Thursday, 16 July 2020

Interview with filmmaker Zygmunt Cendinsky

Interferencia will premier at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

How did you get into making films? 
After making a couple of experimental short films with a borrowed video 8 camera in the late 80s I started working with different filmmakers collectives who started making short films in 16 mm with all kinds of cameras (Arri BL, Bolex, Zenith, etc) all organized as self-managed cooperatives. Later, when the year 2000 arrived, all these collectives dispersed and each one followed its own path in different ways, some directly linked to industrial and advertising cinema and others, as is my case to this day, still linked to alternative, independent, experimental and underground cinema, the visual, scenic and performative arts. 

What inspired you to make your movie? 
This film was based on a failed project in the mid-90s based directly on the documents of the interrogations of CIA agent Dan Mitrione by the Uruguayan guerrilla group Movimiento de Liberación Nacional-Tupamaros in the late 1960s in Montevideo, Uruguay. We did not know that a film called "State of Siege" (Costa-Gavras, 1972) had already been made based on the same event. So, surprised to realize that little gap in our research and thinking about how anachronistic the whole proposal could be, the project gradually mutated into an interstellar science fiction plot in which the CIA agent became a high official of a criminal syndicate called "United Narcotics Organization" in a direct reference to the novel "Nova Express" (William Burroughs, 1964). 

How has your style evolved? 
Since I started making short films in the late 80's with video 8 cameras, through all kinds of 16 mm and 35 mm cameras in the 90's, until now I'm working with the aesthetics of smart phone cameras, the search has been to escape from any stylization of the image and a devaluation of it as an artistic product. Rather than style, the process has been to explore different aesthetics and how these are directly linked to their forms of production.  In the case of the film "Interference" this was recorded seven years ago and its aesthetic makes direct reference to the sci-fi films of the 50s and the American spy TV series of the 60s in which the cold war was parodied, but evidently, Kafka, Dr. Caligari, Dr. Mabuse, Alphaville and the Glauber Rocha of Terra em Transe were also present from A to Z. Satire and parody in discourse is a theme that I have not stopped working on since my first works in film and also in the various artistic practices that I continue to carry out in the performing, visual and performing arts. 

Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film? 
Everything was strange in this film and nothing was funny, it was literally a bad trip like the one that the protagonist of the film had, the agent Jack Martinez (Francisco Denis), but as Fritz Lang (Metropolis, "M" The Vampire of Düsseldorf, Dr. Mabuse) said at some point... Cinema for me is a vice. (Lang, 1964). 

The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind? 
One thing: that when I hear the word "producer" I immediately pull out a revolver. 

What can we expect from your next film? 
The next film is called "Panoptic Files of the Present-Future: Tropical Quarantine, which is an experimental project already in the process of recording transmedia cinema made completely independently in collaboration between 16 visual, multidisciplinary, sound and performance artists about the global quarantine experienced in Caracas during the months of June and July of this year 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 virus that currently continues to affect the human population of planet Earth.