Excerpts from a interview by Peter Schepelern made for EKKO
A SET OF RULES
This whole film started with me having a depression and after that I tried to fight my way out of this depression by writing a film. When you’re really down, then you don’t worry so much about, you know, even dogma rules, but we have had some rules about how the camera should move or not move, but compared to what I have done before there are almost no rules. It was also a choice of mine not to make the film too logical. We talked about, or I was talking about left-handwork, when I did The Kingdom, and this is maybe – it’s set up as a left-handwork.
THE CURE OF DEPRESSION
The cure of a depression is actually, the modern cure, is to put up a kind of a schedule of everything you do that day and then you have to force yourself to do more and more, and since film-work kind of includes that schedule – and of course it helps that you feel that you’re actually, maybe not able to do your best, but to still get through the shooting with a good feeling.
THE SCRIPT PHASE
In the script phase, I think I gave more control away in the sense that I did not want it to be too constructed and that I allowed it to be more mystical and I allowed pictures to come in that was strange and not kind of in the right mathematical place.
I’m in a much different situation this time, because there are actually many of the things that I cannot explain. Not even to myself. That is kind of letting go in a positive way, I think.
I would say that the change, I think, in the female character is that I’ve actually now… let me use the word, penetrated the sex in the sense that they have become, even though they might be scheming and evil, they have become human beings, which I don’t think was the case in my first films.
I think that one thing which is very important to say is that whatever a film is about is not what the director thinks about things. And a big part of my technique is to kind of put of a thesis of some kind that I do not agree with. I don’t believe that there will suddenly be bells in the sky, you know, because Bess would do this and this, I don’t believe in it, I don’t agree with it. I don’t agree with the idea that this religion should be worse than any other religion and bla-bla-bla. I think that that’s a very important thing to remember, because that goes actually for all of my films, or maybe, at least my recent films, that I’m trying to defend something that I do not believe in, but the good thing about that is that you get a little wiser each time, because to try to defend something that you do not agree with is a very good exercise, when you are humanistic minded. People might say that this film is not so humanistic minded. I have…well, it’s made by me, so what can I say? There are many ways to look at this, but it’s not a film that should inspire people to do more witch-haunts. I think, we have had enough of that.
Actually, I did something that I never done before, I looked at a lot of things and films, or mainly Japanese horror-films like The Ring, which I thought was fantastic. I was inspired that suddenly, especially the Japanese, I thought it was because of cultural differences that suddenly you see images that are much different from what you are used to. And brilliantly done, I think, many of them.
I think the sex is a consequence of being human beings and in this story the she-character, she blames herself for not being there at a critical moment in the son’s life. I don’t know…yeah, maybe – what I would say was that sexuality is one of the things that makes us less civilized and therefore sexuality comes closer to nature and since the film is about the evil nature as, yeah, all the films I have been – I think that is why you say that about the evil.
I was very pleased. I knew Willem before, Charlotte I hadn’t met, and in the casting we tried other people and the agents were always very worried about all this explicit sex.
I think the reason why he took the part – because I think he was in doubt or it took some time – and then my wife said to him:”You dare not. You dare not take this part.” I think it kind of, I think it did – INTERVIEWER: Clever Very clever