The all-around and curious Portuguese artist Salomé Lamas has made the sombre and hypnotic essay film, ‘Extinction’, shoot from the fluent borders of the former Soviet Union. Also Lamas earlier and most impressive film project has taken her all around the globe. Extinction is a hypnotic, black-and-white film that follows the young Kolya from Moldova, into the melancholic and shadowy zone between borders and the monuments of the past – and between reality and dream. An uncompromising and courageous film with an intensity like a piece of symphonic drone metal.
What triggered your inspiration to make the documentary?
There is a methodology, in the homiest sense of the word. I’m the hyperactive kind that can’t really tell apart life and work, it all runs in parallel. While I look for no particular destination, I tend to be attracted to subjects or territories of conflict, that are hard to depict, to judge, to handle, and ultimately to reach or that have simply been pushed out of the map. These are border territories and/or marginal characters.
These are projects that cross both geographic and moral limits, that confront the sociocultural margins and that reflect the limits of the practice in which they are inscribed. These encounters of mutual strangeness, generate multiple possibilities of occupation, duration, reaction and encounter with the other.
These are projects calling for on-call mobile crews; projects that are constructed in time and space with the investment of all the collaborators, they wouldn’t be successful in any other way.
How would you describe the work process when shooting the film? (Maybe mentioning the most interesting or exciting moments for you and your team?)
The writing of this film comes from a fact that is intolerable to deduce, which is that; what is most precious in the world should be left to chance. It is because it is intolerable that it should be contemplated. The imagination, which fills the void, is essentially a lie. Although having an author, this film should contain anonymity in its essence to be successful. It process shall be obscure, mysterious, and isolated.
The war in Ukraine is burning. In early 2015 a Portuguese producer allocates a symbolic fund that allows for a return to Transnistria, a pro-Russian frozen-conflict in Moldova. We apply for journalist visas with a fake “script”.
The visas take too long. Nevertheless we book the crew their plane tickets; I fit part of the available budget in my pockets; S.D carries the rest from Berlin. Two days before departing all the crew members are granted journalist accreditations – including the Moldovan nationals.
The shooting runs as expected for 20 days; the only “incident” with the KGB was recorded and is reported in Extinction. We were shooting next to the border with Ukraine. There is no consular protection in the territory. I’m unsure if I’ll ever get to meet our friends again.
Your film is one of 12 films nominated in CPH:DOXs main competition Dox:Award 2018, what are your thoughts and expectations about that?
An acquaintance asked me that right after the premiere and it made me realize that it didn’t even cross my mind that Extinction is running for an award. I rarely have expectations about awards. What I love about festivals is to be able to share the work with an audience.
Thu. 22/03, 14:30, Cinemateket, Tickets