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The Doors Of Perception

About this film

Darkness. Mythicism. Something uncanny, and an invitation to explore, to discover - these are the ingredients of filmmaker duo Mariachiara Pernisa and Morgan Menegazzo. Their omnibus film The Doors of Perception is a fascinating, deeply moving collage of exterior and interior lives and struggles. Pernisa and Menegazzo, artists who have been working together since 2001, dive into the depth of (un)consciousness and ask us to be present with the images.

Nadin Mai (tao films)

Interview with the Director
I’m very happy to welcome you back on tao films after a brief showing of your short film Psicopompo on our platform just before Christmas in 2017. I would like to begin by asking what your trajectory into film was and how the collaboration between you two began?

Thanks, Nadin. We too are happy to be part of your interesting and great project.

Our collaboration began, as our common life, in 2001 with a series of short works based exclusively on the desire to experiment with the medium in the so-called digital era. The intent was banal and still it is: to investigate ourselves and human nature with no limits whatsoever.

You clearly investigate the nature and the force of mystery and obscurity. They seem to be the core of your work. What role do these elements, to your mind, play in cinema in general and where does your interest for them come from?

Working particularly with light, darkness becomes its essence and dictates the limits of its form, in the same way the mystery, according to us, is the primary impulse of life. These aspects are a lifeline in a society where the dictatorship of rationalism dominates, where through definitions we pretend to domesticate the sacred, the invisible. Our interest comes from a common congenital view influenced by various sources, not only by Cinema, but also by esoteric literature for example, although as far as possible we try to forget about them before facing a new project.

The Doors Of Perception is a sort of omnibus, a collection of three short films. Can you tell me why you have combined those three particular films to form a feature film?

The trilogy, composed from 2015 to 2018, was just ideal and it had not been conceived as a feature-length work, but just as a three-channel video exhibition in an installation space. It was thanks to the critic Adriano Aprà and his Fuori Norma project that we started to screen them as a feature-length film in theatres.

Especially with your work, I begin to think once more about the distinction between cinema and videos for gallery installations. I would be inclined to describe your work as a gallery piece. For you, where does cinema stop and an installation piece begin? Can one even make a clear distinction?

There are abbreviations and labels for each product and for every critical need. Anyone who writes about art or cinema would like to find his golden strand to be rewarded for. We believe that man seeks a definition for everything, a term capable of packing its lifeblood to make it a product. Video art in this sense seems a term that can justify an investigation of the moving image for non-entertainment purposes. This sort of affront, of betrayal, makes most people shudder who unwillingly accept the idea of not feeling entertained. But if someone accompanies the affront to the term “video art”, they immediately feel more relieved and more willing to suffer the torture. A definition, therefore, works to sweeten a bitter pill.

That said, do you conceive of your projects as being screened in a particular place, a particular environment? Do you have an audience in mind?

We have long wanted to screen some of our works in a forest, in an old abandoned aqueduct of the early 1900s and in a structure of plastic pipes specifically designed for the purpose.

The audience is certainly a secondary element, a limit that we unintentionally wear and it is considered structurally mostly in relation to our documentary works, where the presence of the word is more intrinsic to invalidate the esoteric strength of the images. Although the first spectators are in our eyes, during the screenings we very appreciate the relationship with the audience that often positively surprises us. The audience in our mind? It is composed mostly of cats and of wild geese.

How do you develop your films together? I can imagine that your way of making films is rather free form instead of rigid and tied to previously conceived plans.

The methodology depends on the type of project we are trying to develop and, above all, on the number of people involved. When we are immersed in our most experimental movies, writing is more telepathic than structural: we try to explore a theme or an obscure collection of ideas. In other documentary works, the method is complex and layered and it evolves over time thanks to the elements of the group both during shooting and editing.

Are you currently working on a new project?

Usually we deal with several projects at the same time, shooting them and setting them aside for substantial periods depending on the production phases. Among these, a work on a Norwegian expedition to Antarctica, a documentary on the political prisoners during the Years of Lead produced by EneceFilm and a multi-hand documentary on hereditary shamans in Siberia. Coming soon, between April and May, a solo exhibition is scheduled at the Muvig, a virtual museum in Italy, curated by the media researcher Alessandra Chiarini.

Thank you very much for this interview.