Breakfast with Det Er i Jorden [In the Soil]
Is thriller your favorite genre to direct?
I don’t have a favorite genre to direct but every time I make a film I always gravitate towards the horrific and terrifying. I think that the cinematic language of these genres is very maximalist and made to confront and withhold the audience in suspense. I love working within a space where you create a feeling that engulfs the audience, not in the narrative, but with the language of cinema.
Which effects did you use to heighten the tension in Det Er i Jorden? How did you work on the musical ambiance?
The soundscape and musical compositions are made in opposition to the camera. It’s like a dance, where the camera and editing are very minimalistic and the auditive elements are very voluminous. To me, this is what creates the tension, as you are used to use the camera and mise-en-scene to clue you into when to be scared. But if you can’t decode from what’s on-screen when to be shocked you are left waiting for the music to scare you. This dance, to me, is where you can hold the audience in suspense.
Why were you interested in the father-daughter relationship, and do you have further films in mind exploring this relationship?
The relationship between the father and daughter is the film. And it’s what drew me to writing and making the film. I think their conflict is inherently universal. Every child knows the feeling of doubting the well-being of their parent. The narrative and allegorical nature of the imagery are meant to expose it all and make it possible for the audience to project their own relationships onto the characters. I think that is what drew me to the story and storytelling of the relationship.
How much is the question of suicide acceptability important in Det Er i Jorden?
My mother has worked many years with suicide prevention and talking openly about it has always been a part of my life. But I never saw it as suicide in my film. It’s imagery and consequence. Is the father truthfully acting out of free will? Or is it simply his time to leave the earth? We are all moving towards the grave we are digging for ourselves.
Is there any particular short film that made a special impression on you?
Many short films have left a mark! Lately The Owl by Simon Pontén & Joakim Behrman, Sudden Light by Sophie Littman, and The Painter by Hlynur Pálmason. Short films that have been with me for a while are the short films of David Lynch (The Cowboy and the Frenchman, Rabbits etc.), Carl th. Dreyer’s They Caught the Ferry, Luis Bunuel’s Un chien andalou, Jørgen Leth’s The Perfect Human, and Lars Von Trier’s Images of Liberations.
What’s your definition of a good film?
That is very difficult to answer and seems to me to be as impossible to put into words as it is to make a good film.