I am again overwhelmed by your responses, thank you all for taking the time to write down your thoughts!
First: it looks beautiful, from the VHS to the computers or the board games, it's the nineties.
We had a fantastic production designer, who brought many of her own leftovers from the 90s. Wonderful how much placing a Jumanjii board game in the frame can do. Sadly, we ended up ruining an old DuckTales poster that she valued quite highly. In the last scene I gave Heine, the main actor, free reins to destroy what he wanted in the room and he ripped the poster of the wall in the most beautiful way. He showed some very authentic aggression, but in the end I felt it became too violent of a reaction to the scene before and cut out that part, sadly rendering the tearing of the poster completely unnecessary.
Again we shot in a house that was very familiar to me, it was my aunt's house this time, and it used to be my grandma's, so I've spent an incredible amount of time there. The drama in my films is very often centered around the specifics of their locations, and it was interesting to feel how the screenplay suddenly changed pretty drastically when we decided to use that location. A funny note is also how the cinematographer, when reading the screenplay before we landed the location asked me if I had been thinking about the location we used for Good Machine Gun Sound
when writing it, which was absolutely true. He'd guessed it from the way the scenes were written.
Adults are always around but we feel the distance, it was also true for the last shot where, if I remember correctly, we didn't see their face as often.
I really like this! I guess it is a by-product of very strictly following the child all the time, not seeing their faces. I feel it's a way of narrowing in the focus. The confrontation is the first one where the camera lingers on the parents, and while editing I was a bit afraid that we might not have enough empathy for them at this point, since we've barely seen their faces before, they just seem to float around him, so I'm glad it works for you.
The computer is the monolith of the house. The child looking at it, scared. The pages loading. You made drama with an internet history and it's very, very good. The scene where the father is in the kitchen, and his son realizing that he was checking porn...We feel the discomfort.
That makes me very happy to hear! I really wanted the computer to be felt as a character. We amped up the sounds so that it's loud as hell in the frame everytime you see it (almost in a parodic way when we swish-pan to it as his parents come home and it's incredibly loud for half a second and then it disappears, like in a horror film where we just catch a tiny glimpse of the beast before the protagonist runs away again).
The opening shot is fantastic, you capture this moment in a way I can't describe: movements feel natural, the camera moves and, yes, there is movement, life.
your new short: what i most respect is the consistency of your focus, without the feeling that you’re the master of your puppets. i feel like you’re discovering things along with your characters.
These ones make me breathe more calmly. I'm constantly afraid that I might be constraining the actors too much because of the choreography of the camera. Especially in something like the first shot in the living room and when the parents come home. Hopefully there's enough chaos in the movements to hide the very planned steps.
"But I'm not." is a very strong way to end the short-film; parents often make us ashamed, and few have the courage to say "But I'm not ashamed." The very last scene, with him masturbating on his bed, feel a little bit unnecessary to me, but the way it is cut with shots of children playing adds...okay, I'm not sure about how I feel, but it's as if you show how something begins, continues, that it goes on. (yeah, I know, I'm not really clear.)
Haha, no that's perfectly clear. Admittedly I always had a bit of a problem with it in the edit, it felt like the big punch came in the confrontation, and that in many ways it could have ended there as well, and that the last scene was more of a grace note. But I really liked the thought of just finally seeing him masturbate, completely naturally, with no filters, just show the normality of it. There was also the aspect of seeing him masturbate without porn, which I felt focused the story more towards sexuality in general, and not really porn as a phenomenon.
and i think the way it’s divided into sections allows the short to operate within the twin dimensions of story and emotions.
Happy to hear the chapters worked for you. It was a decision I made in the edit, when I was looking for the structure. It was clear from very early on that the screenplay had a very odd pace, and that it took on a bit too many threads parallel to each other, so I ended up parcelling it all out into "episodes" instead, which slowed down the drive of the film in it's own way, but made the dramas much clearer and gave them room to breathe.
just watched this in the basement of an internet cafe and it almost made me cry, haha.
Oh man, that is great to hear! And what a setting to view it in. Very meta.
One of the most real portrayals of childhood i've ever seen. Too many artists portray childhood as this idealised state, as something that we've slipped away from rather than evolved from...either that or just with a totally patronising simplified cuteness, like they're just puppies with zero inner world, or conflict, or fears, or anger and confusion. Like they're incapable of doing bad things, or making mistakes. Their stakes are often lower but the struggle is just as real.
Thank you! It was always very important to me to take the children seriously, but not make Mads a depressed and sulky child either, but see that these things affect him. Which is why it was important to me to show that even after he's had a pretty dramatic scene with his mom, when he tells her not to touch him, we can still see him laughing with his friends (and also being touched by them). I felt I wanted to show how this was a problem isolated around his relationship to his parents, and that the drama could and would continue inside the house the minutes he goes back, but still not something that makes him shy away from all bodily contact ever. It seemed more real that way.
the dad smoking the cigarette to ease his anxiety over choosing an allegiance to his wife or to his son, wanting to mediate and appear both sympathetic and authoritative but failing to convincingly do either.
His face there is so fantastic, Anders did an incredible job with that scene. I love the way he lights the cigarette right after the mother says "is this what you're watching", like he's getting ready.
edit: ending is golden too. That feeling of 'i will never leave this room'. I think everybody can identify with that.
Very glad to hear it, that might be the part of the film I am most unsure of.
What camera/lenses did you use?
We were lucky enough to be able to shoot on 35mm! We used an Arri. The lenses are the same as on Good Machine Gun Sound
, that I posted some specs on a few pages back. I am a lucky bastard to be working Benjamin Loeb, an ridiculously talented cinematographer. We think the same about most things.
Some of these shots, man, like the one where he's sitting there paralysed after seeing that pop-under, that feeling of I'm-fucked-and-this-charade-is-over that you experienced on a daily basis
Our main actor Heine is incredibly talented, he so damn calm and assured. I have some funny stories that I'll share soon.