Lisandro Alonso • Director of Eureka
“I hope the film stays with the audience for a long time”
by Teresa Vena
- CANNES 2023: The Argentinian director talks about his film, one that you should enjoy without trying to understand too much about it
The intriguing new feature by Argentinian director Lisandro Alonso, Eureka [+see also:
interview: Lisandro Alonso
film profile], has premiered in this year's Cannes Film Festival’s Cannes Première section. The director spoke to us about it.
Cineuropa: To cite the title of your film that can be translated as “I found it!”, what is it that you found through the film?
Lisando Alonso: What I discovered does not need to be obvious for the viewer. The title is mainly just a title. Yes, it means “to discover something”. And I guess I will discover something in the next year, when I have had time to process the film. Everything is still too fresh at the moment. Even though I have lived for quite a long time with the idea by now, it feels as if it has just been born. I need to reflect what was good and was not good, in order to keep going. I hope the audience can find something in the film of course and keeps thinking about it for some time.
Can you speak about your concept of the structure of Eureka?
Actually, I think of it as two parts. I like to move from one place to another to evoke some rhythm. We travelled from Spain to Mexico, from Portugal to the US. It's a nice way to do films, to travel and find people on the way.
How was the shooting of the Western with Viggo Mortensen?
We shot in Almeria for five to six days. It was very short. I know Viggo from before. We worked on my previous film Jauja [+see also:
film profile] together and since then relate well to each other.
As for the rest of the cast, did you work with non-professional actors?
There are one or two professional actors, but most of the characters are played by non-professional actors.
One of the topics of the film is reincarnation?
I don't know. I actually didn't really think about it, even if it's a proposal in the film. I just take it as a poetic kind of go away from my own world. Is that reincarnation?
Why did you choose the bird as the being which one of the protagonists transforms into?
It's a big bird that emigrates once a year from Mexico to Argentina. I like the way it looks. This is why I choose it. Doesn't have any kind of mystical, secret meaning.
What does the audience have to understand about the film?
There is nothing to understand. It's just like a painting, maybe a bad painting. You just go and immerse into it. The essence of it, it's that it's a film about people living in bad conditions.
As for the episode playing in the reservation, wasn't it difficult to get access?
We had to get a lot of permissions, from the police, the municipality and the council of the school. We explained our projects and they agreed. We were supported by the police, because it was exactly what we had in mind to show how hard it is to be a police officer in Pine Ridge. I think they were curious about the project.
Did you feel a mistrust about what kind of picture you would depict about the community?
Alcoholism, drugs, suicides are always in the titles of the newspapers. But since it's part of the reality, it's not possible to avoid it. Moreover, our protagonist is a police woman. I thought it was a good perspective to tell things. To prepare, I met the police, travelled with them and they told me what kind of things they show every day. I heard a lot of very sad and hard stories. Some of them are in the film now. What was difficult to cope with, was that at times we were expecting people to play different characters, then the shooting started, but they didn't show up. It could happen that the night before they had been arrested for some reason.
Family is one of the elements that comes back a lot in the film. What does it mean to you, do you find your drive in your family?
My parents are still alive, as well as my three brothers. And yes, we are close. Also, in my previous films there is always a father looking for his daughter. This came to me even before I myself got a daughter. I guess it's a subconscious thing.
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