Edgar Pêra • Director of Kinorama – Beyond the Walls of the Real
“I am not attracted to realism, because I have so many more options to create a new reality”
by Teresa Vena
- The Portuguese director challenges the visual habits of the audience with his 3D documentary
For the last ten years, Portuguese director Edgar Pêra has been experimenting with 3D techniques and produced several short and feature length films. Kinorama – Beyond the Walls of the Real [+see also:
interview: Edgar Pêra
film profile], shown in the Harbour section of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, functions as a conclusion to his research. We talked to the director about his fascination for these techniques and his link with H.P. Lovecraft.
Cineuropa: How did you start working on the film?
Edgar Pêra: My research started in 2010. I did a series of several 3D films which ended with the final movie from my thesis in 2016, called The Amazing Spectators. Afterwards, I sent the film to authors I’d read through my investigation, and I had conversations via Skype with them about it. Like in the previous film, I reshot the images of the Skype videos and projected them and reshot them in 3D. I used several devices to do so. I projected the videos in other spaces or in some cases used people with monitors in their head as containers. I call them the kryptocelluloids. They appear in my first 3D short film CineSapiens. They suck reality and expel it in the form of film. Expelling is making movies.
Why did you choose H.P. Lovecraft as a reference?
There are two authors that have been obsessions in my life: Lovecraft and Pessoa. My next documentary will actually be about an imaginary correspondence between them and will be called Telepathic Letters. Lovecraft was always trying to unveil reality and to find different meanings to it, seen from a cosmic point of view. There is a short story by Lovecraft with the title Beyond the walls of sleep that inspired me for the title of the film. Kinorama shouldn't be a film like my last one, where information is the centre of it. I wanted to balance moments of trance with moments of attention.
How did you proceed in developing the visual concept?
I think this will be my last 3D feature for a long long time. Nobody is watching the film as it is, not in 3D or Dolby. I want the sound to travel in the theatre. The visuals of the film are linked essentially to the idea of three-dimensionality. Everything that overlaps is on different levels. In 3D, you can see different levels of convergence. In 2D, the levels are all smashed and bump into each other. You can't see all the richness and details of images.
How would you describe your work?
Someone told me that the film is very optimistic. I think it relates to the fact that I give space for some kind of voices, alternative voices, to express themselves in my own universe. I try to create utopia, and cinema is a great place for utopia. I am not attracted to realism, because I have so many more options to create a new reality. Pessoa said he didn't want to reproduce reality with his poems, but to invent the universe. This is what I try to do, too. My starting point is always reality, but then I want to go “beyond the walls of the real.”
What was the most important aspect for the sound design?
I did something different this time. Normally, I have an alter-ego, called Artur Cyanetto, who did a lot of sound design in my films. This is the first feature where the music is mostly entirely done by me. It's much more organic than other films I did, because it's much more personal. There are also some excerpts from the cine-concert I did in Rotterdam called Lovecraftland.
During the film, we see the interviews or the calls you do without cuts. For example, there is a phone ringing or someone disappearing. Why did you choose to keep them like that?
I wanted to make them feel like characters in real life. I wanted to give more depth to them. Since it's a self-reflexive movie, I wanted it to be self-reflexive also about this kind of communication. Then it is based on reality, and it is funny. I think even melodrama should have some humour in some places, in order to be effective.
Does it bother you that 3D has the reputation of not being artistic enough?
This opinion attracts me of course. It bothers me because, what happens when 3D is not taken seriously, is that less theaters have 3D projectors and some of them are not in good condition. 3D is in a ghetto. I think it needs to get rid of the 3D glasses and other stereotypes. Until then, it's not going to survive in the industry. Since it's something that is seen as not artistic, but only something to add a special effect or to make the film feel like a rollercoaster, other filmmakers are not interested in working in this format and these films, because they think they won't make it into festivals with them. People see in 3D something completely artificial. And actually, that’s the reason I like it. It offers a different point of view and I can look for something that has a new meaning. But I guess that ten years for this investigation is enough.
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