Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

January 17, 2012

Interview: Adrian Garcia Bogliano

Jeff Dolniak got a chance to interview the talented director of 36 Steps, Rooms for Tourists and the recently released thriller from Dark Sky FilmsCold Sweat. Enjoy!

Jeff Dolniak: How are horror films received by audiences in Argentina? Are they popular?

Adrian Bogliano: They are very popular. However and I'm not sure why the producers didn't want to make this type of films before. During the golden age of Argentinean cinema between the 40's and 1960 there was a bunch of horror titles, most of them pretty good, but suddenly the production of horror films stopped almost completely. In the 90's a bunch of ultra independent filmmakers started to make microbudget horror films and it took around fifteen years for that generation of filmmakers to find a place in the industry. Cold Sweat became the first major horror film to be release widely in theatres in 50 years. And now things looks really different not only for horror but for genres like sci fi and suspense that didn't have a place in the mainstream production in Argentina before.

Find Adrian Garcia Bogliano on

JD: Did you have any specific influences that helped create the characters and storyline for Cold Sweat?

AB: I think the main influence was William Friedkin's Sorcerer, to me probably the greatest suspense film I've ever seen. I thought that it would be amazing to make a film like that but changing the scale and instead of having the characters to go through a long distance it would be cool to have them going through a house, from the basement to the roof and still make it look like quite a journey. The other thing I wanted to use was extreme slow motion for the ending to create some sort of abstract art from the disintegration of a body. And I started thinking in the ending of Zabriskie Point. The other important thing is that my brother really wanted to make a film with a leading male. He told me that it was enough of making films with a bunch of girls, like my first four films and that it was time to make a film with a guy as main character, so it was quite a challenge for me to think a story from the point of view of a male.

JD: The disturbing documentary footage that you used for Cold Sweat's opening sets the story up very effectively. Was that what you initially intended?

AB: Yes. The military dictatorship a is big trauma for the Argentinean society and for me too because of the history of my own family. I wanted to recreate the look of one of the most powerful documentaries made in Argentina back in the sixties La hora de los hornos (The hour of the furnaces) and to start being very clear about what we were talking about and also adding the myth about the dynamite cases. The subject of the recent history was never used before for a kind of film like this and I thought it was important because as a crucial part of our history it shouldn't be just used in documentaries or dramas, it must be used in all kinds of stories.

JD: I really thought it was clever to use dynamite and nitroglycerin as the main tools for murder. How did you come to the conclusion that it might be interesting having the villains operate with these devices?

AB: I was thinking on Sorcerer of course but I thought that dynamite sticks that is mostly what we see on that film are a very clear and graphic representation of danger. It's almost cartoonish. I wanted to make a horror film where the bud guys don't use axes or knives but just a drop of a liquid. I wanted to make this ridicule and absurd and that is why I choose to make this first horror sequence where the girl is terrified and you only see this single drop in the table and I wanted the people to think "What kind of threat is that?". I think that's the best thing of Final Destination, where you are afraid of every single thing they show you because you know any object can be deadly. Is like taking to an absurd level the premise of Kuleshov.

JD: Cold Sweat is filmed primarily in a single location; did you have any difficulties with filming?

AB: The main difficulty was the time. We only had three weeks to shoot the film and I think we could have use a week more to put the film together the way I wanted to. For instance we had only one day to shoot the climax and we did it with the Phantom camera which uses a lot of lightning and takes some time between takes. So we had to put every single light we had at the same time lightning the frame because with every lamp together we had just enough to shoot. I wanted the sequence to run twice as long as it did but we simply didn't have more shots, that's all we could shoot in one day. The other thing was that my brother was directing a second unit but the second unit only had one camera. There wasn't another sound equipment or anything like that so the guys that recorded the sound were running from one place of the house to the other. And sometimes we just had to record some of the shots of one of the units silent...

JD: What's it like working with your brother on projects?

AB: We've been working together for almost twenty years now. I learned a lot from him and we have a great deal of respect for each other's opinion and even when we don't agree we usually understand the other's point. When he's working with me I feel less pressure.

JD: Omar Musa was as sinister a villain that I've seen in a long time. What's it like working with him and how was casting for the other roles?

AB: Omar is an amazing actor. I worked with him in one of my previous films, 36 Pasos and in that film, where he played a comedy role I just had to say action and the guy just had to give one step into the frame and all the crew was laughing. He's simply amazing. I wasn't sure to call him at the beginning because we wanted an old men with a fragile aspect and he's much younger than he looks in the film and is in very good physical condition. But eventually I realized he was the one. He, the other old man and the neighbours are all from La Plata, the city where we shot the film and were I lived almost all my life. I shot most of my films there and I thought it was cool to have cast from the city and not bringing all the "professional actors" from Buenos Aires.

For the three leading actors we thought a lot and we decided to use actors that come from very different schools. Facundo Espinosa the leading guy is a very well TV actor and he's really well trained for the type of fast work that we did here; Marina Glezer who plays Ali is an amazing actress that comes mostly from the independent cinema scene and Camila Velasco who plays Jacquie never acted before this film, she is very well known for being a Playmate but she was completely enthusiastic and gave 110% of her energy, so it was a nice combination.

JD: In the audio commentary for Cold Sweat, you site Brian Depalma and Dario Argento as two of your favorite directors, what are your favorite films from those two genre legends?

AB: It's tough to me to say just one of each of them because I feel that unlike most of the directors that made a couple of classics in the genre, these guys have impressive careers. What I love of them is that they are like the greatest rock bands of the 60s and 70s, they were doing this amazing films non stop, one each year or each two years. Right now -and you see the same in rock bands- good directors take between two and four years to make a movie and generally none of those are Carrie or Suspiria. I think that there is a problem now with artists that don't want to take risks, they are too worried making "career wise moves" and they take forever between one film and the next. There is some raw and brutal energy in the films of De Palma and Argento during the 70s and 80s that I love. If I had to choose one of each today I would say Obsession and Opera.

JD: Can you tell us a little about your current project Here Comes the Devil?

AB: I'm really excited about this. It's a film that I will direct in the next few months in Tijuana about two kids that disappear in the hills in the outskirts of the city and when they return something has changed them. It's going to be  a collaboration with the guys of MPI. They have produced a bunch of amazing films, so this is really exciting.

JD: Aside from Here Comes the Devil, do you have any other projects on the horizon?

AB: Yes, there are two projects that hopefully will happen really soon. One is a remake for a 1960's Mexican film called Drifter in the Rain, and I can't say much about the other but it will be shot in English in the U.S.

Cinema Head Cheese would like to thank Adrian Garcia Bogliano for taking the time to answer our questions. Don't miss Cold Sweat!

No comments:

Post a Comment