Le Quattro Volte (2010) takes place in and around the remote mountain village of Caulonia in the district of Calabria in southern Italy. As well as being close to where director Michelangelo Frammartino grew up, Pythagoras lived there with the members of his cult in the sixth century BC. The title of the film is taken from a saying attributed to Pythagoras and can be translated as both “the four turns” and “the four times”. The four turns refer to the fourfold transmigration of a soul – “You shall know yourself four times” – from human to animal to vegetable to mineral. Frammartino’s film unfolds a journey between cinematic bodies and seems to gesture towards the possibility an invisible interconnectivity between species. Through the incorporation of accidents and staged moments of slapstick humour, the boundaries that sustain a constructed cinematic community are called into question. The ostensibly continuous protagonist suggested by the camera’s gaze begins as an elderly goatherd, changes to a new born kid goat, turns into a pine tree, and finally becomes a structure of burning charcoal. A simultaneity of multiple co-dependent actors, rather than the linear trajectory of a singular soul, is suggested through various devices such as sound design that does not privilege human dialogue.
Chris Heppell: I thought I could begin by speaking a little bit about my thesis and my interpretation of LQV.
Michelangelo Frammartino: I tried to read it. I probably understood something but not everything because I’m really slow in reading English. Let’s go, let’s go…
CH: So in this paper I’m thinking about the film in terms of continuity, the continuity of film and the idea of duration in relation to cinematic time… and then these moments of interruption which you have staged in the film, and of course the most obvious ones are the death of the goatherd, the chopping down of the tree and the burning of the charcoal. I also focussed on these little moments throughout the film as scenes which open up a discussion about mortality and community… I write about these little interruptions that you have in the film and the political implications of these interruptions, the mixings up that you stage between different hierarchies.
CH: Different hierarchies and different species… this question of interruption is quite important to my experience of the film. I think the first thing I wanted to ask you was related to whether you see this film in terms of a kind of art history, a tradition of landscape painting perhaps? Like an interruption or intervention into this history. Because for me personally when I see your film I see echoes of Cezanne and Vembrandt and Vermeer [MF – laughter] and I see that the way you’ve composed the frames of some of the images speaks to me of this tradition of painting, but it’s like making this into a living landscape, a living painting, almost. I’ve been wondering about this and thinking how intentional this is for you?
MF: Yes, well you saw… I don’t know if you could see something about an installation I made this winter, last winter, that was in New York in MOMA in April and it’s an installation I’m working on – I want to do something similar to this on a future film which I’m working on now – it’s really an installation on “moving landscape” and if you want to go on Youtube then, er, someone [laughter] put it in a very good quality.
MF: Well, er, great for you but not for me! But you can see a small part of the installation and I’m working on this idea of moving landscape and alive landscape in some way – trying to work with landscape like it is a face in some way… So do you want, shall I try to say something about interruption?
CH: If you like because I know you’ve spoken about LQV as a political film [MF laughing] which I agree with this to an extent in the way that I understand the political, because for me is the way that the political become a question – so for me this film is political in the way that it is a questioning of the communities and the hierarchies that sustain the political.
MF: You know that we have a very bad situation in Italy in politics. The past thirty years have been very very bad. Now soon it is going to finish but our culture is really influenced by these thirty years. So, it’s very hard for us – You know that – okay, we have to talk about Mr Berlusconi. Now Mr B. derived his power from controlling images, working with images. He was working during the 1960s building houses for people. And he became rich in this way – well not exactly in this way, because no one knows how or why he’s so rich – too much – in a few years. But, he was working on building houses for people. He wanted to build houses, to build Italy, to build the world, places for people… and now he is always talking about the house and family. “I want to protect your house, I want to protect your family.” He was entering the house to touch people, to seduce people. He built a village outside Milan – I was born in Milan, I was born in Milan in ’68, and the first house that he built was built 200 metres from my house. So, Mr B, his first building was really close to me, so it’s very touching for me – but then he wanted not to build in Milan, he decided to build outside Milan, and he invented “Milan 2”. So like a new Milan but a Milan very far from reality, no? This was in the beginning of the seventies. And in the seventies there were a lot of fights in Italy, a lot of passion, between different social classes, and it was a very strong and interesting situation. So in a way he refused this situation and wanted to build a village outside. Like, far from reality – where there are no demonstrations, no problems, no criminality, and so his project was to build something really – it’s hard for me in English – really relaxed, far from problems, no? But in this village in 75/76 he started a television channel, a private cable television channel. And he understood that with this television inside the village, that he didn’t need to build Italy to control Italians, but the right way was with televisions in the houses. And he made this test with this small television [channel] in the village and then he started working in building a private television [channel]. So what I wanted to say – perhaps it became too long for you – is that we grew up with his images and this changes us really a lot. You must know that when we were young we had only two television [channels] when I was a child and television was on only in some moments during the day – during lunch television was stopped.
CH: Just to clarify you’re referring to Rai 1 and Rai 2?
MF: Yes, exactly, and I remember when transmission was starting, around, I think, 12pm and was finishing at around 11 at night. So during lunch – stop – and during dinner – stop – because the family must talk together. No one wants to watch television at these times. But Berlusconi started using the night, using the morning, using everything. Television everywhere, all the time. Programmes for children, every moment. So entering in the house, entering with the images. So what I wanted to say is that making images in our country means being involved in politics. Because you are trying, when you touch images in our country you are doing something very connected with power and with politics. So in my opinion if I make a movie where you are free to understand, to decide, to look inside, to move inside the movie, and not only being there, receiving these messages, you are making something which for Italy is revolutionary. It is something against power. Not because you are talking about something involved in politics, but only because you are building images with freedom for the viewer. So we can say many things but if where you work you make images that are not forcing the viewer but are images that are there and you can move inside – you are making something revolutionary, in Italy.
CH: I can see so many connections in LQV itself. For example, even in the way that you have different locations complicating the village – it’s not just one village as it is for Berlusconi, this idea of the ideal village which can be controlled – so there’s a sense in which you are making the village into a multiplicity – breaking down this idea of there being a coherent inside which can be controlled and then the outside [“Nature”, Italy in the 1970s] which makes so much sense in terms of everything you just said. I can see these connections.
MF: When you say interruptions – this means that… You know continuity is something that is very relaxed for the viewer. Something that is continuous means that you can stay there. If you interrupt you are asking them to reconnect, to work. You cannot say – usually, in Italian cinema, probably [laughter], when a movie starts you enter into like a dream and then you wake up when it finishes. Then, if you have a movie where you have to work, interruptions means that there is a hole – a window – the interruption is like a window that you can enter and make something. Because the interruption means that you miss something, and there is a hole. You miss something and you have to build this thing yourself. So the movie is made in part by me and in part by the viewer. This means that there is an interaction and there was no interaction in the images which we received at the end of the seventies/eighties. So for this reason I say that it is a political movie – because it is working on the idea that when you watch an image you have to find a connection. An interpretation.
CH: Yes, and there are also these existential implications I think because you try and fill in those spaces and it makes me think of the possibility of a soul, for example, like the journey of a soul… MF: That is invisible… yes exactly – it’s invisible. So you have to work on this invisibility. The main character is invisible. The main character of the movie is invisible. You can only see the surface, when he is a man, when he is an animal, when he is a plant, but the main character is invisible. So you have to create it, to find it… And I wanted to say that it’s like if the main character is behind the image. When I went to Berlin for the postproduction work on the sound I asked them – I said to them that I only wanted to use the speaker behind the image… you know the surround that modern cinema has a very complex speaker system. And we worked during the mix, during the shooting, for a sound coming only behind the image because I wanted to say to the people that the most important thing is behind the image. The image is a surface but the meaning, the soul, is behind the image. So I used a sound that was saying “I’m here” like in an installation (not like cinema). And in the beginning it was not easy for the people working with me because they were really worried because if you use only the speaker behind the screen and you go to Cannes for the premier where the screening room is very, very large, people very far from the screen have problems hearing. In the end they were happy because they worked on this problem – they understood that in this movie sound had to give depth in some way. It was very important. In Le Quattro Volte if you hear it from a good source you can understand that the sound is coming only from behind. I am here, I am behind the image, but the image is not everything. The image is something which shows and hides at the same time. You see something but when you see something you are losing something that is behind, and I don’t want to forget that the image shows and hides at the same time. And when I see a Christo installation his work is considered to be very complex but I see something very simple. Every day when I go in the centre square of my city in Milan to visit the main monument – I see it so many times that I no longer see it. But if somebody hides it then I immediately see it. And I think that when you are in front of a Christo installation you see the monument at the moment it is invisible. So this is interesting. So the main character is in this mode – this is the reason why you really see it. Because you have to build it with your eyes, with your ears, with your mind.
CH: And also related to this because there is no narration, no voice over, and the only text is the title. And for me as well, because I don’t have any Italian, even the short conversations where there is some Italian being spoken, I can’t understand what is being said.
MF: No one can understand because it’s a dialect. It’s the Calabrian dialect. It’s like Japanese to Italians.
CH: But can you understand because of your family connection – through your grandmother?
MF: I understand, I can speak Calabrian. I like it because there are many Calabrian dialects. In one village you don’t understand the dialect of another village. And I like it because it is like using sounds.
CH: Can I ask you something about ecology and the ecological question that you have in previous interviews suggested could be significant for thinking about this film? You said in an interview with Jonathan Romney that you felt a balance had been broken between man and nature. I’m just wondering if you could elaborate on that a little bit more – to what extent was this a very strong problem that your film is responding to. Is this related to things like global warming, climate change, and how these forces are becoming more apparent to us now? Because for me it feels like a very contemporary film in this respect…
MF: What I want to say is that I like it if there is an ecological interpretation of my work. I don’t remember exactly what I said to Jonathan but what I feel as a contemporary man is that I lost a bit of my connection with the world. I think that in some way this is our malady, we are a bit disconnected. And I remember that when I was reading Gilles Deleuze’s work on cinema, Cinema 1 and 2, and in that work he says that yes, we don’t believe that we are disconnected by the world any more. And he said that cinema can reconnect us to the world like a medicine. And I’d like to say that I have felt this sometimes when watching a movie that I love but that probably this reconnection to the world was very physical watching some interrupting installation. It’s like this separation between us and the world – I feel the same separation in front of the image. And this separation is very big because the invention of perspective gave us a lot of power – we are the centre of the world, with a lot of control – but this separation is a big distance, you are not inside, you are not in control. So when I was young witnessing an installation I could touch, I could move something, and sometimes when the installation was really good I felt really connected. So my interpretation of Deleuze’s sentence was this: when you build a strong connection with the image you are finding your connection to this image, not to the world, and this was something I have always tried to do with my works. Finding this connection. And the connection means that you are part of the world and the world is part of you. So in the movie you have to be part of the movie. So in the movie if there are parts of the movie that you help to build, this means that you belong to the movie and the movie belongs to you. So when there is a strong relation you are finding the connection and the story of a man that becomes an animal, a tree, some charcoal, is the story of a man that finds his connection… CH: Yes, but it’s not always a reassuring connection, it can be uncomfortable. It can also be very sad.
MF: I think that this is conditioned by our cultures of death. I met many people who saw LQV and I collected very different reactions. Someone was laughing from the beginning to the end and someone was crying. Personally I couldn’t imagine that someone would cry because I think that there are funny moments, there is humour, and I think that it is important when you make this type of cinema that it can be funny. I love Jacques Tati. I really love Jacques Tati. I really love Chaplin, and about Chaplin, I love how many times he became something not human. Something else like a sculpture or a puppet. So there is this crossing of the line between the human and the mineral there in Chaplin also. I wanted to make something funny.
CH: I just wanted to say something about your use of slapstick. It’s very controlled and the way you frame the scenes makes it very explicit that we are watching an image and I can imagine the apparatus of the crew surrounding that framing.
MF: I think this is true but it is also very important to recognise that there is also a fight, always, between controlling – because we are human, I am human, I want to make a proper movie [laughter] and I want things to happen in the best way but I also know that this is very violent. So I want to do it but at the same time I want to use things that I cannot control. I cannot control 200 goats. I cannot say to the goat “go on the table”. I can put the goat on the table but she goes down. So there is always a fight in every part of the image between control and out of control. Always. And for me this is one of the most important concerns of the movie. I’m human, I have this horrible way of relating with the world. I want to control, I want to make everything perfect. But in this fight with the world I want to lose. I can still lose with an actor but I can control it in some way. But if I lose with a goat I cannot control this. And if I go in a village where there is this ancient celebration with the tree – if there are two thousand people who are really drunk I can say nothing to them! Or the charcoal, the process of the charcoal is very specific, and many times I could ask something of the workers but at other times I could ask nothing of them so there is always this fight between control and out of control. CH: This is one of the things that I find political about the film, the way you make this relation explicit…
MF: I was always very – I’m not a philosopher, but I studied a bit of philosophy by myself. I studied architecture and there was this connection in Milan between architecture and philosophy. Enzo Pacci was in some way connected to Husserl – phenomenology – and there was always an interesting relation between the architectural university and the phenomenologists. I understood that they appreciated our point of view because we are ignorant in some way – we can say something stupid and this can be good for the philosophers (who think they know everything already!). Could you bring me back to the question though…
CH: It was to do with making the relation between control and accident explicit in your film.
MF: Yes, sorry. I was really fascinated by the idea of “aporia”. From Derrida. When something is impossible to decide because two ideas that are in fight: life and death, control and non-control, human and not human etc. When these two things are together so that the spectator, the viewer, cannot decide…
CH: You just made me think of a scene in the film where the goatherd is in the church surrounded by the statues and then following that scene there is something almost divine, this very beautiful moment with the dust motes percolating around the inside of the church. It is a very divine moment but also a very material moment (this relation between the statues and the dust).
MF: But you see the shepherd, the old shepherd, goes to the church every morning to eat the flesh. So there is this connection between the flesh that is dirty and the medicine, the spirit, the possibility. I think that in every image in the movie I tried to build an aporia. So you know there is this long sequence with the dog in the centre of the movie. There we are in the point of the village that is half inside and half outside. There is the dog and the village. And the house of the shepherd is half inside and half outside, you will see in one scene he opens the window to look outside. You will see that he is on the line – part inside and part outside. I tried to make a movie that is always on the line, the border, the limit. Death/Life. I am really working on images that you cannot close, that you cannot decide what it is. It’s always on the line, this is my idea of interaction with the image. I don’t know if I can explain this very well in English.
CH: Well there is this moment that I find hilarious and I laugh when I experience this moment. When I see the truck going towards the fence but then the camera moves away. To me this is the funniest moment in the film – because this should be the event, the moment of revolution. But we don’t see it – the gaze of the camera is unconcerned. MF: Yes, it’s really the central point. I decided you couldn’t see the crash because we were making the crash, the crash was too controlled. But the dog was not exactly controlled. He is a trained dog but it is impossible to train a dog to make such a long take. Dogs can usually only make twenty or ten second takes. No one had made a nine minute take… So in that moment my camera operator was waiting for the dog to make the pan because in that scene you understand that the centre is not the man, the personality, it is the dog. So it’s like a revolution – it’s not the man in the centre, it’s something else. So the camera operator had to pan with the dog because he knew that the truck was going to go against the fence, but he couldn’t film this because it was a fake crash. However, the dog was not going in the right direction so he had to move. So this is why I decided to keep it like this because of this balance between a lot of control and out of control. The truck was doing the right thing but the dog was not doing the right thing. Because it is impossible to force the dog to do something for nine minutes. So I had to work a lot with the sound at that point – the sound of the crash, the sound of people calling, and the barking of the dog, to find a way to make it work. Sorry for my English.
CH: No, this is excellent.
MF: It’s great [laughter].. [ironically] Well thank you..
CH: It’s very interesting because I’ve thought a lot about this scene and it gives me a different perspective too because I’m almost anticipating that things are planned when they are not. As a viewer I assumed that the movement of the camera at this point was very deliberate. So this changes my perception of the scene.
MF: I, on the French DVD there is the backstage of the crash sequence. So you can see the shooting there. But probably I have it – I can probably give you a file with the shooting of the long sequence.
CH: Thank you. I just don’t actually have that many other questions but I was going to ask you about how you feel about the film once it has been released, when, in a certain sense, it has become a product or commodity. Because, with this film specifically, there is a long process of going to these places and observing the behaviour of the animals. So just for you as a director….
MF: Yes in terms of what you are asking. To make LQV, which is in many ways a small and simple movie, I worked for five years. So it was very, very long and very hard and all the production. I shot the episodes of the animal and the episodes with the tree first and these were spaced out over a full year. It was really hard, and when I finished it, it was really a liberation. I love this movie and I hate this movie. Because really it was destructive, it was terrible. On the one hand I love this country, I love my country, the people that I love, and I love a lot of work. But at the same time it was a disaster [laughter] because I think that if you try to make this type of cinema it can be too connected to your life, to a community you know. It is not something that you can organise at home like writing. It is a fight with reality – it is hard for you and for people around you. So what I can say is that I saw it only in Cannes at the premier and I never saw it again. So I saw it the last time four years ago.
CH: Do you think that this process of fighting with reality has an ethical dimension. Do you develop patience?
MF: I think so because when you are not involved with the reality you are shooting there is more violence. When you arrive as a voyeur only it is too violent. You know, when you arrive in a village, but not only a village (it is a small village), but in a reality, with a camera, you change that reality with a camera. The crew is like the military arriving. There is the crew, the organization of the crew, there is the leader, there is this guy with the camera – and the camera is… It is very violent. And this is why when you are around with the camera everyone is asking you – are you the television? Is this Rai? And why do they this? The reason for this is that when the camera arrives, when this mechanical eye arrives, we expect this to mean that the “final word” on reality is about to be spoken. Because before the camera, I think something is shifting more, it is full of different meanings. But when the camera arrives, boom, it is only one. Because when you arrive, you arrive into their homes. It is a violent tool because you force reality to say what you think. Instead, when you are so involved in reality you use things that you cannot control. And sometimes you lose control completely. It is something more ethical because there is violence, but there is less violence. There is more balance. But it’s very hard. You need a lot of time. And when I finished it for two years I did nothing. And when last year, when I shot this installation, I thought to myself, oh my god, not again. I’m again in this small village where everything is hard and I’m not in a big town writing on my table and going to festivals, drinking, and being cool. Because you know cinema can be very very cool!
MF: Because this type of cinema is not so cool. It’s very, very heavy and this is probably the ethical approach to reality.
CH: And also on the part of the spectator. Because of the pace of the film, the slowness, and the way that we are made to feel attentive to what is there. This feeds back into the reality of what is happening in our own lives.
MF: You have a responsibility in some way. You cannot watch it without responsibility. You have a responsibility because the meaning depends on you. It is related to what we were saying in the beginning about watching Berlusconi’s television. There is no responsibility when you are watching Berlusconi’s television because they made it. You have only to receive. And this changes us – no responsibility – Italians are without responsibility. But in this cinema it is heavy. You have responsibility when you are in the cinema. This is why no one wants to go and see it! But yeah, it’s not always. I know that because I grew up with Berlusconi’s television I know that somewhere in my mind there is the reason. And what’s very dangerous is that it was sold to us as entertainment. He is not saying something horrible or something that you think is not right. And this is why this kind of film is really, really heavy. Political doesn’t mean that I have to say something in an overtly political way, a criticism. It is the language, it is the aesthetic of the movie that is political. And this is why Berlusconi changed us so much. Because he was saying nothing, but it was the language, the way he said it, that was significant.
CH: You see I’ve seen this film several times now but on one occasion I went to see it with some undergraduates because my colleague Dr Laura McMahon was teaching the film. It was part of a series of seminars about animals in cinema called “Creaturely Cinematics.” I was seeing the film with this group of younger students (21, 22 year olds). Yes there was a lot of laughter but there were also moments where people felt genuinely shocked. For example when the goat is born, when the kid goat is born. I had this guy sitting next to me and he said “Jesus Christ!” and I was speaking to him afterwards. And I asked him afterwards “why did you react that way?” And he said to me afterwards it was because he didn’t know if the animal was defecating or giving birth. For a moment, he just didn’t understand what was happening. These kind of shocking moments are very real events…
MF: There are many reasons why I decided to show the birth of the goat. Because there is a character that arrives from nothing – boom – so it is arriving, again, from behind the image. Arriving into the world is so normal because everyone was born in this way, but it’s so – it’s a miracle, because from nothing, there is an arriving. I don’t like when a character enters the frame from the left or the right. I like them to enter from a door, from the centre. Because – well, for many reasons. And entering in this way is really the best way for me because the entry precedes the image. CH: I suppose I wanted to know – and I know this is a very empirical question – but, how long were you waiting there for the birth? Were you positioned there behind the camera waiting for a long time?
MF: No, it was easy. It was easy because I worked a lot before – it was very hard to make the movie. I worked for two years alone only with my characters. And after two years of working with shepherds I knew when goats were arriving. So the only problem is that I wanted a white goat and I couldn’t know when a white goat would arrive. So, we were very lucky that day because that one was the first goat that we shot and it was white. We had only to wait for three hours because in fact we know that when the goat is giving birth to the kid, we were there with two cameras and hoping for a white goat. There is one goat every twenty minutes and we were very lucky with that one – it is the only shot we were very lucky with!
CH: Did you want it to be white for aesthetic reasons?
MF: Yes, because you have a lot of red, brown, black, and I wanted to be able to immediately see our goat. I needed the white goat to stand out from the middle of the darkness… I want to say – it’s very funny what I’m going to say to you – but the casting, for the shepherd, was very easy. I had three shepherds and I chose the main character out of the three. But for the tree, for the main character of the tree, I looked at maybe three hundred trees! Because for the actors you can say – do this and do that etc – so that they become as you want. But the tree you must choose the right position, the right distance from the other tree, to be a character. So the casting for the tree was really hard and the casting of the people was really easy. This is – I don’t know if it is interesting for you. When you work – humans are the centre of the cinematic language. And I have said this many times – for example, when you say close up, this always applies to the man. A long shot is a shot where the man is the [focal] point. A medium shot is, for example in this room, where there is a balance, applying to the centre (and in terms of man). So the man is always in the centre. When you take away the man and you have things that are usually in the background, like animals and trees, you are really making a revolution, because you are changing the composition of the image. For technicians, for the people who work on a film set, it is a big problem because you know you have the sound in the centre of the image. And the sound in the centre of the image is for dialogue. But I don’t have dialogue so I use other sounds from the centre. And they don’t want to do this, because they learnt that the centre speaker is for the word, for the dialogue. When you put something like the sound of the wind, the sound of the animals, in the centre of the image, then something really strong happens for the viewer, because they know that from the centre arrives the voice. The human voice. So when something else arrives from there it’s very strong for you, it’s really a revolution. You have to force the sound engineer to do this. And when you use it and you work on colour correction, and you don’t have the human, it’s a big problem because they don’t have the skin as a reference. Because when you work on colours, the first thing that you can correct is the human skin, and then you can correct the other colours. Everything is in relation to the skin. So when you take out the humans, you are lost when it comes to colour. When you take out the dialogue, you are lost when it comes to sound. It’s very, very interesting and the result is that the post production is very, very long. Because we need time to build the balance.
CH: I have another question relation to a previous film you made called Il Dono (the gift)…
MF: Yes, 2003…
CH: and I’m just wondering, because for me this film is, perhaps, and in the terms you were talking about earlier, a more explicit attack on what Berlusconi is doing. It’s more like a television drama in terms of its focus on human narrative. It’s a way of challenging those conventions.
MF: I agree with you even though I know that there are many other critics who think in a different way. I must say that I was always lucky with critics… and I’m waiting for the movie where critics will dislike one of my films. But someone says that Il Dono is maybe harder, more rigorous? I don’t know how you say it in English.
CH: Yes, rigorous.
MF: And that LQV is more easy, more playful with the human concerns. And I agree with you that from a narrative point of view Il Dono is closer to a traditional movie. I think, but I’m not the right person to say, that when you make this kind of movie it applies to people, and they know what to think about people. But for me there is a strange relation in Il Dono between the people and the movie. Because in the cinema you usually see a town or a city. But in this film it is a rural world. But this rural world is in some way… it is in some way invaded by elements from our world. There is a pornographic image, or there is a mobile phone. It is like there is something from you as a viewer, that is falling into the movie. It’s falling there. So in Il Dono his [the central protagonist] life changes – it is like watching, you are the present of the movie. You are the one with pornography, mobile phones, etc. In the movie, from the screening room if you like. So I think that for me there is an interesting interaction between the present of the screening room and the movie.
CH: You know I also found this in LQV with the Grazia magazine that the dust is wrapped in. So I see a connection between the two films there.
MF: [laughter] Okay, okay!
CH: So there is this sense of the contemporary which makes me realise that there is no such thing as the past (as a separate place). So in LQV there is this sense that the performance of the procession, the commemoration of the crucifixion of Christ, there would also be things happening. Accidents and technology influencing these processes as well. I don’t know if this makes sense but there is always this intertwining of technology and the “natural”. And in LQV I get this with the scooters and the truck as well going around the village, all these signifiers of modernity.
MF: But the truck is very, very old as well.
CH: Yes, it has a certain authenticity. It’s a rustic truck but at the same time I get the sense that technology is always alongside the environment, you can’t separate the two, and this goes all the way back in the film.
MF: I don’t know exactly what you mean.
CH: One of the things that the film makes me imagine is that even at the time of Christ, and the time of Pythagoras, there are these technologies and perhaps there never was a balance between man and nature. There never was this balance maybe. Does it make sense? When I watch this film I do project myself back into the past.
MF: In some way you are saying that technologies are interrupting the connection with the world. In some way I think in this way – I don’t use social networks at the moment. I use the web, I use Skype. I always need a lot of time before using something new. I need time. I want to use them but I need time. Yes, I think that if we believe that we are connected because we have the web, I think that we make a mistake. I think that we have the web because we are connected and not that we are connected because we have the web. I really feel a connection with the other people – a really big connection. We can understand each other, what we feel. And if I think that we are connected because we have the web then I think that we are losing something. So in my movie I am working on the idea of connection, always. Connections are invisible and the invisible part is the most important part. So I always work on this. I always work on finding connections. On giving the possibility to find the connections. And I think that yes, that technology tries to recreate the connection that we have. So in some way I think that it is true that technology is destroying our connection but only because we forget that we had the connection before. So I’m always working towards that…
CH: That’s a very interesting movement for us to end on…
MF: Thank you to you for respecting my work! It’s impossible to be professional with goats!
CH: Goodbye and thank you for your time.
This Skype interview took place on 25th September 2013.