Hvad får man hvis, man krydser en klassisk western med en streng, kristen sekt i Centraleuropa? Instruktøren af ‘Good Favour’, Rebecca Daly, er kommet med et bud på årets PIX. Daly, der er født og opvokset i Irland og selv er præget af en katolsk opdragelse, har taget de religiøse spændinger op i en bevægende fortælling med flere danskere på rollelisten.
Daly spillefilmsdebuterede i 2011 med ’The Other Side Of Sleep’, der desuden blev shortlisted til Director’s Fortnight i Cannes og Discovery-sektionen i Toronto. I 2016 fulgte hendes anden spillefilm ’Mammal’, der blev udtaget i Berlinale Residency og havde premiere på Sundance Film Festival. Den aktuelle 'Good Favour' er, som Daly selv udtrykker det, en western-lignende ‘a-stranger-comes-to-town-fortælling om en ung, forslået mand, der vælter ud af skoven og lige i favnen på en afsondret kristen sekt. Jesus-lignelsen går ingen forbi i dramaet om frygten for det fremmede og grænsen for godhed. Filmens danske islæt tæller Lars Brygmann, Clara Rugaard, Alexandre Willaume og Baard Owe.
Vi tog en snak med Rebecca Daly om filmen, samt hvad og hvem der inspirerede hende, og hvorfor der egentlig er så mange danskere med i hendes film. Fang den sidste visning af filmen onsdag 10. oktober i Empire Bio kl. 22.00.
Interviewet er på engelsk:
CPH PIX: Why make a film about a christian sect? From where did you draw the inspiration to explore this theme?
Rebecca Daly: I’m from Ireland, where catholicism has been the dominant religion for a very long time. In recent times a lot of problems has emerged within the church, and people are becoming more aware of what happened in the church’s abuse of people in the past. I’m not a religious person, but I was raised as a catholic. My grandmother, who died as we were shooting the film, was a very religious person, and she understood that these abuses had happened. But she could sort of encompass the whole thing and accept the problems because her faith was strong and overruled the horrors of the past. I found that quite interesting how someone could have such a complex relationship with their faith. On one hand understanding the problems yet sticking to the church because of its greater good.
The society is very isolated and strictly controlled by the leader (Lars Brygmann). Where did the inspiration for such a radical society come from?
There are communities like this in Europe for people who don’t want to live in the wider world because they wish to reject modern temptations such as television or social media. We were inspired particular by the Hutterites in North America, who live of agriculture and then sell the products outside of the community. Actually the Hutterites would have more technology than our community did, but we were quite inspired by them and by their particular faith. However we adapted it to our needs as well and created our own concept of a community inspired by them.
It’s a very international film and the spoken language is english - yet few of the characters are natively English speakers. Can you tell me about this choice not just to cast English speakers?
The idea is that they’ve come to the community from different countries. What brought them together is their shared faith and their unwillingness to be in the wider world. We thought it made sense for their common language to be English, yet the story is set in Germany. We wanted it to be in Central Europe, because it create some political resonances in relation to Tom as a stranger entering such a closed community, as if he comes from outside of Europe - or even further away. In that way it is a classic stranger-comes-to-town story like a western. I used to say it’s a religious western.
What is the story behind the many Danes in the cast?
We wanted European actors from different countries but with good english skills. And there is definitely a perception of Danish actors as being particularly strong, which is why I specifically sought out Danish actors. We were able to find a Danish co-producer who could facilitate that. Actually often times what happens is that you enter co-production which results in a cast of actors from different countries. But it was the reversed incident in this case, because I wanted to work with Danish actors and therefor ended up in a co-production.
Your film contains quite a few symbols and biblical references, and they seems to be used in a very magical way where reality is challenged. What were the thoughts behind that?
I wanted to push the boundaries of reality. It’s possible that everything that happens is real, but it’s also possible that it’s some sort of hallucination, or even something miraculous. In order to walk that line and allow for all these possibilities to exist in those surreal moments, it had to be depicted very close to reality. I was interested in making the reality of those moments just a little bit off kilter and not create a situation where you think “wow, that’s a really strange moment”.
An example of one of these symbolic elements is also the legion of bees in the film. What is the idea behind them?
Well, I’m interested in bees and how they’re environmentally linked, and how the loss of bees signify environmental damage and to things deteriorating. So to me the bees signify that all is not well in the community. But in the bible there is a passage where God sends a plague of locusts, so I suppose it was a bit of reference to that as well.
What has it been like screening the film on festivals?
It has been a really good and interesting experience. Faith is a very personal thing, and when people watch the film they bring their very personal experiences to it. That’s the best part about being a filmmaker, when the audience talk to you about how they interact in a personal way with the film. I think the film leaves a lot of scope for people to insert themselves and understand it from their own perspective, which often leads to some interesting discussions.