Notes on Telluride 2018

Based on “Film Watch” — A Publication of the 45th Telluride Film Festival & Telluride Local Media

Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón on Roma

(1) Working through memories

[Cuarón] A lot of the process of making this movie was working through my memories, but a big part of it was days and days and hours and hours of conversations with Libo. I kept a logbook of her memories. Exactly what time she would wake up? How would she sit on the bed before getting up? What was the first thing she saw, the first thing she touched, how did she walk down the stairs?

I started to compile an almost forensic document about her routine. Every time we spoke about her life, her eyes teared up and she said, “My childhood was very deprived.”

She suffered hunger. She described the cold she endured in her village. I realized our incredible lack of awareness and the disparity — my middle-class childhood was absolutely privileged compared to Libo’s childhood.

In order to be able to understand who I am, I had to understand who Libo has been in my life. It’s also a metaphor of who I am in relationship to Mexico. It was important for me to understand my wounds, not just my personal wounds but also my wounds from a point of view of who I am as a Mexican. I was interested in making a mosaic of that perverse relationship that Mexico has between social class and race.

(2) A non-narrative film

[Cuarón] In Children of Men, for instance, I did exhaustive research about social and political conditions. Here, it was a search inside myself, a very introspective process. The uncertainty in memory means that every memory opens a door into labyrinthine passageways, with multiple doors.

When I spoke with my brother about a memory I had, there were discrepancies with his recollections. I wanted to maintain a purity in this film. There had to be integrity to my memory. I was interested in capturing my memory without striving for a logical or narrative coherence. In fact, when I finished the film, I thought I had made a non-narrative film. I was worried about whether people would understand it. I hoped it all would amount to a film.

(3) Emotion is the logic

[Iñárritu] The best decision was not having asked Guillermo, me or your brother for an opinion. You cannot go to therapy and ask a friend how to describe what you lived through with your mother or your brother or your father. The dramatic tensions stem from the emotional logic of the film, not from the logic, let’s say of the events. Remembering is not about remembering the facts just as they were, but as we lived through them emotionally. But you feared that the film would be non-narrative.

[Cuarón] Yes, because I was worried that narrative distraction would arrest the emotional, thematic and memory flow. That the artifice of narrative would get in the way. But for better or worse, I have that narrative instinct.

And so even though I didn’t want to create a narrative, a narrative emerges. I stopped worrying about narrative, and worried instead about the other stuff. I had never done that. My process was always the opposite, a preoccupation with the narrative structure.

(4) Music

[Iñárritu] This is your most musical film, even though you use no composed music. The domestic workers are permanently listening to the radio — an enormous selection of songs that represented popular culture in that era.

[Cuarón] I had to honor the truth in every moment. I didn’t want to impose the music that I liked on a scene. My consultant was Libo. What songs did she like best? What songs were playing on the radio? The stations she listened to were very different from what my siblings and I listened to. One was Mexican pop and Mexican popular music, and the other was pop and rock in English, two worlds, two completely different universes.

Damien Chazelle and Emma Stone on the Telluride Tribute

(1) Keep showing up

[Chazelle] I forgot you were there last year, too. That’s not fair. It must be why they are giving you a tribute. You’re the regular now. I don’t think it has anything to do with your talent. It’s just the number of times you’ve gone.

[Stone] That’s the story of my career. I just keep showing up. I can’t wait to see your movie. I’m so excited. I can’t believe I’m finally getting to play the moon.

(2) Tribute every hour

[Stone] I’m really hoping to see like five movies while we’re there.

[Chazelle] Yeah, but of course you’re going to be doing that whole tribute thing. They’re going to be tributing you every hour.

[Stone] Three hours every day! Isn’t it just like a one-time short thing?

[Chazelle] Oh, that’s not what I’m told. I’m told they tribute you every hour of every day.

[Stone] What? Do I get to wear some type of head accouterment when I walk around the festival? Like may be a ribbon? Or a sash? I’ll put on my sash.

Yorgos Lanthimos on The Favorite

(1) Women and the nation

What drew you to the tell the story and this time period?

[Lanthimos] It felt very intimate and personal. It’s a story that focused on three women, but at the same time, by observing the relationships and the specific circumstances, you could also witness how just a few human beings can affect the fate of a whole nation — even the outcome of wars. It was the juxtaposition between the very personal and the very intimate affecting a much bigger canvas.

(2) Natural light and wide angles

Those candlelight scenes are absolutely gorgeous — how hard were they to shoot? It must have been insane.

[Lanthimos] It was hard, but I find it much harder to work with all the artificial lighting and all the equipment around. When you work with natural light, you’re actually able to focus on the actors and the performances and how the camera captures that, instead of moving all these lights around and wasting time on all of that. The essential stuff for me is the work with the actors. Of course it’s hard to get the exposure sometimes; other than that it’s pretty straightforward.

Also, we used a lot of wide angles, which again is a progression of my work. I had a feeling that it would be interesting to be able to capture these people in these huge rooms in a way that enhances the lonely figure.

Yann Demange on White Boy Rick

(1) An ethical question

Talk about the development process.

[Demange] It was a long process because it’s a true story and I didn’t feel comfortable with just taking it and completely fictionalizing it. There’s an ethical question. Am I doing the right thing? Am I exploiting somebody’s life story to project themes that interest me? So I had to go and see the real Rick in jail.

(2) Story from the inside out

What did you learn from Rick?

[Demange] He’s just so funny, in the face of all he’s experienced, and has completely humility. It’s incredible. When I met him, he’s 28 years in prison. I was laughing a lot with him, but when we spoke about family, it was very moving.

The film represents his tone. He wasn’t overly polemical. He wasn’t soapboxing. We could tell the story from the inside out, not projecting an outsider’s gaze onto it. The way he talked about his life gave me a real way into it.

(3) “Didn’t know who Matthew was.”

[Demange] I told Rick I was looking at these amazing actors, non-actors. He said, can’t we get a star to do it? What about Justin Bieber? There’s this whole other version that Rick would’ve liked to have seen.

But when I told him I’d found this kid from Baltimore born into abject poverty, difficult circumstances, 15 years old, had never ever done a drama class, was failing at school, Rick was amazed: “If the one good thing that comes out of this is that my life somehow has changed the trajectory of his kid, that’s amazing.”

Richie doesn’t act, which in turn means Matthew has to meet him, because the kid can’t come up. So he was the barometer of truth, in a way, on the whole shoot, because he wouldn’t emote.

Matthew was street-cast himself in Dazed and Confused — he was pulled out of a bar. That’s how his career started. So it really tickled him 20 years later to have this possibility of working with a non-actor.

He took Richie under his wing. You know, he really nurtured him, looked after him, not patronizing in that respect, just giving him guidance and making him confident and comfortable. The kid didn’t even know who Matthew was.

Damien Chazelle on First Man

(1) Behind the iconic moments

The launch and landing are such iconic moments — were there clichés you wanted to avoid?

[Chazelle] What I found most interesting was that behind this iconic stuff were more complicated, messy truths. We tried to peel back all of the layers, to look at the whole event for what it really was — an event that came with a lot of costs, a lot of failures and setbacks, controversy and debate.

Mikhail Baryshnikov on The White Crow

(1) Passions and frustrations

[Baryshnikov] In Russia, the phrase “white crow” suggests something unusual, extraordinary, not like others, outsider. All these descriptions apply to Rudolf Nureyev. This film is a poetic exploration of why that’s true. Without sentimentality, mythology or pathos, the film weaves through the first 24 years of Nureyev’s life with grace and meticulous attention to detail.

There are so many parallels between Nureyev’s story and my own experience that it’s hard to watch this film dispassionately, but director Ralph Fiennes, writer David Hare and actor-dancer Oleg Ivenko have found the heartbeat of Nureyev himself. Of course, no one can fill Nureyev’s actual shoes, but Ivenko made me believe and care about the passions and frustrations of this singular man.

(2) Deep relevance

[Baryshnikov] The White Crow gives us not just a portrait of an artist in turmoil but a glimpse of how painful it is to leave family and home. Almost 60 years later, as many around the world seek a better life for themselves, Nureyev’s story is deeply and starltingly relevant.

Lukas Dhont on Girl

(1) Courage

[Dhont] It was for me something so courageous — at the age of 15, she decided for herself, for her own identity, and not caring about the reaction. She felt like a girl, and she wanted to be a girl. Her father also was completely with her. I contacted her, and we became good friends. She’s absolutely amazing, and she informed the film at a high level.

Ali Abbasi on Border

(1) Pushing the boundary

Border certainly doesn’t follow the rules.

[Abbasi] With film, I was never interested in story, but more in the boundary-pushing end of the spectrum. Mainstream and even non-mainstream cinema in many ways felt narrow and restricted compared to literature. What I am interested in is looking at society through the lens of a parallel universe, and genre filmmaking is the perfect vehicle for that.

(2) Layer of fantasy onto realism

[Abbasi] One thing I love about John’s writing is that he is at the same level as his audience. It’s not high art and you don’t need to be “literary” to appreciate it. At the same time it’s not just popular fiction; it has a special nerve, but one which is hidden. In Let the Right One In for instance — should we read the story as a twisted take on Swedish society or simply an innovative take on vampire mythos? It’s not a simple endeavor to add a layer of the fantastic onto realism, and John’s special quality is building that bridge between the real and the fantastic, always the hardest part.

(3) Animal instincts

What do you learn from your own films?

[Abbasi] Movies are unique because they are mirrors that can be a deceitfully close simulation of human life. I see humans as well developed animals and I’m interested in the situations when our animal instincts clash with society’s structure: when the thin layer of civilization we are living under starts to crack and protagonists are pushed into the extreme, not just because the extreme is interesting. Their answer interests me. The complexity of this situation is its beauty, not its sadness.

Pawel Pawlikowski on Cold War

(1) Homeland

What is the significance of homeland in the film? And do you feel nostalgic about the old days?

[Pawlikowski] I consider homeland to be a very broad term but not in the nationalistic kind of way that’s currently in fashion. I think of it as the sphere of emotional, inquisitive cultural space in which you grow up. In my case, I lived abroad most of my life but when I came back to Poland I just felt at home.

I don’t think nostalgia is the driving force in my films, but I definitely miss the simplicity of a world that’s not so crowded with images, information and noise.

(2) To love was an obstacle

Why is the era of post-war Europe such fertile ground for romances?

[Pawlikowski] There were a lot of obstacles, and to love was really another obstacle. For me, love stories these days are so distracted. We’re always on our phones and surrounded by so much noise; you can’t just see someone, fall in love and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. In the years of the film, things were more graphic and dramatic, and feelings were deeper.

Joel Edgerton on Boy Erased

(1) Start a conversation and let love find its way through

[Edgerton] That was the spirit we went into with: “Let’s not play heroes and villains.”

It’s a better place to start a conversation if we don’t demonize people. I don’t think anybody wanted to hurt anybody else. They think they’re helping somebody to a better place. That’s where the disconnect is, and the drama.

There’s this amazing group of women called the Mama Bears — mothers of children who are of the LGBTQ community, who have had an evolution from judgment to a place of acceptance. That’s the kind of space I wanted to occupy in this movie. If we can just show them one family and how they managed to evolve in their own way, then we can at least start a conversation.

Garrard’s story wans’t filled with villainous people just trying to torture him. They felt that they were helping him to a better place. Garrard said something wonderful in an interview recently: “Love is here; it just needs to find its way through.”

Melissa Mccarthy and Marielle Heller on Can You Ever Forgive Me?

(1) A love letter to New York

[Heller] This movie was a love letter to a New York that, if not totally lost, is slipping away. We wanted to conjure up the New York of those dusty bookstores where the windows haven’t been opened in years, that specific smell.

As we scouted bookstores we found ones where Lee really sold her letters, and places where she actually was caught, and places where she had really close relationships.

(2) Storytelling connects us

What do you hope audiences take from the experience of watching this film?

[Heller] This is a story about an interesting woman who could have been deemed too difficult or too oddball to be the lead of a movie. She’s real, complex woman, and the more of these we see, the better. If you passed Lee on the street, you might walk right by her and never think a thing about it. Or if she was your across-the-hall neighbor, you might think nothing is going on there. But she has the most fascinating life happening inside those four walls.

[Mccarthy] It shines a light on how incredibly important storytelling is and how it connects us to our humanity. It doesn’t matter what the story is. You don’t have to particularly like stories about writers. A well-told story taps into us all. In this day and age, with everyone buried in their phones, it is more important than ever to realize how storytelling reconnects us.

Hirokazu Kore-eda on Shoplifters

(1) Anger

The later scenes showing the family being split up are heartbreaking. We haven’t seen such anger at social injustice shown so nakedly in your recent films. Can you comment on this?

[Kore-eda] It’s true, maybe not since Nobody Knows. The core emotion when I was making this film might have been anger. Since Still Walking, I have dug desperately deeper and more narrowly into the motif of personal things and after finishing After the Storm, I put an end to this approach of not broadening my vision to society, of minimizing as much as possible. It could be said that I have gone back to where I started.

(2) Poetry

Can you tell us why you decided to work with cinematographer Kondo Ryuto and composer Hosono Haruomi?

[Kore-eda] I have always wanted to work with Mr. Kondo as I think he is one of the best cinematographers currently working in the Japanese movie industry. He has very much a director’s point of view, with a deep interpretation of story and character. So it was a good balance that allowed me to focus on directing the actors without having to worry about the cinematography. Before the shoot, I was thinking of this film as a kind of fable and sought ways to find a build poetry within reality. Even if the film was realistic, I wanted to describe the poetry of human beings and both the cinematography and music came close to my vision. As for the music, I have been a fan of Mr. Hosono’s film scores in his previous works so I have always looked for an opportunity to work with him. In this film, his music captures the fantasy side of the story.

Jason Reitman and Jay Carson on The Front Runner

(1) Authentic portrayals of campaigns

[Reitman] I was introduced to Matt’s book through a Radiolab piece and I immediately purchased it. I remember being on a plane and jotting down notes on what the movie could be. At one of our first meetings, we sat down and watched the Michael Ritchie film The Candidate together, which remains one of the most authentic portrayals of being in a campaign.

[Carson] It’s one of the very few movies that gets the feel of a campaign right. When Hollywood does politics, everyone in the room is talking about politics. In The Candidate, they’re fighting over who gets the steak sandwich. That’s how campaigns really feel.

(2) A different filmic time

[Reitman] Our approach was, “Let’s do this like we were making the movie in 1975.” Let’s use technology that was available in 1975. Let’s shoot on film. Let’s shoot in the style of early Michael Ritchie films. The style, the color palette, the details of the props and wardrobe. Even the wandering shooting style of picking up conversations as they passed camera. It’s a film where the audio tells where to look before your eyes catch up. All of it was designed for realism, so we could take the audience back to not only a different political time, but a different filmic time.

Karyn Kusama and Nicole Kidman on Destroyer

(1) Discomfort

[Kidman] In certain roles, I’m playing someone so physically, emotionally different than me that I have to transport into a different place, to step out of what feels like “performing”, which I’m not interested in. That’s what the limbo is. It’s very uncomfortable. It’s not pleasant to be in that space. I don’t enjoy it. But I’m also deeply committed to an artistic path, and that’s part of my artistic path. There can be joy in certain roles. Others are going to be uncomfortable.

We were telling a story about a character who has so much discomfort. We had to test our psyches by being there with her. We were bearing witness for these women like Erin Bell who are so thorny and have had to make so many compromises.

(2) Work with an artist

[Kidman] I liked you from the minute that I sat with you, years before. I love that — we said, “Maybe something will come up.”

I like when things come around. We’re both trying to push ourselves. It was exciting to me, to reconnect. I’ve seen you work and your tenacity and your love of what you do. Every day to make compromises, to lose shots, and to constantly have to say, “Onward, onward, onward” — that was so touching to me.

Part of the motivation for me to do a film is the desire to build a relationship with somebody very quickly, very intimately and deeply. And it was a gift to work with an artist at your level!

[Kusama] Stop! [laughs] The way you, as an artist dialed in to the character was really a truly beautiful thing to witness.

Daniel Kasman, Cristina Gallego, and Ciro Guerra on Birds of Passage

(1) Realism and myth

The film is structured as a Wayúu myth. What were other key references for your film?

[Guerra] We weren’t going after realism. We are interested in the way that people take reality and turn it into myth. We took inspiration from the Wayúu’s Jayechi songs for the structure of the film as way to organize the story and transmit it. The songs work as literature for them, with each song having a specific theme and story. The idea of filming one long Jayechi song felt right for the narrative. It’s the way the Wayúu people tell their stories. But we’re also interested in Western myths, which are essentially told through the codes of genre. The film is building a bridge between the Wayúu way of telling stories, but also understandable and accessible to a person who is not Wayúu.

(2) Complexity and humanity

How did you avoid the trap of idealizing Wayúu culture?

[Gallego] It’s an indigenous culture, but it’s the most capitalist culture that you could imagine. All things have value. You buy and sell honor; you can buy and sell a woman. When a girl becomes a woman, the better she’s hidden the higher a price will be paid for her.

[Guerra] Wayúu culture is tremendously complex. They have achieved balance through a very strict set of rules, which can be arbitrary and unfair. We didn’t want to shy away from that. We don’t think that the indigenous culture should be idealized — it has as much shade and brightness as any other culture.

And it’s a violent world in which the Wayúu people live. They have lived through smuggling and contraband for centuries, as a way of surviving this extremely hard landscape. It’s important that their portrayal always remain human in its complexity. If you deny the complexity of the indigenous experience, you’re denying them their humanity.

Greta Gerwig and Olivier Assayas on Non-Fiction

(1) Democratic value is losing in this digital age

[Gerwig] I was in heaven listening to your characters talking about these issues. They’re dealing with their actual lives as they unfold. You don’t get to figure it out and then do the right thing. You’re doing it and figuring it out all at the same time.

[Assayas] People are aware of how much the world is changing, and in profound and complex ways. But the politics don’t seem to adapt. No one seems to be able to handle this notion of democracy in the age of the internet.

What terrifies me is the way we are losing democratic values. The digital age is tearing apart the basic tools of democracy. With newspapers, people had a source of information that they trusted, and there was a discussion based on reality. Now you have discussion that’s based on some kind of absurd fantasy world. This isn’t cultural studies — it’s the very core of modern society. It’s happening so fast. We seem to have a difficulty dealing with it.

We are in the middle of major changes, and I think we’ve only seen half of it. I’m not sure where it’s heading. It’s important that movies be part of the conversation. That’s one of the reasons I made this film.

逝去光影里的歌唱

回想起2014年夏天《Ida》刚上映的时候,谁也不会想到这样一部采用复古画幅的黑白电影竟然在第二年登上了奥斯卡的最高领奖台。也通过这部作品,此前名气并不响的波兰导演帕夫利科夫斯基首次进入大众视野。如果《Ida》的成功多少有其格式和形式上“耳目一新”的因素,那么今年的新作《冷战》无疑是更上了一层台阶。

在大多数人心目中,帕氏的风格就是被《Ida》这一部电影所定义的。在黑白和画幅这些“表面文章”之外,影片真正出色的地方在于其视听和故事内核间的水乳交融,和文本相比,电影的观看体验往往更让人印象深刻。帕氏很重视视觉形式上的工整,但是这种艺术性的笔触却并不影响情节推动和人物刻画,电影里的环境描写和对“无意义”画面的运用,是观感体验丰富而有层次的基石。荣膺当年奥斯卡最佳外语片的同时,《Ida》还收获最佳摄影的提名,便是极大的肯定。影片里那些无声的“会说话”的镜头,精致而富含意境的构图,围绕着主题上对人性和欲望的探究,让人回味无穷。毫无疑问《Ida》是那一年的惊喜之一。

《冷战》则延续了上述的出色品质,而且更令人惊喜的是,在对这位东欧导演有了明确认知后再看一部格调颇为相似的黑白电影,我们却依然感受到新意。对于“作者性”较强的导演,坚持一贯的风格只算是“基本要求”,不过从固有的程式中实现超越,就是真正的水平了。《冷战》让我们深切感受到帕氏身上这样一份“化腐朽为神奇”的天赋,一段换作是位平庸导演很可能会拍得俗套的爱情故事,到了他手中就成了一件精致的艺术品。

和《Ida》相比,这部作品在形式上的新意至少有三点:色彩,剪辑,和对音乐的使用。色彩上,虽然同为黑白电影,但是《冷战》和《Ida》的质地是截然不同的,后者整体偏灰,强调对灰度层次的运用,人物情感的勾勒因而更显细腻。从这个角度上看,《冷战》则要“粗放”许多,电影的黑白色彩增强了不少对比度,给人以一种油画笔触方可带来的“遒劲”和力度。与《Ida》中着眼于人物精神状态的细微变化相比,《冷战》里传达的是(至少)形式上更加大气的“历史观”——个人的爱情轨迹也是时代的运行轨迹。黑白在《Ida》中蜿蜒地指引着个人精神上的自由,而在《冷战》里则更多是追溯历史的印迹。

拍摄《Ida》之后,帕夫利科夫斯基一跃成为当代影坛驾驭黑白画质的大师。新晋的威尼斯金狮《罗马》,导演阿方索·卡隆在制作时就曾与帕氏探讨对颜色的使用,更不用说《Ida》更是催生了“古稀老人”保罗·施拉德再拍一部电影的念头(去年的《第一归正会》)。不过,据导演本人坦承,《冷战》最初的想法是一部彩色片。电影的背景——波兰马佐夫舍(Mazowsze)省民间歌舞团是色彩斑斓的,除了激昂的乐章,导演对那段父辈历史的回忆也是建立在色彩之上的。但遗憾的是,对颜色质地极为敏感的导演始终没有找到最合适的彩色胶片媒介,最后便“退而求其次”地选择了黑白作为自己回忆的载体。

再谈剪辑。影片依然很短,只有90分钟,但是其中的信息量不算少,帕氏凌厉的剪辑让人感觉像看了一部两小时长的电影。通篇下来,《冷战》故事的节奏感和力度是让我印象极为深刻的。电影的时间跨度有十五年(1949-64),截成八个章节,通过明确的“时间-地点”标题将之分隔开。故事虽然绵长连续,但是影片从头至尾都毫无拖泥带水之感,因为每一段历史都以局部切片的方式得以呈现。片段细节之处舒缓的沉吟与“浸入”,与及时的“叫停”和“跳出”结合在一起,展现了导演对节奏的准确掌控。诚然,电影的主线是一段唯美的爱情,但帕氏通过在剪辑上的选择一举把个人情感升华为对时代的致敬——篇章式的设计,每一章中的局部聚焦,恰似历史的剪影和碎片,它们合在一起,精确表达了个人与时代之间那份从属和间离并存的关系。历史的浪潮把个人的命运击碎打乱,同时个人生命长河里的浮萍与浪花,又恰恰是历史中最为真实和无法抹杀的那部分。

第三是音乐的作用,歌舞和乐曲是这部电影的灵魂。作为中国观众,影片里的“文工团”想必并不陌生,而合唱曲目背后的政治意味和“历史局限性”也很容易理解。然而,《冷战》里对这些“时代脉搏”的描色,却体现了一份超脱于那个时代本身的永恒与浪漫气息。和上述“个人-时代”的微妙关系相似,帕夫利科夫斯基在《冷战》中所记录的也是音乐与历史之间的密切关联。谈及片中的音乐,导演自己说它们全部都来自童年的记忆,尽管小时候并不感冒,但是久而久之便印刻在自己的脑海里——就像曾经风靡一时的流行乐团ABBA,放在今天的标准之下也许并不出众,但却深深地植根在那一代人的心中。

凌厉的剪辑结合上溢满篇幅的对音乐的使用,使这部电影充满了曼妙的文学性。如果说好的文学作品是用作者笔下的情节本身作骨,读者在情节之外的想象作肉,那么《冷战》中音画的结合,视觉片段之间的留白被音乐和歌舞填满,正是其文学性和导演高超叙事技巧的体现。可以说,除了男女主角之外,影片中第三个重要的角色便是音乐,东欧民族风,法国香颂,爵士,巴赫,摇滚,虽然或多或少也包含了导演的个人趣味,但对这多种曲风的灵活使用,一方面体现了那一代人斑斓的外部世界,另一方面,乐章中流淌着的自由血液与苍白的现实作比,又反向映衬了歌声背后渴望圆满生活与精神充实的孤独灵魂。在这个故事中,音乐是爱情的“传声筒”,是政治语境下的工具,是谋生的一技之长,但最终它还是每个角色安放灵魂和坚持信仰的地方。

《冷战》是导演对逝去时代的致敬,对父亲和母亲爱情故事和流离生活的缅怀,片中主角的名字,维克托和祖拉,也是帕夫利科夫斯基爸爸妈妈的名字。电影的结尾打出“for mom and dad”的字样,一语道破了其中蕴含的深情。导演自己也说,父母那一辈人太不容易,他们结婚,离婚,再结婚,出国,回国,再出国,个人命运的周转,悄无声息地被掩盖在历史的尘埃中。然而,生活的艰辛不易并没有用一种现实主义的笔触描摹在《冷战》这部电影中——再大的悲剧也成了诗歌。里面的维克托和祖拉,彼此身上都笼罩着浓郁的理想主义色彩,他们在顺境时拥抱生活的幸福,在逆流前同样义无反顾勇往直前。导演把这段辗转和珍贵的爱情记录下来,并以此作为描绘家国与历史的切入点,诚意的背后,也饱含一份悲悯与慈祥。

谈到为什么回到祖国拍了《Ida》之后还要再拍一部更具历史感的电影,帕夫利科夫斯基则解释道,当前的这个世界有些“太过无聊”,似乎没有什么可以激起自己的灵感和热情。而父母的那个年代,没有手机和电脑屏幕,没有纷扰的信息,生活中反倒充满了动人的戏剧性和无比的真实。在第二章“Warsaw, 1951”中,一位听众在演出后发自内心地感慨,“It’s the most beautiful day of my life”,我想导演通过整部电影想要传达和营造的也是这样一句感叹。

是的,如今我们的生活早已结束了颠沛流离,但已经没有谁再像维克托和祖拉那样放声歌唱。

回到最初的地方

墨西哥导演阿方索·卡隆自2013年《地心引力》以来的首部作品《罗马》,在还未登上银幕之前就已备受关注,由于发行商Netflix的“不良出身”,这部大作早早就被戛纳拒之门外——但这毫不影响它在今年秋天卷土重来。几天前在威尼斯的首映,口碑极佳,而接下来,它还将一个不落地出现在Telluride,多伦多,纽约和伦敦,成为各大影展的“绝对主力”。在这一季奥斯卡的大幕还未完全拉开之际,有人便已把它当作最佳影片的有力竞逐者。要知道,这对于一部非英语作品来说是极大的肯定,上一部获得同样提名的还是六年前哈内克的法语作品《爱》。

有趣的是,《罗马》和《爱》之间的联系不仅仅在拍摄语言——这两部电影的名字其实就相差了一个字母(“Amor” vs. “Amour”),法语中的“爱”(Amour)在西班牙语里是“A-m-o-r”,而把这四个字母倒过来,就成了我们现在看到的片名:ROMA。

片如其名,这是一部倾注了卡隆满满爱意的作品。故事的主角叫克莱奥(Cleo),是墨西哥城中产人家里的一位女仆/保姆。故事蓝本是卡隆的童年经历,所以片中四个孩子中的一个,想必就是导演自己——那个时候他还不到十岁。电影聚焦在1970年代,以克莱奥一段苦涩的爱情经历,和女主人苏菲(Sofia)被丈夫抛弃为主轴,细腻而悠扬地刻画了这家人的生活遭遇。同时,导演也用短暂的篇幅交代了当时社会的动荡:墨西哥城街头的巷战,枪声,炮火,带我们进一步去感知那时代洪流中的渺小个体——尤其是女人和孩子,他们看似平静生活背后的不易和创伤。

然而,《罗马》并不简单是卡隆个人记忆的重现,整部电影的拍摄,和我们如今在银幕上看到的克莱奥,对导演来说都是一种“再创造”。保姆当年的生活细节,她体贴和无微不至背后的内心波澜和感情悸动,以及丧女的悲痛,想必都不是一个十岁孩子能够观察和体会得到的。影片中有一段完整描述了克莱奥在睡前是怎样一盏一盏关掉家里所有的灯,而这个极富诗意的360度长镜头,也自然不是童年卡隆的亲眼所见。与其说《罗马》是导演对过去的追溯,不如说是一种复原。他自己也说在准备过程中和克莱奥通了许多次电话,聊到了很多细节,为的就是尽可能去还原她当时的生活轨迹和精神状态,连她在厨房里忙活的时候听的是什么歌都打听清楚了。所以,对于卡隆来说,把抚养自己长大的保姆搬上银幕,不但是对自身过去的回望,更是对一个普通女人进行重新认知的过程。

其实早在十年前,卡隆就有了拍摄这部电影的想法,而迟迟没有动作的原因,据他讲是因为还没准备好——并不是技术上,而是情感上的:十年前的他显然还没有绝对把握完整表达这份感情,而拍好一个亲密的角色确实需要几分超脱和距离。波兰斯基直到七十岁才通过《钢琴家》揭开自己童年的伤疤,其中的感受想必也颇为相似。

因此,我们在《罗马》中看到的是一份从容悠缓和成熟大气。这段私人记忆和对过去的回首,既非声嘶力竭的追问,也非一厢情愿的怀恋,而是始终如一地建立在对克莱奥这个角色无微不至的呵护之中。这位抚养卡隆长大的女人,在这部电影里反倒成了被关照的对象。导演亲自掌镜,用细腻和如涓涓细流一般流淌的影像,为我们呈现了已知天命的他是如何定义自己的过去,又是如何珍视这份与母爱并无二致的情感。影片中的克莱奥尽管卑微渺小,毫不起眼,但却始终是被“捧在手心”的。生活的潮水中,这个小人物所经历的微弱幸福并没有被过度渲染,而那些痛苦和伤痛也没有被残忍地放大,电影的基调始终处在一种恰到好处的平衡之中。我们的克莱奥,欢快时如小麻雀一般穿过密集的车流,忐忑时靠着画框歪着的白墙看着男友裸身表演武术,无助时侧坐在女主人苏菲身边几近淌出泪水等着交代自己的不幸,勇敢时顶着比自己身躯还要高出一截的海浪奋勇向前,平静时则一言不发,坐在车子里望着窗外回想不久前刚经历的劫难。《罗马》中的故事并没有特别强烈的戏剧冲突,但我们依旧毫无保留地走进了克莱奥的内心世界。这位长相平平的女主人公,连笑起来都有几分腼腆,却被导演赋予了极闪耀的人性光芒。

从视听角度上看,这部电影的内在力量也是无比强大的。在如此强调叙事和故事性的今天,卡隆用他标志性的长镜头为我们还原了电影作为一门艺术形式最初的美丽。影片的开始就让人回味无穷,甚至让人联想起塔可夫斯基在《乡愁》里的开篇。放映字幕时,镜头一直聚焦在家宅内院的地板上——而且是很小的一个局部,不仔细看甚至不觉得它是地板。然后我们看到水流划过,覆盖了整个表面,肥皂沫涌起,地板被洗刷一净,这个过程中摄像机完全静止,克莱奥自然也没有出现在镜头里。字幕放完,镜头缓缓抬起,一户平和而美丽的墨西哥宅院逐渐映入眼帘,摄像机平行对向户院大门之后开始转动,缓缓经过了180度来到主屋面前。这个时候,人物出场,刚刷完地板克莱奥从画面一侧走进我们的视野,她进到屋里后拿了什么东西又走出来,镜头跟着她往回转了90度,随其登上房顶天台再次抬起,我们看到屋檐上的天空,和一旁晾满了白色衣裳的衣杆。这一个镜头有数分钟之久,中间没有出现过一句话,克莱奥也没有露出正脸,但结束时我们却对这间宅院的每一个角落,和克莱奥的身份与生活状态一目了然。

这样的例子在影片中还有许多,卡隆对将摄像机置于客厅中央,然后旋转360度来交代人物的运动到了近乎痴迷的程度。除了前面提到的“关灯”段落,在与苏菲座谈之前叫孩子回屋的那一幕,和在乡间旅馆里载歌载舞的那一幕也都是异曲同工。导演通过这样的镜头设计最大化地将我们的视角与克莱奥的生活状态对接,并通过刻意压制的节奏传达出一份内敛的力量,使我们进一步沉浸在这份真挚的情感里面。

当然《罗马》并不是一味地追求舒缓和隽永,卡隆对影片炉火纯青的把握还体现在最后半小时,也是剧情冲突相对激烈的半小时。反动武装的街头暴乱,持枪匪徒夺门而入,惊扰了正在商场里买婴儿床的克莱奥,也击碎了她对新生活的憧憬。紧接着,悲剧来临,去医院路上响彻天际的焦急的喇叭声,和在医院里紧张得让人喘不过气来的抢救,一举把影片推向第一个高潮。尤其是后者,从头到尾仅用两个长镜头就交代了全过程,并悄无声息地把情绪由紧张推到窒息再到无声的悲哀,一气呵成,让人赞叹不已。

正当我们以为电影将在这个悲剧之后缓缓作结的时候,卡隆通过海边抢救孩子那一场戏进一步“绷紧”了故事线,这也是短短半小时之内的第二个高潮。那个侧面跟随着克莱奥步入海面,进入海中,几近被海水淹没,又再怀抱着孩子从浪涛中艰难走出来的镜头只能用震撼来形容。这个看似简单的平移长镜头,却四两拨千斤一般在我们内心中激起了无数波澜。过程中我们只听得见克莱奥的呼喊声和汹涌的海浪声,正如《人类之子》结尾处的“末日长镜”一般,导演通过最基本的视听语言渲染极端情绪的能力再次展露无遗。

最后再聊一聊电影的主题。其实我并不觉得影片中交代的政治事件以及两位妇女(苏菲和克莱奥)面对男人的抛弃所作出的反应是卡隆所要讲这个故事的初衷,尤其是站在克莱奥的角度上看更非如此。打砸抢烧背后的国家命运对她来说距离实在是太远,妇女解放呢,也许于她而言就是个陌生的概念。归根结底,那个充满了悲欢和爱的宅院,那些她呵护有加和爱戴着她的孩子们,还有庭院之外对爱情的追逐,才是生活的全部。我想这部电影所谓的社会意义,并不在于表面上那些带有“社会属性”的情节,而是导演对这位平凡女人刻画时候的视角本身。生活中的克莱奥对于卡隆来说也许真的只是一位“母亲”式的人物,但在这部电影里,同时也通过这部电影,克莱奥成为了一个更加完整的人——她既脆弱惶恐,又勇敢坚强,不仅仅是一位“母亲”。我觉得这种视角比自由和解放还要来得珍贵。毕竟,对于女人来说,获得端正的目光和凝视才是最有诚意的尊重。