INTERVIEW WITH PABLO LAMAR

AHENDU NDE SAPUKAI

a film by Pablo Lamar

Could you tell us something about the moment you realized you wanted to be a filmmaker?

I was in the 2nd year of Business administration and doing the first semester of Phsycology, searching for something else, maybe more human, I guess… At that time I used to spend lots of time playing the guitar and writing everyday, that’s what I really liked and was interested about.

That was around 2004 and I went to a very basic workshop on Script for shortfilms, very new for Paraguay by then, and so I decided to go to Buenos Aires to study film without even having watched many films and leaving the guitar behind. That was how I could escape from Financial maths which was really not of my business.

Where there any early film watching experiences that had a major impact on your work?

In University you get to watch and read so many things that they all get mixed up -in a good sense- until you find some flims, texts, issues, that seem to push the others and echo with something you’re in search of.

I remember the first time I watched Tokio story from Ozu. I couldn’t understand the timing of that film yet. It was a corporal and cultural experience I only understood later.

Discussing cinema with a small group of friends and experimenting with shooting was very important. Of course also having watched Tarkovsky, Dreyer, Sokurov, Martel, Alonso, Reygadas. Cassavettes. Kiarostami was also very important and I curiously started by Ten and Five which were more radical in his filmography.

I would also say H2O by Ralph Steiner is a film that allowed me to better understand cinema.

I think these directors, as many others, deal with time and with realistic and fictional elements that were important to me.

What is the meaning of your film's title?

Ahendu nde sapukai, in guarani means ‘I hear your scream’ and is the title of a Paraguayan guarania music by José Asunción Flores.

Did you have the idea of making a one shot film from the very beginning? Or did this formal approach emerge as a solution to best capture the mood and emotion related to this specific story?

The idea of the film came during a sunset in the outsides of the town of Sapukai. I took around 50 photos in the same place we then shot the film. I worked the script with the photos.

The idea came already as a single shot but mainly because I thought it was the only way to get the mood of the sunset that the photos could not capture. It was Time what the mood -and the film- was about.

The film clearly works on several levels, first and foremost as a very unique visual experience. Are the funeral rites captured in your film taken from a specific community? Or did you create the world for the purposes of your story? One example is the use of the fading light. Are there communities that bury the dead after sunset?

I like to create rituals and the films to be rituals themselves. Of course these rituals are related with my own experience but they don’t have to do with a specific community or tradition. In fact I always try to avoid traditional or folkloric elements that could result pinturesque.

In Ahendu nde sapukai, these decisions had to do with the mood the film was about.

The sound, the shaped figures, the green image suggested by the DoP, they all work in that sense, adding artificial elements in search of a more real experience.

Could you tell us about your most recent projects and how they relate to this film?

I’m now in preproduction of my first feature film, La última tierra.

The film is about the death of the woman of and elderly couple, and how the man deals with it in solitude.

I think it continues the line of work present in my short films since they all deal with the death and they also search for moods that could have a narrative importance.

Pablo Lamar was born in Asunción, Paraguay.
He studied film at the Universidad del Cine of Buenos Aires. He has written and directed two shorts, Ahendu nde sapukai (2008) and Noche adentro (2009), both of which premiered at the Semaine de la critique of the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
The Last Land is Pablo Lamar’s first feature film. The project has participated in both the Taller de análisis de proyectos cinematográficos of the Typa foundation (Argentina) and The Rotterdam LAB organized by Cinemart of the IFFR.
It also received a grant from the Huber Bals Fund for the development of new projects and was awarded first and second prize from the Buenos Aires Lab (BAL) of the BAFICI.