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La Noche

About this film

It’s eerily quiet around this house in which furniture collects dust. Shadows are hanging over every room, and it is so delicate when, in this feeling and atmosphere of “the past” a young girl lies down in bed next to her mother and whispers “Mommy”. Something has happened, something sinister that has caused this silence, this slow progression of time in Pilar Palomero’s The Night of all Things. Absence and emptiness are taking on the main roles in Palomero’s film. Yet, what or who is absent? This something is palpable, but invisible. What remains in the viewer are simple, but powerful images that speak of pain, of loss, of a catastrophe.

Nadin Mai (tao films)

Interview with the Director
Pilar, you were one of Béla Tarr’s students at film.factory. Can you tell me about how you came to make films? Why have you decided to become a filmmaker and what does film mean to you?

Filmmaking is one of the strongest ways of communication and this is what I would like to do in my films: to communicate my ideas and thoughts. I would like to achieve as a filmmaker what I expect and desire as a film viewer: to provoke/have pure and powerful emotions. If I could touch people’s feelings with my films, that would be a real success as a filmmaker.

I know that our viewers are often interested in the gear a filmmaker uses. Are you using digital video or analogue film? What was the reason of your choice?

I have used digital video in my latest projects, specifically the RED ONE Mysterium camera. Of course, I love analogue film, it can express so much! But digital video gives me freedom as a filmmaker, and that’s why I am not even trying to shoot on film. With digital video I can be more relaxed both creative- and production-wise.

I like the atmosphere of and in your film. It is very quiet, dead like the night. This scene of the young girl getting into bed, lying next to her mother and whispering “Mom” twice really stands out for me. It’s eerie, but at the same time very intimate.

Thank you very much. Atmosphere is a very important element of the film and we tried to take good care of it during the shooting. There is not a classical story structure in this film, and I think its focus lays on atmosphere: I wanted to make people feel what Joana was feeling, more than explaining or talking about her feelings. She is a little girl facing a difficult time of her life -the loss of her mother-, so my idea was to express how she feels. And of course, in such a moment of her life, she feels sad, lonely, lost, nostalgic… That is why the atmosphere feels quiet, “dead like the night” as you said.

The house that is the centre of your film is, I would say, a sort of memory with 4 walls. It is full of old items, some of them look as though they have not been used for decades. Dust is very prominent, indicating the passing of time. I generally feel that your film is set in the past, and not quite in the present. It is set in memories, albeit without really showing any.

Yes, for me this is a film about memories. When you lose someone you love, memories are the only way to be with your beloved one forever. And memory becomes precious, as much as the person you loved used to be. Joana lives her last days with her mom feeling her like a memory already. And the house is a memory itself. I have to say that we shot on real location and the house is not a set build for the film. It is actually a place that exists and I just captured it as it is. And this story was born there. I visited this place some years ago and I felt overwhelmed by the memories in the place. Objects were scattered all around and I just could not stop thinking about all the people behind those objects: Who were they? What is left of them? Does somebody still remember them? Or are they gone forever? This place talks about the passage of time and I felt it has to be the place where Joana faces her own loss. She is dealing with the disappearance of her mother while living in this universe full of memories, of ghosts, and I wanted her to realize her mother’s demise by contemplating the vestiges of other people’s lives. Today her mom is laying on bed, but tomorrow... she will be a memory as well...

If your film is about memory, it is also very much about stagnation. Time progresses, but life in the house is not. How did you decide about the aesthetics for this film?

Since the house already existed it set the aesthetics for the film. We had to build the bedroom of the mom in accordance to the rest of the house, and Lea Triboulet, the set designer, did a great job. I also worked very hard with cinematographers Manel Raga and André Gil Mata to create the mood through lighting and composition. We used natural light most of the time and used dawn for the exteriors. Dawn is the moment when memories can be very vivid and I wanted to use that time of the day to recreate those moments of Joana and her mom.

You dedicated this film to your father. We don’t actually see a father figure on screen. The father figure is one of absence. He’s there and yet he isn’t. At the end of the film I wondered whether the film was not actually about him. Can you tell me more about this?

In the film the father is absent. The story is about Joana and her mother, and in this case the father is not mentioned specifically. For me, Joana’s father disappeared long time ago, maybe even when she was a baby. But the disappearance she is facing is the one of her mom. But the film is dedicated to my father because this film is my tribute to him. I recreated my own feelings through Joana.

Are you working on a new project at the moment?

Yes. I am developing my debut feature film, Las Niñas, with production companies Inicia Films and Betta Pictures. The film will be shot in summer 2018 and is about an 11-year-old girl that questions the education she has received. The film will have some common elements with The Night Of All Things, with a careful mise-en-scène, but it is also a very different story. It is a very personal story in which I would like to portray the kind of education I received, hoping to make people reflect about this important issue, but moreover, to follow these young girls on their way to adulthood in a society that resists to adapt.