HomeEntertainment & MusicMovieOla Jankowska on Anatomy – East European Movie Bulletin

Ola Jankowska on Anatomy – East European Movie Bulletin


We met Polish filmmaker Ola Jankowska in the course of the nineteenth Golden Apricot Yerevan Worldwide Movie Pageant (July 10-17) to debate her fiction debut. We spoke concerning the course of behind making her movie, Warsaw in winter, disconnectedness, and new methods of constructing cinema in opposition to all odds.

I wished to start by asking you concerning the preliminary concept of Anatomy. The place did the story come from and the way did it develop?

I believe it was two issues, one was a extra philosophical query that was current in my life on the time – the issue of id, what makes me me, that was essential. And whereas I used to be occupied with that, somebody instructed me that her father had had an accident and began to overlook her. And after I heard that story, it actually clicked with my query. It made me take into consideration how we spend a lot time making an attempt to construct who we’re, however truly a lot of it is dependent upon likelihood and on circumstances. I believe that is the place the story got here from, however I used to be additionally not precisely certain what it might appear to be ultimately. I started writing some unfastened scenes which had been slowly rising into the story that we now have now.

So there was truly this private background to your movie…

Sure, however not private within the sense of autobiographical. It was a narrative that occurred to somebody that I do know.

As you mentioned, it’s a movie about reminiscence and id. At instances it appears like a portrait of our technology as properly, particularly younger ladies who reside in between totally different cultures. I used to be questioning which position these matters play for you, reminiscence on the one hand and the extra social dimension on the opposite?

For certain, id was the start line, after which the movie began evolving and have become way more about reminiscence and time – and concerning the dynamic between presence and absence. The query of our technology was very a lot current for me; younger folks, just a little bit misplaced in between totally different areas and totally different cultures. It was in all probability my purpose to take these totally different parts to create a type of fragmentary, unsure portrait.

This leads us to my subsequent query, which is strictly about this fragmentary collage of disparate materials, together with digital and archival footage and infrared photographs. May you inform us one thing about your materials and the way it got here collectively within the enhancing course of?

Virtually from the start I knew that the movie can be composed of those parts. I had already written that within the script. But it surely was additionally evolving and infrared, for instance, solely got here in on the finish, I didn’t know it might be within the movie. I felt that the movie wanted archival footage to attain this extra social portrayal of a spot, so it was added on the enhancing stage. However the enhancing was actually troublesome, as a result of after I wrote the script, it was a lot simpler to leap from one factor to a different with out huge confusion or disruption. Nevertheless, once we began enhancing, this act of leaping from one factor to a different felt way more complicated. It was a extremely troublesome balancing act and ultimately the movie turned out much less fragmentary than I wished it to be as a result of it was turning into too emotionally disruptive to have all these totally different rhythms. Due to this fact, I made a decision ultimately that it’s higher to have an emotion that builds up quite than an excessive amount of confusion.

What additionally struck me was town itself, as this alienating house in gray and blue. Did you intend to have this stylized setting?

No, this was merely a results of taking pictures in Warsaw in November. It truly appears like this. Initially, I wished the movie to be extra colourful. I wished to seize a metropolis that’s type of hypnotized, a metropolis that’s not noticed in its precise actual time, however a metropolis that’s captured in between moments. And making an attempt to attain this with the environment that I used to be working in truly grew to become – and I solely realized this very late – fairly alienating, oppressive nearly. This wasn’t precisely my intention, however movies tackle their very own life and that’s what it’s. However I undoubtedly wished to seize town, the connection of the character to her house was essential to me. And I noticed this house extra as a spot that’s in transformation; on a regular basis, you see one thing new being constructed. I type of wished it had a bit extra coloration, however that’s the fact about this place. That’s what it appears like… We spent a very long time with the cinematographer strolling by town and trying to find places, a really very long time! And that’s how we captured it.

All through the movie, we’re very near the primary character. And I noticed that there’s a sure method of performing manifest in your movie, a method of performing that may be very a lot associated to the title, “Anatomy”, a narrative instructed by these our bodies and gestures. We regularly see these our bodies from behind, however not their faces. Is that this one thing which got here out of the method of working with the actors?

I believe it was very a lot the work with all actors, however in fact particularly with the primary actress. I used to be curious about creating a way of presence quite than exhibiting feelings, exhibiting performing, exhibiting what she feels, exhibiting what she’s going by. I wished the viewer to be together with her -somehow. To be a companion. So we did a number of rehearsals however not scenes. We did very minimal issues to simply come to this quite simple method of being collectively in a way more documentary method, so to say. I actually wished to attain this impact, as a result of that’s what I discovered extra fascinating normally: capturing the actor’s presence and never essentially a dramaturgic type of fiction.

The sound actually contributes to this environment as properly. You didn’t use music or very intrusive background sounds, however nonetheless sure sounds appear amplified or distorted. Possibly you may inform us a bit extra about that?

We labored on the sound for a very long time, truly the method took so long as enhancing itself, which is uncommon. I believe we actually tried to create a sense which may be very near actuality, however which on the identical time it isn’t a generic documentary sound. It was a really targeted sound someway, and it was a really, very lengthy course of to create each sound within the movie. And we experimented lots as a result of I wished the movie to be a little bit of a hypnotic journey, however nonetheless very near actuality. Every thing that felt too imposed was fallacious however, on the identical time, if there was nothing it was too boring. So we had been on a regular basis looking for this sense of taking a look at actuality whereas additionally having this reflective second of taking a look at actuality.

And there have been a number of mirrors, surfaces, home windows, an odd type of doubling in your movie…

In all probability, I didn’t even discover. I suppose it comes from my curiosity in id, however I didn’t consciously introduce all these parts. I believe it was in all probability pure that I wished the character to someway look both at herself or search for us to query what’s actual.

The opposite factor is the tempo, it’s very gradual, a type of meditative, hypnotic journey. Have been there any specific movies or administrators that had had an affect on you on the time?

Effectively, I believe the tempo emerged from this query of actuality; the performing isn’t about exhibiting, and for me it was then additionally the query of actual time. In actual time, issues usually are not sped up, conversations usually are not lower like in a movie, you already know, omitting all of the boring elements the place nothing occurs. I wished the viewer to enter this world and be there. That requires a sure rejiggling of our pure tempo as a result of the tempo we reside in is quick, however I’m undecided whether or not it’s truly so pure. So the tempo got here from that, but it surely’s true, I’ve a really excessive tolerance for gradual movies. For certain, many of the movies that I actually love are fairly gradual. On the time, I used to be watching Carlos Reygadas and a number of Asian cinema, akin to Edward Yang and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. And I truly watched fairly a little bit of Angela Schanelec on the time – I don’t know whether or not they had been ‘inspirations,’ I believe it’s simply what I’m curious about.

Did you shoot in the course of the pandemic?

Sure, we shot in the course of the pandemic. The shoot was stopped by lockdown, and we resumed and stopped once more and resumed once more, so it was a extremely bizarre time. Pandemic or not, I believe a number of our struggling comes from disconnection, additionally generationally, if we’re talking about social commentary. I really feel that’s fairly an essential thought to me as an remark of the place we’re at as a society: that almost all of our struggling truly comes not from precise ache however truly from the shortcoming to even join with ourselves; there’s not the house, not the time, not the social circumstances to try this – not to mention join with different folks. However I prefer to suppose that ultimately the character in my movie does discover this reference to herself, this braveness to try this, to attach with painful locations and with that comes a sure reduction as properly.

One other factor which pursuits me is your relation to Polish cinema. Within the final couple of years, I seen so many younger feminine filmmakers from Poland, greater than in all probability in some other European nation. I’m pondering, for example, of Aga Woszczyńska, whose Silent Land may be very totally different out of your movie, but there’s something like a generational shift occurring – would you agree with that?

I do know Aga very properly, she’s a good friend of mine, so in fact we used to affect one another once we had been at movie college [in Łódź] collectively. There’s undoubtedly this pattern, and it’s particularly feminine filmmakers, there actually is a number of us! I don’t relate to the Polish custom a lot, or at the least what is taken into account the Polish custom, the old-fashioned, akin to Andrzej Wajda. I don’t really feel very near that. However there may be this new power for certain, there’s a sense of one thing altering within the final 5 or ten years or so. I don’t reside in Poland, however I used to reside there for a while. It’s at all times exhausting to establish your self with a gaggle; we don’t have a collective, regardless that that will be good. I’m truly dreaming to have this sort of set-up, this collective power of supporting one another. However you’re proper, I additionally see this shift occurring.

As totally different as the person expressions of this collective power are, there’s additionally one thing which to me is “feminine” cinema. I can’t actually describe it aside from referring to it as a type of body-cinema, a cinema of refined particulars and gestures…

Sure, that’s so true, it’s one thing that pursuits me, though I don’t have something sensible to say about it – however I’ve seen lately that the movies I truly like had been made by ladies. And that wasn’t a political agenda, it was simply how I responded to them emotionally, additionally to a number of movies which might be very totally different from mine, by Kelly Reichardt, Alice Rohrwacher, and naturally Claire Denis or Angela Schanelec. I do really feel that there’s a totally different method of seeing the world. The physique, the main points, the shortage of a really robust purpose that must be achieved. I haven’t actually thought of that theoretically, however I’ve seen it. There’s additionally a distinct method of storytelling. And I don’t suppose it ought to be undermined. I believe the classical strategy, classical cinema as you’d outline it, is the results of a really ‘masculine’ strategy, a ‘masculine’ mind-set and of perceiving actuality.

That’s tremendous fascinating, pondering that your key rule of methods to write a profitable script – to have an impediment and overcome it – this drive, is one thing that we will break with and that many administrators have deserted up to now years, creating new methods to make use of the instruments we now have in cinema.

I truly bear in mind after I was at some workshop whereas creating Anatomy. There have been different initiatives, and somebody seen that every one the feminine initiatives had been being criticized by the mentors, who had been all males. And this particular person – a man truly – mentioned, “Oh, isn’t it fascinating that every one the initiatives we criticize for various causes are written by ladies?” And I assumed to myself, sure, it’s truly true as a result of these initiatives didn’t have that drive; they labored in another way. So it’s fascinating for certain that there’s a totally different method of constructing movies, even when we don’t name it ‘masculine’ or ‘female.’ In fact, it doesn’t must be gender-related, however there’s a sure shift that I seen as properly.

If we consider Kathryn Bigelow, you can argue she makes essentially the most ‘masculine’ movies you may think about…

Yeah, precisely! It’s not about gender, it’s extra about what’s archetypically thought-about ‘female’ or ‘masculine.’ I fairly like this. Really, I believe some years in the past I’d really feel a bit apprehensive about ‘feminine cinema,’ or it might really feel just a little bit like an offense someway. Feminine cinema as a separate class that’s not on par however on the margins – now I type of really feel like, yeah, I’m blissful to be there.

On that notice, my final query issues what’s subsequent after Anatomy. Are you already engaged on one other mission?

I haven’t determined but, I’ve a number of concepts that I’m engaged on now. However I believe it will likely be about ladies. And I believe the mission that I tackle subsequent explores a sure idea of sacrifice, of reward and love – this concept of gifting away in a capitalist world stuffed with exploitation, the place you should defend your self and set robust boundaries. I’m very curious about that. I’ve this character in thoughts who’s keen to provide, and I’m curious about how that means of giving shifts her entire setting. I believe that is one thing I discover thrilling: the dynamic between exploitation and one thing which I used to name sacrifice. However in a method sacrifice can be a type of exploitation. Should you give freely, it is just as a result of you could have sufficient of one thing. You aren’t doing it in opposition to your self. Within the context of ladies, I discover that very fascinating as a result of ladies are subjected to this dynamic a lot. There’s at all times a lot discuss how not to provide, how not to sacrifice your self, and I’m very curious about subverting this and seeing what we will take from this concept, if we are truly keen to provide to one another quite than residing in a world the place everybody has to battle for maintaining what they’ve.

Thanks for the interview.


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