Laxe: That’s what I want to do, this cross-cutting. There’s the Leonard Cohen cow scene, of course, but some of the most poignant moments in the film feature animals—Amador’s dog chasing after him before the fire, the burnt wild horse. In my previous films, it was the same thing. It’s risky too. Sometimes you look at a building and it makes you feel something, but you know, it’s not saying anything specific to you. What is the etymology of the word “religion”? What about the image of these machines tearing down these trees felt like the right way to begin? By Nicolas Rapold on July 5, 2016. He is a good friend of mine. I think we have to do essential movies. I try to dissolve the border between the character and the person. Filmmaker: Your films up to this point have all taken place in Morocco, where you lived for a good part of your life. They don’t speak about love. Your email address will not be published. Fight to try to be no one. You’ve talked about how you didn’t want the film to be psychological and why that was important to you. We spoke with an unhurried contemplation about firefighting, cows, and the state of our environment. It’s what happens when the proportion of the images provokes something in you that’s not related to the narration. I know the people here very well. So that’s what I did in the movie. I’m doing that too. I have a script, I have an intention, but I abandon myself to reality. It’s difficult to work with him. I didn’t want to make a film about the personality, which means mask and persona. We filmed inside real fires and now when I look back on that I think, “Come on, you’re crazy.” [Laughs] But when we were shooting, it was natural. This was the challenge of the movie, to take the truth, the cinematographical truth, to evoke the mystery, the ineffable. Using non-professionals whose characters go by the actors’ real-life names, Laxe weaves the mundane everyday of rural life—warming bread on a stovetop, tending to wandering cows—with transcendent natural imagery of verdant mountain flora shrouded in dreamy, wet fog. More pressing matters grabbed at him—like the protection of our planet. OL: I mean, landscape is a word I always have a problem with. I sense this flavour when I imagine images and they agitate me, or when I’m in a place and I feel something while I’m there, and I enjoy introducing that flavour in images. No, not at all, because all this knighthood tradition comes from Islam. I’m interested in psychology in my life, but not when I make films. The Sufi orders inspired Spanish mystics and also other mystics from Europe. I wanted to cross over that to the essence, and when you touch this essence, you are touching the essence of the spectator that is connected a little bit with the character’s. But my hope is that sometimes beyond all the ego in my work, spectators can connect and through me find a form of expression. Is this something you’re thinking about when you develop your script? Filmmaker: Can you speak more about working with different animals? There was this sense of humility the town and the people had, an acceptance of life and nature, that really touched me. She’s a strong woman, extremely interesting…she’s amazing, the life she’s had. My references are pre-apocalyptic films like Mad Max, but also Easy Rider and Stalker. I felt like they were totally in the moment. BY YONCA TALU. It was springtime, and Oliver was working with a small team to restore his grandparents’ house. The image at the top of this interview is from Oliver Laxe, the other ones are stills from ‘Fire Will Come’, which is available now on all major VoD platforms. I watched television all my childhood, good and bad. I think it’s an archetype that’s very universal. It feels like an interesting mix of traditions, between the knights and the Sufi history. It’s also an opportunity to travel on different levels, in art and spirituality. Art helps you to work because you’re blind and so you need that tool. I think, with “landscape,” you have a dialectical relation between yourself and the nature that is in front of you. So we knew that the energy, the power, the spiritual geometry of the images of the first scene with the machines eating this eucalyptus, we knew that all of this energy will keep the spectators looking in the second movement. These fires arrive at the film’s striking climax, a violent entrancement that interrupts the story’s gentle uneventfulness. But I do have to tell you about the translation in the subtitles…. [Laughs] I was touched by them, so I wanted to share that. Fire Will Come opens at the Metrograph’s Virtual Cinema this Friday, October 30, along with short films by Laxe and a conversation with the director and cinematographer Ed Lachman. Daniel Kasman, Kurt Walker • 18 May 2016. This is the reason why I am trying to adapt myself and why my films are increasingly simple, and complex at the same time. I think it is the responsibility of a filmmaker to make images that will be with the spectator for years. All rights reserved Support forthis publication has been provided through the National Endowment for the Arts. We see that filmmakers keep using this tool when they don’t need to and we can see these filmmakers suffer. So the process was to try to not write but to do the opposite, and to always try to find an economy. This Amador is a kind of martyr. The thing is that we are also artists. It’s as if the current of the river makes the film, and we try to swim, but you have to let go and abandon yourself. I can imagine wanting to make a film like this simply to have a reason to celebrate the natural beauty of those landscapes. The film opens with a majestic image of nature, interrupted by the aggressive destruction of man made machinery. I think it’s a good thing for me to try to become detached and to manage expectation. For Amador, it was very clear because he has this very ambiguous…he has a lot of mystery. What draws you to these types of characters? There is this shot with his cow, it’s a one-minute shot. And I knew at the beginning, when there’s this boy meets girl in this car and you put on this song, I knew some of the spectators will think, “Oof, where are we going?” It’s a little bit corny. He has a djellaba, his order. But the reasons why we do things in life are not only for psychological reasons. PREVIOUS FEATURES. I pray every day to have another chance. And this is a kind of chivalry, a knight’s tale, to be a spiritual knight. The world is ending. We wanted to mix and to take. To be an author comes with collateral damage. If I kept Benedicta as she is in real life, the spectators will interpret the film in terms of psychology. RS: I understand that you filmed a real forest fire. I always find beautiful people. By Nicolas Rapold on July 5, 2016. It’s not linear, in a way, it’s a sequence that is not apparently related, narratively, with the film, but essentially the link is strong. Filmmaker: Did you know back then you wanted to become a filmmaker? Why I think I did that, after doing a tour with the film, I hear the spectators tell me what is important in [the characters’] relation is how they take care of the other. I understood very soon when I was doing my first film, You All Are Captains: that maladjustment, or being unable to adjust to society, is something that’s deeper than racial, class, or gender differences. The problem is when it’s the only one, which happens nowadays. Laxe’s mystical film imagines two arduous, enigmatic journeys across the desert, one taking place in the present and involving the transport of a sheik’s body, another taking place in a pre-modern past. All I ever saw my parents do was work, and now that’s all I ever want to do. Oliver Laxe’s first two films, You All Are Captains (2010) and Mimosas (2016), take place in his adopted home of Morocco. It’s sort of an Alcoholics Anonymous for filmmakers and neurotic artists where we can learn to sit, breathe, walk, and smoke outside of an [objective-oriented] culture. In our discussion, Laxe compared the making of his film to that of composing a symphony. The challenge is to transcend this dialectic and to dissolve yourself in nature and in the values of nature and the time of nature. In my two previous features, when I was living in Morocco, I had to put too much energy on that to try to legitimize my voice, my view, my glance. It’s an illness, it’s too much and I’m not interested in that. The spectator is not investing their energy in trying to understand…I think that it’s not visible, the love in the film. I became a filmmaker in that valley. I’m somewhat of a judge, and I know it’s something I have to work on, to not judge and that’s the reason for this character [Amador]. The fire that you filmed at the end struck me as so viscerally real, because at the time I saw the film, the Amazon rainforest was blazing, largely due to deforestation that increased under the Bolsonaro regime. The structure or geometry of the human heart is the same here, and in—where are you from? Fire Will Come is filmmaker Oliver Laxe’s third feature—a gentle and haunting drama that investigates the tormented dynamic between man and nature. Radical Ascetic: An Interview with Oliver Laxe. October 28 2020, 10:00 AM Review: Galician Fire in Oliver Laxe… It just happened. I’m abandoning myself for that. Cinematographer Mauro Herce’s cool green color palette is here replaced by luxuriant black and orange dancing blazes that fill up the screen, while questions of Amador’s guilt and intent play out in haunting ambiguity. You have to accept that always there is a distance between what you plan and what you finally do, and this is something that frustrates us, filmmakers, but I think it’s also one of the good things, because always what you find or what life gives to you is better than what you planned to do. Spanish filmmaker Óliver Laxe discusses everything behind Fire Will Come [+ see also: film review trailer interview: Óliver Laxe film profile], his acclaimed Un Certain Regard entry at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, from the soul of nature and the essence of humans to the development of the film. There’s not love in their sentences or their gestures, but we feel love between them. I just want to feel and enjoy the image.” I like that, in how some spectators, it’s changing the way he relates with that scene. I mean, I can say that now because I know the reaction all over the world. The first Galician-language film to premiere at Cannes. As the film reaches virtual cinemas, The Film Stage spoke to Laxe about the search for “essential images,” his desire to not make a psychological film, and shooting a movie where his family was born. We have a lot of examples in the past: Tarkovsky, Dreyer, Ozu, Bresson. It was the middle ages. I was free to put a song from Canada in.
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