From Chile comes Jerónimo Rodríguez’s debut film to the Latin American Competition. A film that is a cinematographic essay, toying between non-fiction and documentary, Monument Hunter is a very interesting proposal; a story adrift, built in that jigsaw of the mind, between images, memories and free associations.
It is very interesting how your film becomes an exercise of reconstruction, of relationships between past and present, of elements that trigger ideas and that refer to other things. How did that initial idea, the core of the film, come up?
Basically, the entire process of making the film was driven by trial and error. I was doing research on the statute of a Portuguese neurologist in Santiago and I bumped into all sorts of things that didn’t have anything to do with it. Somehow, all of that seemed very useful to me. During editing I started shaping the story, thinking about what I had recorded, changing the order, re-recording and rewriting. I was attracted to the idea of taking one direction and then abandoning it, of going adrift between different physical places, or between present and past. Maybe due to this spirit of going with the flow I wanted everything to be in constant movement, changing, even the genres: from travelogue to exploration, detective and scientific genres.
How autobiographic and how "borrowed” is your documentary?
I’d say half and half, though very mixed. I borrowed things from my reality, from my personal life, and I slightly led them into a different direction, not necessarily mine. Those who know me realize that there are things from my life –specially the relationship with my father- but others that don’t have much to do with me. There’s a lot of fiction.
How did you work with this estrangement in order to talk about you, from the apparent distance of the third person?
The third person came out after trying many other forms of narration. From the very beginning, I wanted to make it clear that it was a fictionalization. I tried doing it from myself, as if I was playing a character, but it didn’t convince me. Then I realized that the third person allowed for more movement, dexterity, quick changes, and gave the film a spirit of adventure, very much in tune with this idea of the urban explorer I wanted to develop. I tried many different voices for this third person narrator. One day, recording my own voice, I realized that the third person narrator caused distance and, at the same time, intimacy, which enabled me to add an extra layer to the film.
How much of your film critic profession was at stake when it came to creating the film?
As a film critic, I always loved non-fictional cinema. Somehow my heart gets more excited with that genre, with the cinematographic essay. But, at the same time, I did my best to work on unfamiliar ground, so that it felt like an adventure, without clear hints. I also have to admit that when I hear the voice-over I feel that sometimes we perceive the mind of someone who loves films, whose raison d’etre is cinema.
What are your expectations regarding the film’s premiere at the Festival and the audience reception?
For me it’s amazing to be able to show the film in a festival that is paying so much attention to non-fictional cinema. I love Mar del Plata because it has become a place where many types of cinema coexist. It’s a party for everybody.
SAT 31, 10.20 am, CIN 1
SAT 31, 6.50 pm, CIN 1
SUN 1, 4.00 pm, CIN 1