Perry Ogden • Director
by Fabien Lemercier
04/09/2005 - Born in 1961 in England and growing up in London, the fashion photographer Perry Ogden has made a remarkable cinema debut with his first feature Pavee Lacken [trailer], an Irish production in competition at the Critics’ Week at 62nd Venice Mostra.
Why have you chosen to make a fiction with the majority of the cast non-professionals?
The film is a mix: a short script of twenty pages, some improvisation and cinéma-vérité. After a dozen days of filming, we reworked the screenplay with my co-writer to avoid caricatures. I chose non-professional actors to ensure authenticity, and the shooting lasted ten months. What attracted me about the subject matter of Irish Travellers, was the theme of discrimination, people growing up in a community apart from the rest of society.
Which cinematic influences inspired your film?
I would cite in particular Allan Clarke who made a series of films for TV, notably Elephant which was later adapted by Gus van Sant. He was a filmmaker ahead of his time and who made "walking films", journeys with the actors. Like him, I tried to leave behind the narrative aspects, even if it does make it more difficult to hold the public’s attention. So I used in Pavee Lacken simple narrative threads . But my influences are also Los Olvidados by Luis Bunuel, Streetwise by Martin Bell, the Dardenne brothers and the beginnings of neo-realism, of Pasolini by Accatone, Rossellini and by De Sica.
Did your photographic experience help you on Pavee Lacken ?
It was mainly helpful in getting the film financed. First of all, I made 10 minutes worth which I showed to raise funds. Which was such a failure that at one point I wondered if I was going to make the film at all. So I just started shooting –supposedly for four weeks but it ended up being ten months- with my own money and the help of various friends. But I continued doing my photographic work and I must say that a campaign for women’s lingerie greatly contributed to the budget.
What did you shoot the film on?
We shot on mini-DV and then transferred it to 35mm. In a sense that helped me to keep an intimacy, a proximity to the characters. But the limitations of mini-DV in terms of lack of definition of the image on long shots forced me to use medium and close shots since I didn’t want to lose definition. The DoP Anthony Dod Mantle (Dogville... ) who is an expert in mini-DV and a master of 35mm also helped me with his advice and knowledge of mini-DV.