Interview with Lluís Quílez Director Of Graffiti
ISM: Was the slow setting of the visual pace a deliberate attempt to convey the loneliness of the character? What were the other options that you explored to achieve the sense of abandonment?
LQ: I think the pace of the story follows the main character’s feelings. It was necessary to enter into his world and experience his routine in order to invite the viewer to feel the great changes he was going to experience throughout the story. Most of the viewers can’t believe the film lasts 30´, as they are moved by the story and they feel it has lasted much less than that. The audience response is very positive and the universality of the story makes it interesting for all ages.
ISM: To orchestrate chemistry between two individuals is difficult enough, how did you manage to do it on screen with almost no scenes involving the lead characters together?
LQ: Oriol Pla is full of talent and is an incredible actor, he was perfect for the role. I think he’s one of those actors who are capable of anything. He has no limits and that is very attractive for a director, we like to work with actors who are not afraid to try things and who don’t mind leaving their comfort zone aside. Both he and I knew that one of the great challenges was to create a love story where only one of the characters appears and all his reactions depend on the graffiti he finds on the wall along the story.
Oriol represents Edgar, the main character, in a very special way, he travels from tenderness to madness and sustains the whole short film on his own. We talked about what the years before and after the “incident” would have been like for Edgar. I worked previously on the “back-story” and on the psychology of the character with Oriol, but I also gave him space to create and surprise me on the set. In this case Oriol had to do an individual job to connect with the idea of loneliness and senselessness that impregnated Edgar’s life, so I proposed a game in which he had to be held isolated. It was our job to favor the environment for the actor to create the character and then capture what he has to give.
ISM: Your ingenuity is translated in the minimalistic storytelling you adopted for Graffiti despite its ambience being sufficient enough to convey the narrative. What prompted you to choose this style in narration? Does silence appeal to you more than dialogues?
LQ: I love minimalist cinema, and that it manages to create an exciting and meaningful story with very few elements. In this case everything lead me to create a story full of silence and with very little dialogue. I knew it was risky but if I could make it work, that way, I would have the viewer create a strong bond with the main character and create a close and intense feeling of empathy towards him.
ISM: Graffiti shows love as a primal need, perhaps even more important than all the other we presume we need to sustain ourselves on. Do you believe that in today’s time and age with globalization & digitalization, love exists as we know it? In the fragile world of broken marriages, relationships & childhood, love is valued above all?
LQ: Somehow in all my short films I represent love in its different ways, from infatuation to heartbreak. In the case of GRAFFITI I wanted to talk about the Platonic or idealized love for someone whom you can not see. I believe that love is the invisible strength that unites human beings and therefore it is one of the subjects that interests me the most to deal with in cinema, although not necessarily from a romantic point of view. When I create a story, the first intention is not for it to be a love story, but it is something so great that it inevitably appears strongly from beneath everything.
ISM: You’ve donned the hat of many! Assistant director, director, writer and perhaps more… Which one of these niches satisfies you the most, creatively?
LQ: I consider myself a director and scriptwriter. Although I was hired to direct a feature film and that shows that I can direct material non-written by me, I feel more comfortable telling my own stories. In Graffiti I also produced for the first time in my life and both the experience and the result have been incredible, in fact, I am also writing-directing-producing my next short film.