Cinema is one of the most globalized businesses there is. But the success of international directors, such as yourself, your colleague Walter Salles (”The Motorcycle Diaries,” "Central Station"), Mexico’s Alfonso Cuarón, Gurinder Chadra of India and others suggests that national culture can also prosper and move audiences anywhere. Do you agree?
Absolutely. These days I spend much of my time watching so called world cinema—filmmakers from countries beyond the traditional production axis. I really enjoy getting to know other cultures and countries by way of their films. Sometimes what interests me are not so much the particular stories these movies tell told but the rhythm of the streets, the way people drink tea or relate to one another. I guess it’s as much an anthropological interest as it is a cinematographic one.
Not long ago, most young directors wanted nothing better than to mirror American cinema or to imitate European artists like Fellini, Buñuel or Antonioni. Is this changing? Is there a new appreciation of local or national culture?
The growing box office numbers of films by new international directors is telling. Sometimes I get the impression that traditional American or European storytelling has exhausted itself, as if it’s all been said before and there are no more surprises. Of course, cinema can always reinvent itself, from within or beyond the familiar geography of production. And it’s a good thing.
Is there a lesson here for the next generation of world directors?
Don’t cut your roots with your own country. That’s where your strength lies. Anyone can learn where to place the camera and how to edit. What really makes a difference is your point of view. “Speak of your village and you will be universal.”
dimanche 25 juin 2006
Gros morceau d'interview (très 'straight to the point', normal dans un newsmag qui doit faire de la place à la pub) de Fernando Mereilles pour Newsweek.