APRIL 10 - APRIL 13, 2024

Interview | The Corpse

  • News
  • January 31 2024
  • 8 min read
Movie Name: The CORPSE
Director Name: Juliana Lucia Rodriguez

 

 

Hello Juliana! Welcome to SIFF!

 

1. The Corpse is quite a thought-provoking film. How did this kind of storyline interest you?

Thank you SIFF magazine for inviting me here! “The Corpse” started very spontaneously and is my first fiction short film in fifteen years. I’ve always loved filming, but there was a time when reality was too much and I had to switch to another art project, Revolver Dolls, digital art photography that combined Barbie dolls and film. As you can imagine, dealing with a miniature set and no real actors is much easier and less expensive, but probably not as fun. So it was one Saturday afternoon sitting in my living room looking out the window and thinking about what I’ve done in these fifteen years, that kind of moment of taking stock of life when I began to remember people who were no longer here with me and among them I remembered to this particular person and I found him on Facebook and I was like oh, what happened to him? He looked like a corpse. And I wonder what happened. Such a great man full of life and ambition, even the things he wrote were so cynical and ugly that I could no longer recognize him. This person I once care about it no longer exists; only his corpse remained. So that was the inspiration behind The Corpse. James is the real Corpse in this story, not Amador, the short film for me is a metaphor about love and the bodies it leaves along the way, not all members of a relationship always come to an end and survive, there are usually casualties, big ones. That afternoon, when I decided to try writing a script again after all those years, I thought it would be
nice to include elements from my previous films, and the provocative element at the end is a nod to my short film The Gift (2006) the conversation with Laura in the phone in the cafeteria eludes to another of my shorts Mistrustful Date (2004), and so goes on. But I love the elements of surprise and provocation in a film in general and going to see a film over and over again to discover new things. I have always been fascinated by these types of movies, which at a glance may seem less original and simpler than others but in the end they are more effective and remain with people.

2.Why do you think James wants to leave this violent life?

I think at some point in his life he realized the meaninglessness of his actions, who knows why he chose that path in life to begin with, but he realized, for better or worse, that he chose wrong and wants out. I’ve been writing a sequel to The Corpse starring Laura and James; brother character and I even thought about having James in some
flashbacks and imaginary future scenes with Laura where maybe we can dig deeper and get some of these answers to these questions. Which (spoiler alert) will be left unanswered at least in this first part.

 

3.Did his meeting with Laura fuel his desire to leave this life?

I think he thought he loved her but to me she was just something to hold on to, it was Laura he came across at that moment but it could be a lost puppy or a flowering cactus in the desert. It was just an excuse, a purpose. I think he was clear about what was coming and the fact of impossibility seduced him more. The conversation between the two police officers about love towards impossibility not only applies to Laura, but also to James.

4.Do you think love can be a driving force to change a criminal?

In the movies for sure hahahaha. Well, I think love can change anyone except a psychopath. There is a rainbow of criminals; I think it is possible depending on the level of crime. If we’re talking about taking someone’s life or abusing another being, well, definitely not for those types of people. I don’t really think it’s possible, but I want to believe in people. It was not my intention to romanticize a criminal, on the contrary, I wanted to satirize this recurring aspect in many police films that depict a murderous genre. What can really be so attractive about a murderer? The closer you look, the less attractive it is.

 

5.James is a musician and can play the guitar pretty well. Does that mean there is a sensitive side to his character?

James plays the guitar and in that particular scene Sebastiano Della Bianchina, the music composer of The Corpse did an incredible orchestration on that part, it really took me by surprise. I remember as soon as I gave him the render to work on the score, he told me “I have an idea for the last part when he plays the guitar” and I just loved it. I think he contributes to this side of the story within the story, like watching a movie within a movie. The
orchestration accompanies James playing but who plays it? The music composer of the movie you are watching. Does James really have a sensitive side? Maybe, or maybe it’s the last trace of humanity he has left.

6.Is redemption possible for people like James?

Yes, I think it’s possible, we all come from the same womb, but my real search was the concept of redemption in this kind of killer prototype in cinema. In fact, two days ago I watched David Fincher’s The Killer and I thought, this is beyond absurd and it’s not even trying to be, that’s the sad part. I think we can imagine and speculate about this type of character prototype in cinema, but I wonder how much damage films like these did and do in our culture. I can’t believe we’re talking about the same guy who created & “Seven”; There you have two films that deal with two different types of murderers but with a completely different approach and intention.

 

7.Was James a psychopath?

He probably was, but I think the movie plays with creating this doubt in the viewer about how he may or may not be a psychopath after all; maybe he was a very unlucky guy. I liked the idea of the character trying to abandon the role he had been assigned or even questioning his own nature.

 

8.Why did James think that he was not free?

Because he worked for someone, he was just a hitman but I guess what he is really thinking beyond all that is that maybe neither he nor any of us is really free; maybe we are all subject to a system that conditions our entire life.

9.Why does James carry the picture in his wallet and keep on looking at it? What significance does that hold?

The photo on the wallet is a nod to my short film “Sleeping on the Corner”; (2008) and for me it symbolizes the character’s longing for the life marked and they got married and lived happily ever after; In his case I would almost say a utopia given the type of profession he chose and that did not allow him to project himself in the long term.

 

10.Why does James think he can’t escape from this life? What makes him think that there is no hope for people like him?

All the bodies behind him, all the blood spilled, he reached a point on the cliff where he didn’t want to jump but if he tried to move forward he was also going to fall and he knew it, because his boss would probably kill him, etc. That’s the job of a hitman, or at least that’s what movies and television news taught us, you go in, the pay is very good but
you can never leave. I have never met a hitman in real life and I hope I never do. I highly doubt they are as nice as James.

11.Do you think James liked Laura? Or was he just looking for a release from his violent life?

I think he thought he loved her but to me she was just something to hold on to. It was just an excuse, a need to force him to something, a purpose. I think he was clear about what was coming and the fact of impossibility seduced him more. The conversation between the two police officers about love towards impossibility not only applies to Laura, but also to James.

 

12.Finally, did you enjoy working with SIFF?

I really enjoyed the festival experience with SIFF, having the opportunity to premiere “The Corpse”; in Sweden was definitely one of the highlights of this year and my return to film, so I will be forever grateful and hope to see you soon with my next project, a fiction feature film called “Eternal Son”, I started filming this film in 2008 and a month ago I finished filming the last scenes and I am currently editing it so I hope we can release it soon. Thanks again!

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