OUR DAYS, ABSOLUTELY, HAVE TO BE ENLIGHTENED – Interview with JEAN-GABRIEL PÉRIOT: “I really believe in the power of music as a tool to share emotions. I thought those voices, coming up from a closed place, will be enough to move the audience.”

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Oana Ghera: I know that OUR DAYS, ABSOLUTELY, HAVE TO BE ENLIGHTENED started as a piece of performance art, a concert you worked out with the inmates, but I was curious to know how did you go from that to the experimental documentary that is Our Days…?

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RIVER RITES – Interview with BEN RUSSELL: “I never thought about film as a tool for translation but rather as a way of conjuring, as a means for bringing the unseen out of the shadows and transforming time into a body that we all could understand.”

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Luciana Dumitru: Michel de Certeau writes about the experience of a French travel writer, Jean de Léry, in Tupi, using the term “remainder” for that which couldn’t be translated (into words). In Léry’s case, the overwhelming (subjective) aural and visual pleasures, from the language he couldn’t understand and strange sounds to the visceral experiences of being surrounded by naked bodies. De Certeau says “proximity is presence without possession.”  In your experience of living within the community of Saramaccan animists can you talk about “remainders” that you wanted to pin down? If so, how did film help you? More importantly, what are the “remainders” of this film – RIVER RITES (which is different from the lived experience)?

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NOT EYE – Interview with LAUREN MOFFATT: “Because of the role the camera plays as the conductor of plot in cinema, whoever is holding it essentially has the power.”

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Luciana Dumitru: NOT EYE drew my attention in two directions: looking (and being looked upon) and the gaze in cinema. Some philosophers think of identity as fragmented, non-unitary, non-essentialist, unfixed. In looking and being looked upon, there is an undoing of each other, in a certain sense. You’ve said the character has a problem finding her own identity,“she sees it fragmented” because of the others’ look. Can you say a few words about the relation between the other’s look and the fragmented identity?

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AS THE FLAMES ROSE – Interview with JOÃO RUI GUERRA DA MATA: “As feelings are timeless, cinema should move in the same direction, an acute abstraction of reality that takes you forward while making you look back.”

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Oana Ghera: You were inspired for AS THE FLAMES ROSE by Cocteau’s “La voix humaine”, a monologue written for theater  whose theatricality you expose in various ways, from  revealing its source (by posing the book on the character’s nightstand) to the expressionist play with the lighting (to name just one of your techniques). Yet, it seems to me, AS THE FLAMES ROSE is also a declaration of love for cinema as a medium, what with all the rear projections and TV footage, for artificial as they may be, still manage to expand the enclosed space of the studio in a deeply cinematic way. Where do you stand regarding the long theorised relation between cinema and theater? Where did the influence of the play end and where did that of cinema begin in your creative process? Or are they intertwined? And also regarding the matter of theatricality, how do you relate to Fassbinder’s work?

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