Margules, Ludwik Overview. Publication Timeline. Most widely held works about Ludwik Margules. Most widely held works by Ludwik Margules.

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Alejandro G. The three-time DGA award winner discusses cosmic injustice, what drives him, the art of collaboration and what comes next. Photographed by Kevin Scanlon. The film had been unveiled the previous spring as part of Critics Week at Cannes, after having circumvented the festival's head Latin American programmer who deemed it too violent , and ended up taking the sidebar platform's top prize.

Here was this filmmaker with the tongue-twister of a name who seemed to arrive on the scene fully formed. But there was nothing feel-good about the story, which involved brutal dogfights no animals were harmed during production and a crosssection of desperate characters of different classes and circumstances in Mexico City's teeming metropolis. The structure was like a mosaic, with three different storylines colliding—Rashomon-like—in the form of a fatal car crash.

The narrative was splintered; the chronology toggled back and forth between past, present and future; and although the approach was avant-garde in nature, the tone was highly naturalistic, and deadly serious. Biutiful , filmed in parts of Barcelona scarcely seen by tourists, involved a protagonist with a terminal illness, his drug-addicted wife and doomed Chinese sweatshop workers, with no rainbow of hope on the horizon. Given what came before, the director's next film, 's Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance , represented a complete about-face: a dark comedy about a disillusioned Hollywood actor of superhero entertainments who seeks artistic redemption on the New York stage.

Everything about it was audacious, from its technical wizardry to its percussive score by the jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez to its humor involving fragile creative egos. Which is a huge source as inspiration. A: Yeah, it's ambitious. There is no other way to approach that theme but by comedy.

So I'm trying to build a comedy based on the tragic reality of our limited [laughing] intelligence. A: Possibly. I think the latitude of each of [my] films is one of the biggest questions, and the thing you need to discover as you are doing it. So the latitude will dictate a lot—the color of the performances or the text itself.

Q: Might some of this deal with the abuse of power? A: People with power is a problem. But I think one of the challenges we have now is that we have reduced everything to labels. The way we name something suddenly becomes a reality itself, and we're stuck with that.

And those names and the way we interpret reality is filtered by ideology, religion, political beliefs or self-interests; so [there's] the inability we have to see things as they are, and an addiction to easy conclusions.

And this certainty has become the source of major problems. If I was from another planet seeing what's going on now, it would be an amazing comedy. The different constellations are laughing at us. Q: There's a scene in The Revenant , where Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Hugh Glass, says to his son, "They don't hear your voice, they just see the color of your face. A: Exactly. That's what I'm saying. Our inability to deal with the set of ideas and beliefs that we have been building through generations from our ancestors.

When Copernicus said we were not the center of the universe, he was accused and blamed. But now we have everything to prove that something is wrong, or something isn't true, and still … once the story goes into [our] brains, it's [in our] DNA. That's why I have a theory that the universe is not made of atoms, it's made of stories.

Once the story gets into your bones and your body, it's there. It's a bias. It can be a positive, beautiful, inspiring, powerful, romantic story.

Or it can be destructive, nihilistic, egocentric, narcissistic. And even when the physical, tangible reality is there, [people] do not see it. And that's between scary and funny. Do you show each other rough cuts of your work to get each other's advice?

A: Yes. I consider myself a privileged filmmaker whose friends are people I not only like and appreciate as human beings, but people whom I actually admire as artists. Their advice always comes from the right side of the body, which is the heart. And they can be right or wrong, and we can debate. They make me think, make me reflect on many things, the scenes, the script, right up until the editing room.

Q: So you go through all the stages, then? A: Yeah, even since the ideas are born. So from the conception through the script and then through the editing, we have always been inviting each other to the process at different stages. And, by the way, we are very brutal. There is no politeness. We can be very tough. Especially Alfonso. He's sharp—his tongue is like a knife. There is no hidden agenda. It's not about Alfonso, it's not about Guillermo, it's not about me.

We are talking about what is right for the film, not for [us]. Because maybe there is an attachment to something emotional, romantic or historic. And maybe it [seems] right but it's not helping the film.

Then you can confront one another and say, 'Okay, this is good, but it's not helping your film. You have to kill your darlings, as Faulkner said.

Q: And so you really have to rethink, recalibrate…. A: And sometimes you have to be very faithful to what you believe. And I'm not talking about stubbornness, I'm talking about a vision. Because if you start doing films by democracy, then you are fucked. There's a moment that it's important to be clear in what you want that not everybody wants. Because even if they are right, maybe it's not right for you. There's a territory where there is no right or wrong.

And I think that even a mistake with conviction is a style. And you have to embrace that. And you have to take that risk if you want the right to direct a movie.

Own the mistakes. The line between truthfulness and ego is sometimes difficult. Photos: Everett. Q: How do you handle creative differences with your collaborators? A: I see my job as somebody who can bring out the best of everybody's work.

And because only you know the whole canvas, your job is difficult. So the job of a director is to have the perspective, the wholeness in your head.

Obviously, I love to hear good ideas. And I'm open. But I cannot accept every idea because then I will not be doing my job. Q: Can you give a specific example of conflict between you and a collaborator, and what kind of solution came out of that? A: Most of the departments always work like that, where you arrive at the point where both ends [result in] something new.

So I believe in one plus one is three. When you have a collaborator where both of you are three, it multiplies, and it [becomes] another thing. Once you start working with craft, with the material, with tangible elements, you find another reality that suddenly does not match necessarily what you thought. And then you have to find a way to transcend the tangible to look for the mysterious, for the intangible. You have to transcend the material world to get into the immaterial—to get to the spiritual or the mysterious.

And that's where a great cinematographer or a great writer can [improve] what you were thinking in the first place. Q: In terms of working with DPs, what is the baseline technical knowledge a director needs to have a fruitful discourse? A: Well, I think you have to have at least the very basic knowledge of how light works and how light behaves and how you can use light in a way to enhance whatever dramatic objective you are looking for.

If you don't understand the rules of light and how the light's direction or the quantity or the color of light will be affecting your emotions, your perception, how it shapes a scene, you cannot be a director.

I'm not talking necessarily about the technical aspects. I think it's important that technically you have a minimum of knowledge. The light will speak more in a scene than any dialogue you can ask. Rodrigo and Chivo, when you have cinematographers of their caliber, I don't think anybody knows better how light behaves than these two guys. And theoretically you can be talking with Chivo for one hour and you still don't understand it all.

So in that sense, when you have a collaborator that skilled, they are able to create anything you ask for. I need to know what I'm looking for, of course, but I know these guys will do things very few people in the world will be able to manage with the light. But when I saw his movie, I wondered if you would ever tackle something as personal to your own life as he did with Roma.





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