Fabian Bielinsky ("The Aura", "Nine Queens") and Breno Silveira ("Two Sons of Francisco") share some behind-the-scenes experiences.
Fabian Bielinsky's second film, following his international hit, 2002's "Nine Queens," is a thriller about an epileptic whose life changes when he accidentally kills a man, only to discover that the victim was about to commit a major crime.
I wrote this as a quite conventional thriller 20 years ago, just after I left film school, then forgot about it. And then I took up the original idea again, and it went in a completely different direction when I decided to make the main character an epileptic.
This character's obsession is control; he is a control freak in a way. Everything in him is about control. But there is this contradiction: He cannot even control his state of mind.
When I was doing the research and talking to neurologists, I bumped into the aura thing, which I didn't know about. It is something that happens just before the epileptic fit, when the whole state of mind and perception changes, and it is completely different from one person to another. It goes from lasting just one second, with some people, to several minutes, and sometimes there are hallucinations. The reaction from patients is completely different, one from the other. Some people hate their auras because they are like an advance warning of the nightmare fit to come, and others love it. Our main consultant, a very well-known neurologist in Buenos Aires, told me that some people asked him not to get cured because they didn't want to lose the aura.
This was something that really got to me, and I said, "This is a very cinematic thing." In a way, the aura coming before the fit is the picture of inevitability because there is nothing to do about it.
When the film came out, I was wondering what people would say about it, and our adviser called me and said some of his patients were very pleased. They could take their family to the movie and say, "This is what happens to me."
Brazilian director Breno Silveira worked for years in documentaries before making his feature debut with this film about two real-life Brazilian singers and their rise from rags to riches.
When I was very young, my father gave me my first camera. He had a kind of black-and-white lab in the house, in the bathroom, and I started to take pictures. I don't know how, but I just became a photographer, and one day someone asked me to take photos on a movie set. It was a very passionate experience for me.
Then I went to university to study marine biology, but I was so sad. I didn't like it, staring at fish, and I told my parents I wanted to leave. They were very surprised. But a very famous photographer was visiting my father's office -- my father is an architect -- and he saw these photos on the wall and wanted to know whose they were, and my father said they were mine. So, he started letting me work for him, and I began to make documentaries, especially shooting in the favelas. And I'd shoot there for the BBC and other television companies.
At one point, I won a scholarship to go to film school in Paris. But I had very little money when I came back. It was a very bad time in Brazil in the late 1980s, and there were only about 10 films being made each year. I lived in a tiny, tiny apartment. It was very difficult.
I started to do (commercials and music videos). And then we did a music video for these two singers, Zeze di Camargo & Luciano. They are very well known in Brazil, but they are like country singers -- not at all from my world. They wanted me to make a movie about their life, but I kept saying "No, no, no."
And then they told me their story, and it is full of events and tragedy -- about how their father was a peasant farmer, and how he always dreamed that they would be singers, how he sold everything he had, and how they had no food, and how they started to sing, and one of the brothers was killed in a terrible accident. I thought, "This is very interesting."
Now, after the film, their father is like a star here! When the film was finished, everybody came to see it in Brazil. It did better than (Warner Bros. Pictures') "Batman Begins."
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