Sunday afternoon under the Talent Talk Tent saw Guillermo Garcia Lopez discuss his film Delicate Balance; a full length documentary that deals with universal issues through three stories in three different continents. Through these stories intertwined with messages by Uruguayan President, José ‘Pepe’ Mujica, we see ourselves reflected in the lives of African migrants, Spanish workers, Japanese salarymen, and realise that, in the end, we are not so different.
Lopez emphasised that his film primarily deals with the human condition and is not a story just about immigration. He articulated this by recalling the reactions of the many families who arrived in Spain a few months after the film was shot and who attended the screening of his film, how they laughed when seeing themselves on the screen and contrasted heavily with the reactions of shock and sorrow by the rest of the audience. He explained that despite some of the film subjects having suffered the consequences of injustices and inequalities of the world, they dont no expect anything to. What they are after is being treated as equal and not patronized by feelings of grief. He concluded by saying that even though his film has become a vehicle for these people, who talk directly to the camera and therefore to us the audience, he stressed that as a filmmaker, he is one set of eyes, one point of view reacting through the artistic medium of cinema to the question: could art change the world? The answer seems to be that the world needs to be changed by people, by audiences, we are just filmmakers.”
Six o’clock saw the arrival of three time oscar nominated filmmaker Agnieszka Holland who’s here competing for the Triton Award with her film Spoor. Agnieszka Holland has had a fascinating career to say the least but was much more interested to open the discussion with comments on the present; “we are living the moment when everything can change quickly, in a world where anything can happen”, and went on to discuss how we are facing a totally new situation today as opposed to what she has experienced. She has in fact previously stated how her film Spoor,which is her first foray into murder mystery, has accidentally turned into an allegory of the divided society her native Poland has become under its populist nationalist government.
When she did speak briefly about her past, Agnieszka said that the harsh censorship she had experienced, which led to a brief time spent in prison, certainly opened up her curiosity and sensibility and although was a painful period was nevertheless an enriching and informative one in some way. She however stressed that she did not experience something so extreme for it is more in the people you meet and work with that have the capacity to change you.
About women in film, Agnieszka stated that she did not really feel the misogynistic problems in Poland, where communism took centre stage, and was always supported by her colleagues regardless her gender. However, she feels that today is a different story, that it is more difficult for women to achieve something of stature and although there is a conscious change she notes that there is still a long way to go. Nevertheless, she was quick to note that unlike the programming teams behind the festivals in Venice, Berlin and Cannes where women are almost non-existent, the VFF’s three programmers are all women – “we just need to get their [men] asses out!”
Written by Sarah Chircop