Argentine Competition

Best Feature Film - «The Scourge»

Campusano is a man who needs no introduction anymore. The personal style he developed throughout years of intense and prolific work lets us recognize his footprint, even if he changes locations, formats or filming techniques. Campusano's tracks reject domestication. The Scourge -his tenth film in ten years!- delves into the crude conditions of the youth detention centers. Carlos, a social assistant, works in this context of youngsters that are excluded from society. He is a man who puts his own life aside to devote to the well-being of the “pibes”. After having treated the topic of the lawless world of the Argentine Patagonia in The Sacrifice of Nehuen Puyelli, Campusano makes it clear again that his cutting perspective is as sharp as a scalpel when it comes to putting the finger in the sore spot.
The Scourge approaches a very specific and often kept hidden social problematic. How did the idea of dealing with it in the film came up? What was that approach like?

The Scourge was built with the same tools we used in our previous films: we started with the generous collaboration of social workers and anthropologists. More over, we started with the social environment we portrayed itself, making sure it got involved in the production and personification stages. A few years ago, I visited several provinces of the Patagonia and part of Southern Chile. That was the first approach that brought about films like The Scourge and The Sacrifice of Nehuen Puyelli.


The dialogs show a very precise elaboration of the tone: nothing the characters say is gratuitous. How demanding was the process of script writing and correction? Were there changes during the shooting?

All the films I direct are subject to modification in terms of what is written in the script and what is shot. In the case of The Scourge, we added several scenes and dialogs that were not originally in the script. In the end, we always choose to prioritize what locals define as the truth.
Unlike Dog Molina or Martyrdom and Pleasure, that combined your particular style with technical elements like steady-cam and traveling, The Scourge displays a more urgent and dirty tone. Was it a conscious search when it came to planning the staging?

Of course, it was a perfectly conscious search. Despite how much I love to use technical complements such as drones, car grips, traveling, jibs and steady-cams, in the case of The Scourge the camera positioning was analyzed and rehearsed thoroughly and we decided to refrain from using any of them, mostly.

The Sacrifice of Nehuen Puyelli dealt with life inside a minimum security prison and The Scourge is partly set in a youth detention center. What aspects of these institutions are of interest to you so you deal with these topics once more?

I am curious about the strategies evil utilizes to secure its position inside certain institutions.

Although the film includes several elements that could be considered fantastic, these are approached as a natural part of the daily life of this community. What role do you think that dimension has on the film?

In The Scourge, those fantastic elements are the ones to determine and define who thrives and who expires in every area.  
Cristian Ulloa


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