Interview with Angeliki Papoulia
Giuria Concorso Cineasti del presente
Angeliki Papoulia, two years after A Blast's screening in Locarno (taking part in the Concorso internazionale), you are back as a member of the Concorso Cineasti del presente jury. How is it?
A different experience. Two years ago we spent three days in Locarno and our schedule was full, since the movie was presented as a World Premiere. I do not remember much, there were so many events to attend! This year, I have much more time to enjoy the Festival and the city of Locarno. A beautiful city, I have to say.
Do you think that every actor can be a good juror? Or is there a special attitude one should have?
I think that everyone can be a good or a bad juror, it depends on many factors: sense for aestetics and visual intelligence, for example. But it is not something about the work you are doing and definitely not something about liking or not liking a movie. It is the way you think about movies, which defines you.
What's your way to judge a movie?
Well, I do not like the verb "to judge". I am here to try to understand directors' vision of cinema. Their intentions, their way of thinking, if they are taking risks or not. I want to see how far a movie goes according to what it wanted to be, the director's way to express something on a very personal way not following a pattern or copying something else. This is also why I am so happy to watch the movies enlisted for the Concorso Cineasti del presente, since they are experimental and are showing very different point of views on cinema. All those directors are really proposing something and I am fascinated to discover their vision, their personality, the universe they are starting to show in their first movies.
Being a juror means also to discuss with the other members of the jury...
Yes, but until now we have mostly agreed. It is really nice talking with Dario Argento and my other colleagues. We discuss, but we are also connected, in some way.
How is important establishing a connection with other people, in the cinema industry?
To me it is fundamental. My first criterium in my career has always been choosing interesting people to work with. If I feel I am connecting with a director's way of thinking, if I am sharing his/her same vision, I also know we can accomplish our objectives together. Shooting a touching movie, discovering something... It has always to do with people.
Festival del film Locarno is screening The Lobster, your third collaboration with the director Yorgos Lanthimos.
I was glad to be asked to take part in his first English-speaking feature. Working several times with the same director permits you to witness the expansion of his vision, and The Lobster made it much bigger, that's for sure. I have to admit that on the set, me and Yorgos do not talk a lot but I have always tried my best to understand his intentions, analysing my character, her psychology, all the smallest details. He does not give any precise indications, however: he prefers seeing you act while you are searching for something. It is more about instinct, with him.
What do you remember of that set?
It was... strange! We all lived together in the same hotel in which the movie is set, in the middle of nowhere, and there was no place to go outside that building. Then we could have been shooting in a hallway, and the very next day we were walking and chatting in that same hallway during our spare time. It was kind of absurd, mixing fiction with real life so much.
If you were to give a piece of advice, only one, to a young actress, what would it be?
(She thinks about it) It is very personal, but I would tell her to work constantly on several levels and that everything is up to her. Her entire career, I mean. Improving or quitting does not really depend on external factors, but on internal ones. One has to work the way she wants to work, and does not have to stop.