What made you think of making a film that deals with the first moments after death?
I don’t know. There are always several reasons that lead you to make a film. When I was about six years old, I went to my uncle’s funeral in his village. The coffin was open and the body was presented in the living room. Every neighbour and family member could bid farewell to uncle Bogdan and even touch the body. It was an opportunity to see him one last time. Nowadays there is no such possibility. People die in hospital, they are hidden, taken from their hospital bed, and at the cemetery we see only a box with ashes. I also thought a lot about the value of human life. The reason why we are here. And what we leave behind after our death. When you think too much about final matters you end up making a film like this.
How did you shoot the ambulance scene? Were some sequences shot with a cast or was everything real-life?
We just attached the camera to the car to have good stabilization and waited for a call. But we didn’t want to be a danger to anyone’s life, so we were ready to get out quickly. We didn’t want to disturb the work of the paramedics or the person needing help. One scene was “staged” for us, because there was no permission for real-life shooting, but the people in front of the camera were real. On the film they do their everyday job on the location where they normally do it. And we set it exactly the same way as we (me and the DOP) had seen it with our eyes the day before.
Can you tell us about the character who is placed in a coffin and whose goods are put up for auction?
She’s a lonely person, without a family. After her death, the city takes care of her goods and belongings, the coffin, the funeral. There is a specific procedure. The whole film is about people like her. It isn’t important what her name is and where she lives. For me she was every man, like myself.
Why weren’t you interested in the immovable, the living space, the rooms that were emptied of their people and objects?
I didn’t show what happen to these places because that would be about their new life. I wanted to focus on the “life” of my protagonist. The flat is emptied, there is no trace left of the person who lived there.
Did you want the film to be entirely contemplative? How did you work on the sound?
We recorded hundred per cent of the sound on location, and kept an eye on it in postproduction. Great sound postproduction experts Tomasz Dukszta and Jan Chojnacki helped us make the sound dehumanized. Like a working factory. That was the key to sound and storytelling.
What sort of freedom would you say the short format allows?
I don’t have any experience with the long format, but in my opinion in short films you have to be more precise with narration. All frames should be important. But you can do some crazy stuff which in full length would be unbearable.
If you’ve already been to Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote or story from the festival? If not, what are your expectations for this year?
This will be my first time at Clermont-Ferrand. I hope to meet great filmmakers. I hope a lot of people will see my film, and if they spend a minute in silence, with deeper thoughts I will be completely happy. It will be my first international festival with this film, so I am really curious about how people will feel about it.