"THE ISLAND" IN THE PANORAMA OF THE 54TH KFF - INTERVIEW WITH KATARZYNA KLIMKIEWICZ
The latest short film by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, made in co-operation with the Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor, "The Island," was named the best film of the short film competition at the festival in Rotterdam, and it was also screened at many other film festivals. During 54th Krakow Film Festival the film screens in the Panorama of Polish Film.
"The Island" is a portrait of a family which meets in a summer cottage. Awaiting the arrival of the last person, the family is absorbed in the preparation for a joint supper. With the coming evening, a strange anxiety appears among the relatives.
Katarzyna Klimkiewicz was interviewed by Zofia Ścisłowska:
PS: The work on "The Island" began thanks to the programme DOX:LAB, which is organised by the festival CPH:DOX. Did you know Dominga Sotomayor earlier, or was it your first meeting?
We didn’t know each other.
PS: How did the idea for the film appear? Did each of you have an idea in mind before you left for Copenhagen, or did the subject come into being only as the result of your meeting?
Before we went to Copenhagen, we talked a lot on Skype. The idea for the film came quite quickly, in fact during the first conversation. I wanted to make a film inspired by the poem by Wisława Szymborska "Highway Accident," Dominga wanted to shoot on the island on the south of Chile, where she grew up. These two ideas were complementary. When we began to talk, we were both relieved, because we understood that we want to make a similar film and at the same time we are ready to experiment and open to this experience, to do something together and enter a sphere which is neither mine nor Dominga's but which is the sphere of film and that we need to surrender rather to its logic than to our own ambitions.
PS: In the film, apart from the protagonists, nature also plays an important role. The wild island provides the family with shelter, awakens happy memories from the past, but it will also become a place which they will associate with the tragedy.
This island really raises ambivalent feelings, it is beautiful, mysterious, but also somehow gloomy. A human being feels a bit like an intruder there, realising that he is only a guest on Earth, that he is here only for a while and when he is gone, this island will continue to exist. This lush nature delights, but this delight has bitterness in it, because it leads to the reflection that something passes with every moment, we lose something, we forget something, something is gone and in the end I will be gone too.
PS: You used the method of moving the dramaturgic centre of the film outside the frame. In this way the scene of the accident is also staged, but you planned the dramaturgy of the final scene in a similar way. One can safely say that the film as a whole has such a construction - shows expectation the end of which remains hidden from the viewer. How did this solution appear?
It arose during our work and several things contributed to this decision. First of all, we understood that the camera in our film should not represent the point of view of human beings, but rather the point of view of nature, and as a result of it we show people as a part of nature, and not its central element. But it was not the only reason. The film was for us an experiment concerning many areas. We wanted to see how far we can go without losing the viewer's interest. In its construction, the film is based on suspense, the viewers know something which the protagonists do not know - it is a very classic dramaturgic method. We stretched it to the limits, to see what happens, what will be the effect of it and how will the viewers react to it.
PS: I have to ask yet another question, which always interests me most about films made by two directors. How was the work divided between you and Dominga?
We had some rules, but in fact we shared work on everything and it was our joint film: in some scenes Dominga had more to say, in others - I, we did not always agree on everything, but luckily we managed to find the balance between the need to manifest the ego and the desire to open our hearts to another person. Most of all, we did not have to prove anything to each other. For me, the most important thing was to get carried away by the adventure of discovering new film lands.
PS: At this point you are already the author of the feature-length film "Flying Blind." What the work on a short film project meant to you and in which of these two formats do you feel more comfortable?
I like making both short and feature-length films. In short films there is more freedom, expectations are not so great, filming takes less time, there is other concentration of energy. A feature film is a marathon. But in fact in principle there are no differences in the essential issues: it is the most important thing to capture the crux of the matter of what one is doing. When it is successful, or when we feel that we are close, the creative process is like surfing on board: you need to sense the wave, know when to rise, and then stand firmly on the board and float.
Thanks for the interview!