Reconstruction lends itself to so many readings: it could be a Lynchian time loop, it could simply be just his imagination, or her fantasy, or the author's fears as he imagines what his wife may be doing. All these different possibilities, and I love that you leave them all open as possible interpretations.
I thought, I'm going to play it all out. I'm going to try to make a movie like I saw, when I saw Leos Carax's Boy Meets Girl. That was a blown-out experience. I was mesmerized. I really, literally knew that I had seen the most wonderful picture in the world. I couldn't recall any of it, I was in a trance. I had seen nothing like it. And I wanted to make something that was the best I could do, which would be all-out something I liked, and I all-out liked the repetition, the look of love, the naturalist influence of being with beautiful people who are experiencing an explosion, a revolution of love, all this kind of stuff, and just going all the way, hang all the questions. So I was very much accepting the fact that this is also something that people tend to hate, having too many open endings. "What the hell is this? Just make the whole thing fit." But I thought the whole idea of this movie was to make something that really didn't fit and that should be the pleasure of it. If there is a pleasure, that should be one of them.
I love the animated interludes in Allegro, of the idea of him as a child going along the route of life, and one of the things I loved so much is the idea that even as adults we're still children working things out.
Yes. Well, the whole movie is in many ways like a children's story, like a fairy tale. I wanted to capture that sort of innocence by having these cartoonish things and also I thought that, for this kind of story, because there is an introduction of a soul, I needed a lot of exposition about this character. I just thought it was a way of encountering the playfulness of the movie and it was a great narrative way of stating a lot of exposition in a very simple and accessible way. There are so many reasons why I thought it was fitting for the movie. Thematically, of course, but I also think it is very important that you understand the movie is actually playful. It likes being a movie. It's playing with how you can tell a story, and it doesn't really take itself too seriously. I think one of the things that some people don't like about the film is the playfulness of the movie, which I think is pretty essential to that genre of moviemaking.
Zetterstrom (played by Ulrich Thomsen) is a perfectionist and in his need to control everything, he cuts himself off from the world and from love, because love and loss are beyond his control. And what he has to face is that, when you cut yourself off from that, you are incomplete.
That seems not to be too far off of my mark. It's a fairy tale, so in that sense, there's an easy morality and an easy accessibility to the movie, but hopefully it's also ambiguous in the sense that there are many things playing. It's not trying to show an easy way of living. It's trying to tell a very simple story but also acknowledge the fact that obviously the issue is more complicated than what this movie resolves. I wanted to do something that was sort of easy and accessible, but on the other hand, I wanted to acknowledge the fact of the complexity of the subject. So I don't disagree with what you are saying. I hope the movie says that, but also maybe questions that line of thought. I hope that makes sense.
The idea of "The Zone," and the way you call it simply "The Zone," quotes Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, but it's like you've recreated it with a sense of whimsy.
Indeed, that is one reference in the movie and it is Tarkovksy. If I didn't called it "The Zone," I'm not sure people would have made the strong connection between this movie, which is whimsical, as you say, and also has a great melancholy, which owes a great debt to Tarkovsky, who is maybe the greatest melancholic filmmaker of all time, and the greatest filmmaker of all time in many other ways also. I just thought I needed to pay respect. One of the ideas with Allegro is I wanted to make a science fiction movie. It's a low-fi science fiction, where the question is not so much about the technology, of how tomorrow looks and how people are going to phone on a small new Nokia telephone, but it's about the what-if.
Science fiction is basically asking: What if something was different than it is now? So it's in many ways a very playful genre. It's also a very existential genre. It's questioning humanity and asking, How would we perform, how would we act, what would we do if things were different than we were accustomed to? So in that sense, I thought it was science fiction and I think in moviemaking, Tarkovsky has made the two greatest science fiction movies of all time. So I needed to make that sort of reference, to say, "Thank you, Mr. Tarkovsky, you're the greatest."
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