DRAWN FROM MEMORY – Interview with Marcin Bortkiewicz – “People on the screen never die.”

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A young filmmaking student sets to make a film about his grandmother, who always wanted to be a horror film actress.Questioning the border between reality and fiction, DRAWN FROM MEMORY is an intriguing self reflexive short. MARCIN BORTKIEWICZ, film and theatre director, dramatist, screenwriter and actor, was born in Słupsk in 1976 AND graduated the University of Gdańsk and the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing.

Ioana Mischie: The  line between documentary and fiction is most often very thin, but I will dare to ask you how much of the short film is „documentaristic” and how much fictionalized?

Marcin Bortkiewicz: This short film is completely fictional. None of the scenes was improvised. I am documentarist as well, so I tried to imitate in a way the documentaristic style. But everything was planned.

Ioana Mischie: There are moments in film, where you reproduce scenes classics films such as THE BIRDS, PSYCHO or ROSEMARY’S BABY.  What impact had these films for you?

Marcin Bortkiewicz: I love those classic movies. I thought that would be great fun and as well a challenge to play with Hitchcock’s or Polanski’s horrors in my home video film. People who love cinema, love to play with cinema’s history, they try to make their version of the masterpieces. At least I love to do it. Grandma and Marek find each other in that game and became a little closer to themselves, because of those funny plays.

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Ioana Mischie: The film initially gives the audience the feeling of watching a homemade amateur video but in the end, it proves to have a concrete structure and a powerful theme, becoming an accurate and distinguished piece of cinema. How did the idea of the film start and how did you develop it? How was as well working with the actors and motivating them to act so natural?

Marcin Bortkiewicz: I read a Polish novel “Lala” by Jacek Dehnel. That was a story about a boy, who lived with his grandmother and wrote a novel about her. I thought that is a good idea to tell my story about a young man who filmed his family and suddenly realizes that he makes a film about something totally different than he planned. Irena Jun is a legend of Polish theatre. She’s most famous from her Beckett characters, performed for many years. The part, which she plays in my movie, is her debut in a leading film role. Małgorzata Zajączkowska is an actress who plays many fantastic roles in Zanussi’s,Wajda’s,  Mazurski’s and Allen’s films. Marek Kantyka is an amateur from alternative theatre Ecce Homo in Kielce, with whom I collaborate. I didn’t encounter any problems with such a good actors. The pleasure was entirely mine… They trusted me and the work on our film was for all of us a phenomenal adventure.

Ioana Mischie: The “film in film” technique is an innovative experimental tool. How provoking was for you as a young director to explore this technique?

Marcin Bortkiewicz: When I realized the entire story will be filmed from the point of view of a home camera, I assumed all consequences. I didn’t think about the “film in film” technique. I just tried to be a consequent film director.

Ioana Mischie: What is really unique about this film is that is not only personal, but also in a way profoundly philosophic, contemplating the idea of cinema. How would you define your inner type of cinema and what do you aim to explore and discover when making films?

Marcin Bortkiewicz: The most important thing for me was that people on the screen never die. That we can always return to them and in our melancholic way contemplate again and again how they moved, how they smiled, how they talked. We didin’t think about that when we filmed the people we loved, when they were still alive. We recognize this tragic fact, after their death. And this is for me a cul-de-sac of human mentality. That we believe more the shadows on the silver screen than the truth of real life.

More about DRAWN FROM MEMORY.

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