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quarta-feira, 27 de setembro de 2017

Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen


Entrevistei, pessoalmente, o islandês Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen, realizador de "Rift" - uma longa-metragem de Terror com temática Gay! A entrevista aconteceu aquando da 11.ª edição do MOTELX - Festival Internacional de Cinema de Terror de Lisboa, que se realizou no Cinema São Jorge.

Visto que a língua de conversação foi o inglês, resolvi não traduzir o que foi dito (quem não está à vontade com o inglês, basta ir ao canto superior direito do blog, ao "Translate", e seleccionar a língua mais conveniente). A entrevista, foi gravada por meio digital, e foi totalmente transcrita assegurando assim, a naturalidade de uma conversa que durou mais de 30 minutos onde, claro está, foi uma enorme honra para mim puder fazer todas as perguntas que tinha planeado... e ter incríveis respostas!
O realizador e argumentista islandês Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen
Lisboa, 8 de Setembro de 2017, no Cinema São Jorge.

Adolescente Gay: For the people that don’t know you, how would you introduce or present yourself?
Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen: Myself? I would say I’m an Icelandic writer and director and I like horror movies a lot. That’s what I was doing mostly for the last years and also, like, the gay angle, you know, especially in this movie. That was something that was very personal for me and something that I would love to do more of.

AG: How was your childhood?
EOT: It was pretty normal. So I grew up in a very small town right outside of Reykjavik. It was kind like half way country side and the city and there was only, like, less than one thousand people living there. So, it was very small but it was very free. Like, when I was a kid, we could play outside all day long and nobody cared so, we were very free and I would be the kid who was telling all the other kids horror stories because I couldn’t rent horror movies from the video store but I loved the covers and I would just, like, imagine what the stories were and I would go and tell my friends “This is what this movie was about“ and I would just make stuff up. I guess that was a big part of my childhood. I started making up stories very early.

AG: What did you imagine at such an early age?
EOT: For example: Freddy Krueger, I was very obsessed  with Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street but I hadn’t seen any of the movies , I just knew that he had, like, the knife glove and then from looking at the back of the video there would be like images and I would just like to make up stories and then I would ask like some people like my uncles who were older and ask them: “Oh have you seen this movie and what can you tell me?“. So I would like, I don’t remember like exactly what the stories I made up were but I kind of piece puzzled them together like random things.

AG: And then you went to study Comparative Literature?
EOT: Yes, in Iceland.

AG: Why?
EOT: I always wanted to do movies like that. It was like my main thing, to be a filmmaker, but Iceland doesn’t really have a big film school. When I was that age, the film school in Iceland was very small and not really great. I wanted just to go out of the country. You know, anybody who is young in Iceland wants to leave for at least a little while, so I knew that I wanted to do like a master’s degree, like a master’s program and film and I wanted to try then in America. So, I had to have a degree or a bachelor’s degree and I felt that Comparative Literature was like a stepping stone into film and also I love literature, reading. I love looking at whether it’s books or movies in depth so, it was kind of perfect for me to do that and then do film.

AG: Why Columbia? Why that master’s? Was the master’s disappointing after the degree in literature?
EOT: I think I chose Columbia for two reasons: one, is because New York is one of the closest cities to Reykjavik. I also wanted to just go to New York and a friend of mine had gone to Columbia and gone to that program so, I knew about it. I didn’t know a better way to get into the film industry, like I didn’t know anybody in Iceland or America who was like in the film industry so I thought going into the film industry would be, you know, a good way to meet other people and learn stuff. You know I wasn’t disappointed at all. I was really happy with the program. It’s very expensive, but, apart from that, I met great people and I’m still working with a lot of those people, like even today, and I feel like if I hadn’t done that, I mean, I probably would have done movies anyway but the path that Columbia set me on has been very good.

AG: How is it to live in New York?
EOT: It’s like the best and also the worst. The city is amazing. You can do anything, all the time. The people there are very driven. It’s very energetic and everybody is doing a lot of things and is ambitious but at the same time it’s like overwhelming and you get beat down and it’s hard to keep up and it’s also very expensive.
So, you give and you take a little bit, but overall I think it’s a great city to be in and if you are able to keep up with it then it’s great.

AG: Did you have to work at the same time or did you have a grant or help from your parents?
EOT: I didn’t have a grant. I started Columbia in 2009. I had started saving up before… I was working in Iceland and I was saving up money to pay for at least part of it and then the bank crash happened. I had the money only on Icelandic currency and the value of the dollar doubled so, all of a sudden, my savings were like twice as less. That was not great. It was like a very awful thing to have happened so, I took a student loan and I had whatever I had saved up and then the program is pretty good in the way you can… it’s technically not a grant… but they make you work and they pay you. They don’t pay you cash they just take it out of your tuition. So, I was doing a lot of stuff like that. I was assistant teaching and doing other type of things to kind of help and my parents helped me as well.

AG: Did you like teaching?
EOT: Kind of. Yeah, there are certain things that I like about it a lot, but there are other things that I was like … I’m not sure I’m the best teacher necessarily. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to keep focused so I tempt to start talking about this and then I end up talking about something totally different. Maybe that’s good… I don’t know. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure if that’s, like, my thing, but I’ve done it a lot since. I taught a little bit in the Icelandic film school as well since I finished Columbia and it’s always great. I love just being with the students and seeing what they do and what they come up with.

AG: Why “Rift”?
EOT: Two big reasons. The first one is: I wanted to do a film in Iceland and I wanted to do it fast, like not do it in a short amount of time but like I just wanted to do it now. If I was going to do that it had to be inexpensive and had to be small. That’s what I started like thinking: what can I do with two actors and one location. The other thing is that I had, at the same time, just gone through a breakup. That breakup became kind of the story of the film a little bit. I was like: I have these two people in this cap and they just breakup and now they have to kind of deal with it. Then, what if someone knocks on the door, in the middle of the night and that’s how I kind of started happening basically. It was kind of like therapy for me.

AG: What was the biggest difficulty, or challenge, in shooting the movie?
EOT: The biggest challenge was: we shot all things in fifteen days and it was a 100 page script so that meant a lot of stuff every day to shoot. So that was the biggest challenge just to kind of getting all done in that amount of time, but I was working with great people. Everybody was like on it and we didn’t run into any scheduling problems. It was pretty smooth, but we made sure that before we started shooting everything was super well planned.

AG: What are you most proud of? The fact that you managed this schedule of fifteen days or is there anything in particular that you wanted to say?
EOT: Yes, I’m proud of that. I’m just, generally, proud that we made it happen with the people that I was working with because, it seemed impossible. Somehow we made it work. I’m also very proud of my actors. The actors did a really great job and I think the film wouldn’t be like half of what it is if it wasn’t for them. And also like the way it looks. I think it looks a lot bigger than it was, financially speaking. I’m really proud of a lot of it, I mean about all of it basically.

AG: Could you talk a little bit about the lighting, the photography and also the soundtrack? 
EOT: The team that shot the movie was only two people: the cinematographer and the gaffer.  I worked with them before on a few things. They are best friends and they work with each other forever. So, we all kind of know each other styles and we were able to do things very fast. Most of the stuff was shot with almost no lights, just natural lighting, which is kind of crazy. We had some lights for mostly the night stuff, like the interior nights. I just showed my cinematographer … there were a few films that we looked at like “Weekend” by Andrew Haigh and “Persona” by Ingmar Bergman. I wanted the style to be like a mix between those two which doesn’t make sense, but that was what we were trying for. Also “Don’t look now” was another big film that we looked at. I was showing him all of these things that I had in my mind and he kind of just done his magic.

AG: Why did you choose Christmas?
EOT: Good question. For me Christmas has a certain atmosphere to it and it’s supposed to be like kind of a warm, nice and cozy holiday and the film is cold and not cozy in a way. So, I thought it was a good kind of backdrop. This is a time that if they were together, it would be a happy time, but because they’re apart it’s like even more sad.
The ironic thing: in the script, it was supposed to be all snow, all white and a few days before we started shooting, it started raining and all the snow went away. So, we had no snow but it was still very cold.
Another thing, in Icelandic the film is called “Rökkur“, which means Twilight. It doesn’t mean Rift but Twilight was already taken and we couldn’t use that.
The shortest day of the year in Iceland is the 21st of December, so that’s right before Christmas. They never say it in the movie, we just cut it out because it didn’t really matter, but it’s supposed to take that the last night that they have together is the shortest night, or like the shortest day of the year.

AG: Was it shot in December?
EOT: No, we shot it in the beginning of March, but it was supposed to be in December.

AG: I watched the movie yesterday and there was a scene that made me stay awake at night, which was the hand under the bed. What was that?
EOT: I’m not going to give you the literal answer. There might not even be a literal answer, but in my mind the film is a lot about having had a relationship that was toxic and wasn’t good but one that he has problems letting go of.
That’s the recurrent theme. For me, the hand under the bed, whoever it is, it was supposed to mean that they kind of reconnected, had sex for the first time in months and then, immediately afterwards, he sees like that there’s a hand under the bed. So, it’s meant to be that that relationship is still poison that there’s something still wrong with it. It’s still toxic. Who is it? That’s a question that the audience has to figure out and decide for themselves.

AG: How does Iceland see Portugal?
EOT: Interesting… I can’t speak for the entire country, but for me, it’s an exotic country with beaches and the European hot blooded thing that all Icelanders are attracted to. We are all big fans of Portugal, Spain and Italy because it’s so opposite from where we are from. I know that Icelanders talk a lot about soccer teams from here, sports and stuff. When we got into this festival I was so excited to go. I was here when I was a teenager, in the Algarve, but that was totally different. This has really been a great trip.

AG: How do you feel about Europe in general and all the stories about refugees?
EOT: We haven’t been as affected as the rest of Europe. We’ve accepted some refugees. I know that there are people that want us to take more and there are also people that don’t want us to take more. It’s always a debate. I think we are very sympathetic to both sides in Europe. It’s a problem that’s very hard to deal with cause, at the one hand, these people need to go somewhere, on the other hand, a lot of countries just aren’t able to accommodate them. I don’t know if we will have one opinion. There are a lot of opinions, but we are definitely looking at it. We are following it and are very interested in what happens. Obviously, all countries should participate in helping out.

AG:  What message would you like to leave to my readers and the Portuguese people in general?
EOT: I would like to say that I hope that they will support LGBT films in general and of course my own film because even though things are changing and we see more of it in movies today, I think there is still a lot more that we  can do. We don’t see it that much, especially in the horror genre, so I hope that people, or your readers, will seek out other movies. If people watch them, the more likely they will get done. I think that it's important to have all sorts of representation in movies.

Caso queiram falar comigo, também estou sempre disponível.
E-mail - adolescentegay92@gmail.com

Trailer de "Rift" (título original: Rökkur), de Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen, 2017.

Beijinhos e portem-se mal!! ;)