«In ‘The Moderns’ we question, hit, and love without limits»

At the pace of Carlos Gardel's tangos and with a hypnotic black and white, The Moderns, by Mauro Sarser and Marcela Matta burst into the Latin American Competition to tell the vicissitudes of a couple immersed in these frenzy modern times. Without technical devices and with a classic narrative base, the Uruguayan couple's first work poses questions about love, sexual freedom, parenthood and passions, with a caustic script that shows the impostures of a society and the everyday fears that take us apart from our desires.

How was your approach to the theme of The Moderns?

The Modernsis born from a desire to talk about certain issues and break down barriers we saw in the general local and independent cinema. We wanted to go far from a slow cinema, of silent characters and almost inexistent conflicts. We wanted to make a film with a classical structure, dynamic, entertaining, with familiar characters, with universal conflicts, but looking for this original ingredient around which the plot is built. Then we started to look at our environment and at ourselves, to address these issues from what we know. At times, everything is true, with a grain of lie, and at other times, everything is an invention with a grain of truth. We worked with what we had on hand at that moment of our lives. We even shot in our houses and our friends’. The wonderful thing of fiction is the possibility to play with this reality. To explore from writing "what would have happened if…?” and take it to the last consequences. We allowed ourselves to embrace our passions, face our fears, and strike the bad ones that surround us every day in our job, in the street, in a screen. Yes, in this film we question ourselves, hit and love without limits; it´s easier to do it there than in real life.

You play all the time with the narrative lines, directly related to the technical decision, in order to reach an esthetic préciuses. How was the process of searching this identity?

The general proposal for the photography and the language originated from the intersection of two variables: reality and intention. The black and white allowed us to reduce costs and at the same time worked at dramatic and esthetic level. It had to do with the characters, with the story, with the music, with the city. Regarding the photography, something similar happened. Working with the locations real lights –with a few exceptions-, or, in the case of the fire, make the fire as a source of light and not an artifice to emulate it, as it’s common to do in the industry, were decisions we liked and at the same time they helped us to make the project viable. It’s interesting how, in times of perfect and sweetened images, resorting to the basic is like a balm. Regarding the film language, it’s something similar, we didn’t have the technical devices, tows, traveling or steadycam. The dynamic of the scene was given by the actors’ movements in front of the camera and sometimes, when the dramatic moment deserved it, the use of the handheld camera.

How does the idea of using black and white originate? Could this story have been told in color?

The black and white was inevitable, it wasn’t possible to make it in another way, all the paths, the things that at that moment seemed fortuitous, decisions that intended to be practical, everything converged in an esthetic that had a lot to do with the spirit of the film. The black and white embraced the title of the film as a game of contrast similar to what Gardel’s music did. It also painted the city, the characters’ houses and the characters themselves, neutralizing other colors, emphasizing situations, conflicts, forgetting the din in the direction of art and giving rise to this universe specially created for The Moderns.

How was the experience of shooting your first feature?

As we didn’t have any kind of support or funds, we designed a special system of production with a small team which got enthusiastic with this project of sheer expectation. The shooting lasted four months. It was difficult to coordinate agendas because we all worked. Luckily, we were few; the technical team consisted of six people, no more. It wasn’t exactly a mega shooting in the advertisement style, with four huge trucks, a catering bus at the door and a team of forty people. We were just crazy cinema lovers with a camera, a tripod and a pair of microphones. We were lucky to work with very talented people, who were able to get past these limitations.

There are clear references both to the world of cinema and the world of arts. What is your direct reference?

Cinematographically speaking, the great masters of the classic American films of the decades between 1940 and 1980 have been our favorites. We have learnt almost everything we know about telling stories with the language of cinema from them.

What do you expect about the film presentation in the 31st Mar del Plata International Film Festival?

As always the expectations are about the way the public of the Festival receives the film. Being selected and in the competition is a great achievement for us and we are very happy about this. We care a lot about the view of our Argentine brothers on our work, and, without doubt, the international view we know we could receive in a Festival with the prestige and history of the Mar del Plata Festival. We are happy and willing to enjoy this feast and proudly show our work.

Agustina Salvador

 
Screenings:
Today, Monday 21, 10.20 am - CIN 1
Monday 21, 9.40 pm - CIN 1
Tues 22, 12.50 pm - CIN 1

 

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