In conversation with Miguel Angel Moulet, in Spanish. Everyone will want to know more about this young Peruvian director once his debut feature, Todos somos marineros/ We´re All Sailors gets more and better seen. It´s currently doing the festival rounds and has already picked up an enviable array of prizes, including the FICPRESI, the International Federation of Film Critics prize at the Toulouse Latin Amerincan Film Festival.
For those of you who don´t speak the language, the gist of the conversation is as follows. The film arose out of a class on adaptation: He wasn´t too sure what to do and then he went to an inspiring class by Manfred Pfister who gave a two-week workshop on Shakespeare´s The Merchant of Venice. The first day, about eight hours or so, was spent discussing the first line, which is Antonio saying:´ In sooth, I know not why I am so sad´. From that starting point, time passed. He then developed a story that happened in two places, a boat and a port. Then he saw a news story on TV where three Russian sailors were stranded in a boat in the port when the company they worked for went bankrupt. They were left without water and electricity and went into the market in town every few weeks where they were gifted enough detergent and vegetables to get by. When asked what they did to avoid boredom, they said nothing, they already knew each other well enough to make chat unnecessary. When asked if they wanted to return, they said yes, but without enthusiasm. They were just as happy to stay. So he set a relationship between two brothers stranded in a boat in a provincial port town of Chimbote, which is about five hours from Lima.
It´s a very beautiful film visually, with extraordinary cinematography by Camilo Soratti, exploring very current themes: the Rotterdam Film Festival catalogue included this suggestive sentence: “Without any heavy-handed comparisons, we can clearly make out the contours of a global diaspora: the rootless army wandering the world in search of a place to survive.” The film also treats the many kinds of love, sexual, romantic, but also fraternal through which we they try to break through an isolation that nonetheless can only be momentarily pierced and which overhangs the film as a kind of sadness made bittersweet by a love that is nonetheless heartfelt. There´s a dramatisation of internalised homophobia also, the results of which have unintended consequences. It´s a moving film, that well conveys not just people and a story but entire structures of feeling of a particular place in a particular time. This conversation with Miguel Angel Moulet is very much an initial and exploratory one of how the film came to be. We tried to not be too specific on the film so as to not spoil people´s pleasure once they see it. As an aside, the town of Chimbote, where some of the film was shot, should offer thanks to the filmmakers: the images of the town, and particularly of the light, are enough to make anyone want to visit. The podcast can be listened to here:
A podcast review from Eavesdropping at the Movies will follow shortly, as will a more extended review from myself,