Carlota Pereda • Director of Piggy
“I wish to condemn normalised and institutionalised violence”
- After premiering at Sundance, and prior to its screening at Sitges, the filmmaker’s brutal and bloody feature debut gets a berth in San Sebastián’s most daring section
In Piggy [+see also:
interview: Carlota Pereda
film profile], the feature debut by Carlota Pereda, things happen that aren’t easily forgotten. That’s why her film makes such an impact, without neglecting to also tackle social topics using a genre as dynamic and as unpredictable as horror. The filmmaker cleared a spot for us in her diary during the San Sebastián Film Festival, where the movie is playing in the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section.
Cineuropa: Where did you get the energy to make your debut with such a crazy, brave and unusual film?
Carlota Pereda: At production house Morena Films, they told me to shoot the film that I wanted to shoot, and that was invaluable. On the other hand, I think that if you’re going to ask people to sit in a movie theatre for 90 minutes, you have to be as honest as possible with yourself and with the story, and just go all out while shooting.
It’s surprising that it was filmed in Extremadura…
As a joke, during the shoot, we would say that in Extremadura, nobody can hear you scream: it runs the whole gamut of landscapes, yet it hasn’t been seen in film. To me, it’s so beautifully cinematic... And there is still so much to be told about this region, even though Luis Buñuel already did so a long time ago.
This part of the country also has a particular light, and during the summer, you can hear the crickets all the time.
Sound is one of the most interesting things in cinema: the cicadas were there right from the beginnings of the short film Piggy, which spawned this feature.
There’s a saying in Spanish, “Pueblo pequeño, infierno grande” [about gossip spreading like wildfire in small towns]. Does everything get blown up and exaggerated in a small place like this? Do certain conflicts get watered down in the city?
It’s easier to escape in a city, although now, with social networks, there is no escape. But it’s true that in towns, the people you go to school with are the same as the people hanging out on the streets, and there’s no way out of that.
As we see in Piggy, social networks can have a cruel side to them, especially bearing in mind all those comparisons that can do so much damage in one’s teenage years…
The thing is, we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, and social networks make you do this even more. Before, it was celebrities who used to do it, but now, everyone is trying to put up a façade: it’s overwhelming, and I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be a teenager now, in this situation. On the net, I’ve come across similar LGBTI people, people who have nothing in common with you, people who look like you – or maybe you see a fiction that reflects your life, but it’s also a breeding ground for bullying.
Likewise, when you have a physique that doesn’t conform to the norm, you can feel left out.
People comment on photos without realising that they have real-life consequences and aren’t just left hanging there. Those people who say nasty things online… Why do they do it? If you don’t like a photo, just don’t say so.
Why did you choose to use the horror genre to tell this story of bullying?
Because this genre offers a great deal of freedom in terms of the style and the content: it allows you to break through the boundaries of realistic cinema and to be more uninhibited, take things further, and be more interesting and entertaining when shooting.
Thinking about Piggy, it’s impossible not to talk about Carrie or Raw [+see also:
interview: Julia Ducournau
I prefer Titane [+see also:
interview: Julia Ducournau, Vincent Li…
film profile], but I was strongly influenced by Trouble Every Day by Claire Denis, which talks about everything that Raw talks about, and also about the body and desire. I’m also fascinated by Who Can Kill a Child?, a real horror institution in Spain, set in the summer, in a small town: it’s an absolute masterpiece. Also The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, perhaps because they told us it was true. I was already scared before watching it, and when I actually saw it, I was terrified, with the heat, the dust and that reality that the images convey… The same goes for Eden Lake [+see also:
film profile] and Deliverance. In short, a whole heap of films… And as for the shooting method, Alfred Hitchcock was the indisputable maestro of that.
Women who make horror films make the headlines because there aren’t that many of you.
In Spain, there’s Denise Castro, Macarena Astorga, Alice Waddington and myself shooting features, but there are lots of women making short films. We all contribute something of ourselves, something of what we are, when we make movies. It’s important that I’m a woman, and I don’t mind attaching importance to it: it’s part of who I am as an auteur.
In addition, now filmmakers are also looking a lot to rural settings – we’ve got Alcarràs [+see also:
interview: Carla Simón
interview: Carla Simón
interview: Giovanni Pompili
film profile] and Tobacco Farms [+see also:
interview: Rocío Mesa
film profile] at this very festival, for instance.
We talk about what we know: about who we are.
But your film, like Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s The Beasts [+see also:
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Isabe…
film profile], shows a countryside setting that’s far from idyllic.
Violence is structural, and that’s why I don’t wish to talk solely about bullying, but rather about all this institutionalised and normalised violence, like bullfights, which make certain dreadful incidents possible.
(Translated from Spanish)
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