was really interested in establishing a link between the people and the landscape: I wanted there to be a transfer of emotions between both things. I was keen to salvage that particular remnant of the industrial era: a project on an enormous scale, constructed the length and breadth of England, which, after 40 years, had become obsolete because of the advent of the train. I liked how people live in what remains of the industrial era, right on the fringes. That speaks volumes about the world we’re living in.

(Translated from Spanish)

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