“Notes on the trilogy of the interspatiality of love” is a student film project part of a crowdfunding campaign called “New Films on the Block”. With my fellow classmates of the filmArche Berlin and under the supervision and mentorship of Hank Levine (“Praia do futuro”, “Cidade de deus”, “Waste Land”) we decided to embark ourselves in this adventure. After months of hard work, the crowdfunding campaign came to a successful end.
ON THE (RAW) ORIGINS OF THE STORY
The story of “The trilogy of the interspatiality of love” is an idea of a philosopher friend of mine, Jonathan Bortolotti. We wrote some stories together. All of them were possible episodes of “The trilogy of the interspatiality of love”. Obviously, there were more of three. He challenged me to shoot a movie about it.
I instead shot a movie about a film director who struggles during the shooting the “Trilogy of the interspatiality of love”.
INFLUENCES & INSPIRATIONS
These films somehow influenced “Notes on the trilogy of the interspatiality of love”: Când se lasa seara peste Bucuresti sau metabolism (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2013), Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2014), Adieu au langage 3D (Jean -Luc Godard, 2014), Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968), La última película (Raya Martin & Mark Peranson, 2014), Histoire(s) du cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard), Ich will mich nicht künstlich aufregen (Max Linz, 2014).
Already during the screenwriting process I knew where do I want music and where diegetic sound. After attending a screening of “Menschen am Sonntag” (Robert Siodmak, 1930) with live electronic music I developed a very rough concept for the music.
The work with my sound designer (and composer) was quite easy. We already worked together in the past. I told him the concept behind every scenes and how and why I put them together in this way. We talked a lot about music, noise, sounds … and he came up with this. It may sound kind of extreme, but it fits perfectly with the mood of the film.
We shot with a Canon 5d II in color with the camera settings of “Frances Ha”. It was (surprisingly?) good for the color-grading, even though we didn’t shoot in RAW. I tried to follow the workflow and the indications of Pascal Dangin, the colorist of “Frances Ha” (thanks google!). I edited the film with Lightworks and graded with DaVinci Resolve.
We shot only the necessary and almost 100% according to the screenplay, with the exception of the “industrial” scenes. I told my DP and her assistant what I absolutely needed and I went to get some food for the three of us letting them free to shoot what they considered to be worth (for example the wonderful shot of the industrial cranes).
I edited the film almost entirely before shooting it. I decided to edit and do the color correction the film by myself also for this reason. I wanted to stay loyal to my (minimalist) screenplay, to my ideas and to my visions. No compromises. My team was great. They always followed me and there was a great sense of mutual respect and trust.
I decide to shoot with a small team for many reasons. First of all, a bigger team wasn’t necessary. It may sound obvious, but it was so. I organized short film sets with teams of 30 people and more (every one of them was “necessary”), but I was also on other sets with lots of people doing nothing and just waiting while boring themselves to death. The set of “Notes on” was kind of small. Except the scene on the cinema (with 6-7 extras) we used always a small team configuration. We had 4 days of shooting, two of them “on the road”. We needed to be quick and efficient.
WORKING WITH MY TEAM
An important characteristic of my team was that every one of theme had experience also in other departments. My DP is also a director, my sound guy is also an editor and filmmaker himself, the sound designer is also a visual artist… Besides of that, they are all very sensitive and intelligent persons with a great openness.
Filmmaking is supposed to be teamwork, but not always works out fine. Compromises, inconveniences, misunderstandings happen. On set you don’t have any time to think, to reflect, to be (as author*) alone and take your time. For this reason, you need your team always on your side. With a small team, that was easier.
* with “author” I mean filmmaker.
WORKING WITH MY DP
Working with Zara was just great. She committed 100% to the project. She also a filmmaker (fiction and documentary) and she has a great sensibility. At the beginning, we confronted our previous experiences, discussed our favorite filmmakers and directors of photography. I came with quite clear ideas about the look and style of the various scenes and shots. The key question was always “where do I place the camera?”. I wanted the film to have the few cuts possible. We developed a look, checked the locations, put together a shooting list. She was also a great planner: always on schedule. As every other good DP, she also had the ability of “seeing things” that I didn’t notice.
WORKING WITH THE ACTORS
Tom (the protagonist) is a professional actor, Valeria is a “non-actor”. Even though they barely have a scene together I rehearse a lot with both of them. Mostly trying to bring Valeria in an “acting” mood and giving her the basic of acting. We did mostly improv. (in German and Italian): random scenes, however always with a link to the story of the film or to the characters.
I also worked individually with the two. With Tom we discussed a lot about his character, I gave him guidelines and then he developed it by himself. Working with him on set was really easy. For every scene I tried to bring him into the condition of the character in that moment, then he was by himself.
With Valeria, I worked more “goal-oriented”. We have known each other for almost 10 years, I know how to obtain a quite precise reaction out of her. We talked a lot during the takes. Her scenes were also not so easy as they seem to be, but it worked out just fine.
With Paule, the dog, was surprisingly easy and funny. To be honest, I’m one of the filmmakers that always say “DO NOT work with child actors and animals” … but for this film, I really really needed a dog. Paule usually is kind of a restless dog, but on set, he was always calm and responded well to my “directions”. The woman playing “The lady with the dog” is also Paule’s mistress: this made everything easier.
I always wanted to direct a movie in my mother tongue (Italian). The first draft of the screenplay was full of dialogues; the shooting version had almost none. With the two main actors, I talked almost always in Italian. The set-language, though, was German, but half of my crew understood also Italian. The characters in the film interact in three different languages. This is also part of my everyday life; I wanted to have it on the screen.