Julián Génisson: “I wanted to translate the language of the Internet into a film”

Julian Genisson. Photo: Walden Books

Julian Genisson He is an actor, director and writer. Member of the audiovisual collective abandoned dog trackco-directed Bruce Lee’s grave (2013). Also, he developed joint projects in That sensation (2016) or help the human eye (2017). His interpretive facet is shown in these titles and in Berserker (2015, Pablo Hernando), presented at the Atlantis Film Fest in 2016.

Now he drives solo Immotep (2022), a singular film that, after its recent passage through the Seville Festivalvisit now Rhizome in Madrid. Julian Genisson He reveals to us the keys to his new film, which abandons the usual and the predictable to immerse us in the structure of the Internet. A whole visual, sensory and surreal experience.

QUESTION: Immotep enjoys great uniqueness. The absence of words, the disconcerting music, the overexposed images stand out… We can draw many interpretations from the film. But, as a director, what do you really want to tell in Immotep? What’s your objective?

JULIAN GÉNISSON: The idea was to recreate the atmosphere of the stock image banks. What happens in these banks is that they are multifunctional images. The backgrounds are very abstract. This creates a very strange atmosphere, where people are having activities of business very specific, and at the same time, very vague, because they cannot be doing anything specific. I was interested in that sensation of people communicating and at the same time very isolated, very isolated, in a very abstract world, burned out with meaning.. In part, it was the intention with the overexposure. An image planted in a space, but which is not much more than an image, there is not much more context. Also, there was an economic need. It is a very small movie. You have to settle for the locations that already exist. It was a way of aestheticizing reality, hiding it. Like when video calls became fashionable, and people were ashamed of their house, and they blurred the background. The audio is similar. I wanted to make the movie as quickly as possible. He came from making movies with very dense dialogues, and he was perhaps a little tired of it. And also a more philosophical justification; stock images are silent. I was interested in the idea of ​​people who are characters, but first of all they are images. I found it an interesting challenge to see if I was able to tell the story and make it understandable only with images. The music I also had to be very present. One of the cinematographic references is the Italian B-movie cinema, where the dialogues are often not good, the stories are cool and the music is very powerful. So, I thought that if we could get what they do to be understood, and make it a sensory experience, with striking aesthetics, with beautiful music… We could have a good idea of ​​a movie, and hide in some way that it had been made with very little money .

Q: Regardless of the budget, the film seems conscious of being made that way to send a certain message. The lack of dialogue, for example, is very reminiscent of a video, of the content we find on the web. Have you wanted to make a paradox about the Internet?

JG: Yes, I really think the two types of justification are compatible. There are needs that you turn into a virtue, turning them into an aesthetic position. The idea was perhaps to recreate what it is like to be on the Internet in a movie, and not so much to parody the idea of ​​the videos. I wanted to translate the language of the Internet into a movie. Because in the end it’s about that, people who end up trapped on the Internet in some way. Or image banks or real estate websites, where it seems that there are more apartments on the web than in reality. It is a kind of virtualization of reality.

Q: In fact, the stock images can be interpreted as the lack of reality in photos that recreate the real thing, as well as the reference to the loss of privacy; how we expose ourselves on the Internet and how our image can end up anywhere on the Internet.

JG: Yes, totally. There is that factor of loss of privacy and not controlling your own image. I was interested in this reality, real and virtual, how these spaces of intimacy can be found. For example, the protagonist cannot travel to Italy because the prices are supernaturally high, and he finds a way around this difficulty by finding a little Italy in his city. In the end, people are going to see your image, and they don’t know what’s behind it. You may think that you are a stock model, but in the end there is a whole emotional and vital journey in the characters. And then, the image is a capture of a vital moment, which is much more and has more meaning than what is seen on a screen. I think it’s possible to find ways around image capture, and ways to pimp the system, even if they’re not necessarily synonymous with happiness.

Q: What difficulties did you encounter when making the film?

JG: I didn’t know if it would work. The movie was financed with money I won at bingo. There was some kind of monetary miracle that made it possible for me to make the movie without worrying too much. I wanted it to work and for people to enjoy it and connect with it. We’re talking a lot about low budget, but I have been very lucky to have the best editing possible, the best soundtrack possible, the best photography possible, the best art possible, with the pictures and the logos… He made them beatrice wolf. The actors: it is a very deluxe casting. I can not complain. If the movie has any narrative problems, it’s my fault. I think that any problem that there might be in telling the story in this way, without words, could be solved in the editing with Sergio Jimenezwho spent a lot of time on it. We spent months finding the way, the order, how the stories were told… And I think we reached a solution that is understandable, that is sensory. I hope that no one stays with that low budget thing, although I always insist on it, because we have to talk about these material things.

Still from ‘Inmotep’ (2022). Photo: Seville Film Festival

Q: Immotep It has already been presented at several festivals, recently at the Seville Festival. Are you getting the reception you expected?

JG: I didn’t expect anything. I was very excited that they will select us in Seville, because it is a festival that I am also very fond of. I didn’t know what to expect. I had shown it to other people, but you can’t trust what your friends or people on the team tell you. So, I was sure that what we had done had a value, but I didn’t know how the public would react once the movie was released from my hard drive and out into the world. One thing that made me very excited, which seems very stupid, is that people went to the movies with popcorn and I thought: “Like the real movies!” We have had very good reviews, and some not so good. But overall, I think people have gotten it, and I’m very happy. I don’t know how it’s going to go now Madridin RhizomeAnd how will it go after? We’ll see what the rest of the route is. But I believe that within that finish that may seem experimental or strange, It’s actually a movie that talks about very universal experiences: from the difficulty of finding a flat, to finding happiness when you can’t travel… Even things like when you walk through a door and forget what you were doing. Perhaps there is a kind of strange format, but in the service of very universal, very normal experiences. I hope people can connect.

Q: What do you have in common? Immotep with your previous projects? Or on the contrary, what is different?

JG: Actually, in other movies I’ve done, or that I’ve done with more people, maybe I never got to do anything so experimental. It is true that I have a lot of videos on the internet, which are not exactly short, things that may seem more experimental, but they are just things that I find funny. In fact, I use a lot of stock images, Loquendo’s voice, found materials, rearranged things on the Internet… But the movies I’ve made are normal things. Although then there would be strange arguments or absurd humor, but I think this is a more experimental bet. I think it was necessary if you were going to talk about the Internet. The Internet cannot be treated like a landscape or a car race; You have to find a way for the Internet to enter the movie and the movie to also enter the Internet. Like the stock image look, or narration without text, or a lot of text, or voice-over narration, like YouTube tutorials. It is not experimenting for the sake of experimenting, but it is making a movie on the Internet but in a movie theater. That was the intention.

Q: In this sense, do you think you are creating your own brand as a filmmaker?

JG: Can be. Every thing I do I try to do it from scratch, I don’t try to be faithful to any style. What I do comes out this way, but there is not a very mature intention, it is what I discover as I go along, also with the team. In ImmotepFor example, the role of Paul Hernando, the director of photography, we talked a lot with him about how to define this aesthetic. And I suppose there is a style, but the next movie I make is not going to have a burned image, and it’s going to be spoken. In fact, it is what is announced at the end of Immotep, a story of hypnosis. This was a parenthesis. I don’t have a project. I’m going to try things, and the form is usually what the story forces me to do.

Q: What can you tell us about that future project, or about other projects you have in mind?

JG: I wrote this movie during my residency at the film academy, last year. and he is a detective thriller what does it have to do with hypnosiswhich takes place in a kind of retro-futuristic universe, more narratively conventional. It has small eccentricities, but it is a very normal movie. I don’t know how it’s going to be, but the idea is to teach mental images: when you remember a face that isn’t photorealistic… It’s the next movie I’d like to make. Now I’m going to collaborate with Ion de SousaWhat actorwho is making a movie in berlinthat it’s called mammulaand I am also collaborating with the script. Also with Lorraine Churcheswe have a project that is a slasher rural over killer landscapes. They are the most immediate things. I have more stuff, but you never know if you’re going to be able to do it. I have ideas that I really like and I don’t know whether to start writing them. One project I have is to write a book about all the movie ideas I have but won’t be able to do… Or tell them live, in show format.

Julián Génisson: “I wanted to translate the language of the Internet into a film” – 35 Millimetros