Dinner with El infierno y tal

Meeting with...

Interview with Enrique Buleo, director of El infierno y tal [Hell and Such]

Why did you want to picture a rural environment?
I come from a small village in La Mancha so setting my stories in rural environments is natural for me. Although I’ve been living in a city for the last fifteen years, I spent my childhood and adolescence in a rural environment and it deeply influenced my personality.

How much are you interested in isolation and do you have further projects on this theme?
I am very interested in losers and misfits who are determined and strong-willed. This kind of people usually live in isolation. In one of my future projects, called Relato de salvación, isolation plays a very important role too.

How did you work on character elaboration? Are there a few differences between the script and the film?
I always try to work on character elaboration and on the plot at the same time. However, sometimes the plot defines the characters and other times the characters are the ones who define the plot. In El Infierno y tal I already knew the type of characters I wanted to create – a mother and a father who made their daughter suffer involuntarily. I wanted an aggressive and ridiculous father and a phony and absurd mother, like a macabre and silly version of Matilda. The script and the film are quite similar. I only reduced some scenes in the editing process to create a proper film rhythm. 

Why did you want to add the question of disability?
I only thought of a disability characteristic because it made the character more fragile and made it more difficult for her to escape from her parents. However, I think disability is not one of the main themes of the story.

How much was the concentration camp sequence important?
The concentration camp sequence defines the mother’s irrational character. She believes that she’s somehow a victim of a concentration camp. This sequence also shows how at that particular moment, the daughter thinks of escaping from her pitiful existence.

Would you say that the short film format has given you any particular freedom?
I don’t think the short film format in itself gives you any particular freedom. We can find feature films which are much more imaginative and creative than many short films, which can sometimes be very academic and traditional. What really gives me freedom to make short films like El Infierno y tal is the fact that I don’t make my living from filmmaking.

What are your reference works?
I have a very eclectic tastes but I feel specially influenced by European filmmakers such as Ulrich Seidl, Jessica Hausner, Aki Kaurismäki, Pedro Almodóvar, Werner Herzog, American filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, Woody Allen, Rodrigo García, Amat Escalante and the Canadian director David Cronenberg.

El infierno y tal [Hell and Such] is part of Lab Competition L2.

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