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VENICE 2003 Code 46

Winterbottom: “The future is now”


- The British director has presented a love story starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton in competition. It’s set in a future that still features today’s divisions in society

Winterbottom: “The future is now”


The near future that Michael Winterbottom shows in Code 46 [+see also:
film profile
, presented in competition yesterday, is very similar to life today.
The British director who won the Golden bear at the Berlin Festival for his moving film In This World, talks us through his latest story about love and freedom, set in a hypothetical future where instinct has taken over from reason, and where the rules are more important than human emotions.

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Why did you decide to show a future that is so similar to the present?
”The idea behind this film is to show how we change as human beings over the years. 10 years ago we were different to the way we are now, and it will be the same in another 10 years time. The technological trickery is just a way of showing a possible evolutionary path, the future is a combination of the many current realities in our world, a life that is full of variety nowadays”.

But the central theme of the film seems to be about love and the problem of making choices, rather than the science-fictional backdrop...
”This type of film shouldn’t give explanations or tell stories, it should be thought-provoking. Yes, the central theme is a love story, but at the same time it’s about freedom. The question I asked myself was if it was better to live in a dangerous but stimulating situation or to give it up right from the start. The protagonist knows that his love story has no future, but he prefers to continue with it to the full, rather than never really understanding it completely”.

There are two separate people in the film, the one that has “insurance cover” to live in the city and the one who lives on the sidelines, in a completely abandoned area. Why did you create this division?
”These two people do cross paths. I couldn’t say that one is good and the other not so good, because they’re complementary figures. There are the big cities, where everything is already arranged, prepared, studied, where poor people look for work, but they have to accept the established “codes”.
The cities are overpopulated and they are brought under private, not military, control, which is the only way to make them liveable. Whereas in the life outside, you see the people “without papers” organising themselves as best as they can in the struggle to survive”.

Do you think you have a somewhat pessimistic outlook on the world?
”In In This World, I showed the chaos and pain of an unprotected minority. But it’s the same world in Code 46, divided between the elite who are prisoners in a world of rules, and the marginalised who are abandoned to the chaos. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s the solidarity between those who have nothing and who are trying to make life bearable, enabling ill people to have fun and move forward”.

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(Translated from Italian)

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