Via the FNE (FilmNewEurope) I find a good interview with the director of ”Solo”, the Czech/French director and producer Artemio Benki, who reflects on being a French, yet living in Czech Republic for quite some time, chosing a theme for his film taking place in Argentina. For me I am happy every time I see this great film, premiered in Cannes, being selected for a festival, next one in Prizren, DokuFest. Here is a clip from the interview, read it all, link below, and read the enthusiatic and personal review I made, link also below. And hopefully I will have the chance to meet the protagonist Martin one day… Here is a quote:
How much of the result were you able to predict before you started shooting?
I spent a month with Martin before I brought any cameras. I decided first I need to know him as a person. During this time, I created some expectations about his behavior in different situations. I still can’t read his mind but I can predict his actions to some extent as you might be able to with your lover after six months of living together. For example, when he plays before his first serious audience after long time, I couldn’t predict he would fall off his chair but I knew him enough to be prepared for some kind of a complication – I know him to be a clumsy, anxious person. In this sense, I was often surprised but surprised to a degree I was able to predict.
When you work with people who have mental issues, it brings some moral and ethical dilemmas for you as a filmmaker.
When I was kid, I had my own experience with mental health care so I was drawn to this topic for personal reasons. It’s never been something sensational for me. And I spent enough time with my characters that I saw them as “my people”, they were close to me. So I think I never really was afraid that I would treat them in an ethically questionable way – I trusted my sense of empathy. I mean, documentary filmmakers, in a way, always “use” their protagonists but I knew I wouldn’t cross the line. Of course, I explained to Martin and everyone else what my intentions were and I included them only once they felt comfortable. I also felt a big amount of responsibility because Martin trusted me a lot. Had I wanted to shoot him masturbating, he’d probably have let me. But why would I do that? What would it add to the film? I respect the truth of a character – and I don’t want to muck it up with some gratuitously shocking scenes.