Dinner with Reflection of Power

Meeting with...

An interview with Mihai Grecu, director of Reflection of Power


la mouche cfYour film takes place in Pyongyang, in North Korea: a mysterious rising water engulfs a city without disturbing the impressive artistic performances and activities going on there. How did you become interested in the country?

I was born in Romania under Ceausescu’s dictatorship. I remember dance ceremonies in honor of the regime and the Party congresses – all of which were shown on television. But those were the only things we could watch on tv; everything else was simply “white noise”. Later, I thought that that sort of thing had ceased to exist, but I discovered that in fact they were alive and well in North Korea, and that the Kim dynasty had taken them to even greater heights. It should come as no surprise then that Ceausescu was one of the best friends of Kim-Il-Sung, the grandfather of the current Kim, and founder of the Pyongyang regime. That is what initially sparked my interest in North Korea.

la mouche cfSome parts resemble the North Korean ceremonies for the Olympic Games. Did you shoot them on location? Or are they stock footage?

We shot them on location. The games are called Arirang, and their function is more propagandistic than sporting or artistic.

la mouche cfWhat is it like to film in North Korea? Were you free to film whatever you wanted?

I can’t say much more than that we filmed on location and that it is almost impossible to use video, so in general you must make do with photos. But since I was principally interested in the statues in honor of Kim, that wasn’t too much of a problem. However, it is strictly forbidden to photograph or film anything outside of that – at the risk of being sent to a work camp for years…

la mouche cfThe world you portray looks like a GIF that keeps going forever. It unshakably looks at itself – with paintings and reality blurring in their apparent ideals – unburdened by its own disappearance. Do you think your story represents the near future, or does the allegory already apply to the present?

Of course it’s allegorical.

la mouche cfAre floods frequent in North Korea?

Yes, they happen quite often. But last year was a drought.

la mouche cfWater was also a very visible element in your previous film Coagulate.
Why does the substance inspire you so much?

Yes, water fascinates me. As much the image of water as its metaphorical charge.

I am also very interested in the technical aspects of recreating the movement of water through digital technology.

la mouche cfDid you recreate any places using CGI? Or is water the only computer generated element?

Aside from the images of the Arirang games, everything was done using computers.

la mouche cfHow long did post-production take?

Six months.

The Reflection of Power is being shown in Lab Competition L3.

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