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An Interview with Christian Serritiello, Director of An Approximation of Their Barbarous Manners

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2021

Films directed by Christian Serritiello on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie An Approximation of their Barbarous Manners - in a few words, what is it about?

Dogma, actors, colonialism, the overconsumption of coffee and foolishly waiting for someone or something to save you.

 

Basic question, why make exactly Bruce Glover the (basically absent) center of your movie's attention?

 

Bruce Glover epitomises a type of actor that is unfortunately becoming increasingly rare. He is a true character actor who acts whimsically, freely and with great mystery. There is something of the eternal in Bruce, yet he also belongs to a very particular time in film history.

 

(Other) sources of inspiration when writing An Approximation of their Barbarous Manners, and is any of this based on personal experiences?

 

The film was conceived during an all day coffee binge in North Africa. The combination of caffeinated mania mixing with all those flavors and aromas created a histrionic outburst of ideas. I went back to Berlin with some poetry I had written and started to form the basic outline of the film --- although I intuited that I should leave room on the set for chaotic elements to find their way into the fabric of the film. I had been listening to a lot of Ornette Coleman and wondered if I could capture the spirit of those records cimematically.

 

It is undoubtably true that my own experiences on film sets crept into this film but I have yet to find myself in the peculiar situation that the characters in the film have been burdened with.

 

In my view at least, An Approximation of their Barbarous Manners boasts an associative rather than linear approach to storytelling - so would you like to elaborate on the narrative structure of your film, and how easy (or hard) is it not to literally lose your plot that way?

 

The melody of "Where the f*** is Bruce?" was strong enough that I could go off on tangents, improvise and still somehow find a way back despite abandoning classic story structure. Losing the plot can also lead to exciting discoveries.

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

My approach is to remain open on the set to suprises and the impulses of the cast. I tend towards leaning away from rigid pre-conceived notions and use the set to explore (in unison with the cast and technicians).

I played a lot of free jazz in between takes (for rhythmic purposes) and would encourage improvisation whenever I could. The key for this film was to create one-off moments and then curate them with vitality in the editing process. My intention was to hold the audience's attention but to throw them off and hope that they initiate their own realignment.

 

Do talk about An Approximation of their Barbarous Manners' key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

What a cast! I am beyond lucky to have somehow convinced these wonderful thespians to have trodden the mad and creaky boards of this film. Their talent is evident but they also all have faces you want to study and muse over. Dulcie Smart is a born actress and acting runs through her veins -- she has the facility to play any part with vitality and grace. Bruce A. Woolley can build up a mania to Gene Wilder levels of brilliance. Jade Willis oozes idiosyncratic charm and always shows up totally prepared. Daniel Brunet is a one-off -- he will never bore an audience, the camera is fascinated by him, and he is honestly my favorite actor in Berlin right now.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

I hope (and reasonably suspect from what they have told me) the actors and crew felt a sense of freedom and playfulness on the set. It was an intense, fast-paced yet joyful experience.

 

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Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of An Approximation of their Barbarous Manners?

 

Film critics have so far given us very good reviews and we have had a good start on the film festival circuit. We premiered in Italy at Mostra Internazionale del Cinema di Genova, where the audience response was mostly positive as far as I could tell. Next screening is at the Chicago Underground Film Festival on November 7th...

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I will keep you posted, Mike, but nothing solid right now.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11378462/

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I'm good my brother.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you Mike!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD