Your new movie In
Search of the Exile - in a few words, what is it about? And since In
Search of the Exile is a rather abstract, associative movie, how
much emphasis did you put on the plot as such in the first place?
Search of the Exile
is a visionary quest through a mythic dimension,
a dream land where reality morphs and transforms, it is a film that has to
be experienced with the senses. Even though it may seem abstract there is
a narrative there but it's not the hand-fed narrative of industrial
cinema, this is a disintegrated narrative that will be experienced and
understood differently by each person who watches the film. There are some
graspable elements, a wasteland, a wanderer, a house in the woods with a
witch, but how all this fits together is down to the viewer to interpret.
In our work we are interested in expanding general concepts of
narrative and storytelling, there is an instinct in humans to create
stories but when people think of narrative generally they have in mind a
very fixed form, especially in cinema, and this can be very restrictive
and boring to both creators and audience. But storytelling is a very
ancient and varied craft, it is not just about relating information but
about creating an experience which somehow disrupts the apparently
continuous flow of space and time and presents us with visions. So in this
film we felt very free to have just a few narrative elements and let the
images be our guide through this journey.
were your sources of inspiration when dreaming up In
Search of the Exile? And how much of the film was based on an
actual script, even?
The initial ideas and narrative
threads came from a series of poems that we had written called The
Exile's Return Home. These were as near as we came to having a script,
the film differs from the poems somewhat, they share some characters and
the sense of a journey through a wasteland. Our inspiration comes from
many sources, we rely heavily on dreams and visions and find a lot of
inspiration from painting, the tarot and mythology.
Search of the Exile you made some very bold artistic choices -
want to take about those for a bit, and the reasons behind them? And was
the look of the movie planned from the get-go or only decided on in post?
set out to make a film that was like a living painting, we have used
similar processes to create some sequences in other feature films and some
of our shorter works and installations but this is the first full length
film using this process all the way through. Our aim was to create a film
that was ungraspable, that could not be pinned down through the intellect
but that offered the possibility of a completely unique cinematic
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
There was no real separation between production and
post-production, we shot sequences and then would edit them the following
day then shoot some more based on how the previous day's work had turned
out. Due to the fact there were very few people involved we were able to
work like this. We have been really working on developing a filmmaking
process that gives us as much freedom to experiment and explore as
possible, we nearly always work with some form of script and all our films
are narrative but we want to really investigate the extreme reaches of
what narrative cinema can be and to find ways of making films that allow
us to change and reinvent the film as we go rather than to follow a fixed
Do talk about your cast, and why exactly these
Two of the roles are played by us, the red knight and the witch. The
other characters were played by performers we worked with in another film
currently in post-production called The Kingdom of Shadows, really they
are playing similar roles in this film and there is much in common in some
of the themes and characters explored in both films but they have a very
different formal approach and different atmosphere altogether.
The Wanderer was played by filmmaker Fabrizio Federico [Fabrizio
Federico interview - click here], and it is
similar to his role of Cain in The Kingdom Of Shadows, he did a great job
manifesting the anxious energy of this character lost in a
wasteland. The Lovers were played by Joana Castro and Bruno Senune, two
extremely talented Portuguese dancers that we have been lucky enough to
collaborate with on several projects now.
A few words on the shoot as such, and the on-set
The film was completed in about a two month
period, first we created the images without any sound and then once the
edit was complete we worked on the sound and music. We often have two or
three projects on the go at once and as a lot of the work happens in our
studio and around the house, we might spend a morning doing some
post-production on one film then in the afternoon shoot some sequences for
another film. So generally it's very creative and enjoyable, we can get
more stuff done and we can really use the most of our relatively small
resources. We work more like painters or sculptors than industrial
The $64-question of course, when and where
will In Search of
the Exile be released onto the general public?
have a couple of screenings coming up, the next is on 27th of August when
the Experimental Film Society will be screening it in Dublin as a part of
a double bill with our first feature film Savage
Witches. Also in November
the San Diego Underground Film Festival will be hosting the North American
premiere. More screenings to be announced soon.
Daniel and Clara on set
can tell us about audience and critical reception of In
Search of the Exile so far?
It has been
fascinating, we have only had a couple of screenings so far but the effect
it has had on people has been incredible. Some people love it and submit
to the experience and go on their own journey with it while others resist
and struggle a lot. At one screening recently we even had someone
shielding their eyes and turning their head away, they had such a hard
time with the film that they preferred to stare at the wall rather than
watch the film!
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
We are currently in post-production of two new films, Black Sun and
Kingdom Of Shadows [Black
Sun and Kingdom Of Shadows interview - click here], both will be finished by the end of October. We've
finished editing both films and we are working on the sound and music at
The Kingdom Of Shadows is a surrealist cinematic vision inspired by
dreams, biblical myths, alchemy, family history and silent cinema, you can
see some preview images here:
This film will have its
world premiere at the Cambridge Film Festival this October.
Black Sun is the first in a series of films exploring humankindís
relationship to darkness. It's a personal exploration of the portrayal of
female characters in European fairy tales, painting and literature. The
premiere will take place in Porto in November.
We're very excited about these two new films and can't wait to share
them with an audience!
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
The Underground Film Studio on Facebook:
Our publication Film Panic on Facebook:
Thanks for the interview!