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Carlos Marques-Marcet • Director of The Days to Come

"The biggest challenge is to show what the characters are thinking"

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- Carlos Marques-Marcet presented his third film The Days to Come at the 47th Huesca International Film Festival, two weeks ahead of its release in Spanish cinemas

Carlos Marques-Marcet • Director of The Days to Come
(© Jorge Dueso/Festival Internacional de Cine de Huesca)

This is the third time that Cineuropa has talked to the Spanish filmmaker Carlos Marques-Marcet. On this particular occasion, we met at the 47th Huesca International Film Festival in the Aragonese city where the Catalan filmmaker is presenting The Days to Come [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlos Marques-Marcet
film profile
]
, the champion of the most recent Malaga Film Festival which is set to be released in Spanish cinemas on 28 June, distributed by Avalon. We chatted with the director about his movie.

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Cineuropa: There seems to be a great appreciation on the part of the audience for the intimacy shown in The Days to Come.
Carlos Marqués-Marcet: We were able to achieve this intimacy because we filmed without much in the way of equipment and I lived door-to-door with the main actors: all the rehearsals were held right there and we were quite relaxed because we felt at home. What made it easy was not rushing; doing as many takes as required and having all the time we needed, without having to constantly clock-watch. In this film, I’ve taken to the max something that we tried to work towards in my previous films: we edited the film while shooting it, keeping an eye on how it was all going, learning from our mistakes and smoothing off the rough edges - something we couldn’t do in Anchor and Hope, where we couldn’t repeat any takes. Even though that production was bigger, we had more shooting days for this film: a year and a half in total, and 40% of the filming took place after the main actors had had their daughter.

Among many other themes, the film suggests that even if we want to, we can’t always follow through on our plans, because life sometimes pushes us in unexpected directions...
It’s true. In the script, we planned for continuity in the life of the parents, but we realised that it was more interesting to suggest that life doesn’t always take you where you want to go. We also had the idea of making a film in which, on the one hand, there’s a new life growing and, on the other, there’s a couple in conflict and the challenges inherent to relationships. But life itself can overcome anything that human beings can conceive of.

While you were shooting, were there any other elements which emerged and which added to the story?
Yes, improvisations fed into the script; we made the most of what emerged in rehearsals as we wrote it the screenplay, most of which was written on the basis of the improvisations. And there’s something documentarian about it, because the scenes where you see the lead actress with an enormous stomach were filmed when she was actually pregnant in real life.

Pregnancies are a recurrent feature in all your films…
Precisely, because it’s an event which can have a seismic effect on our lives and change it radically: there nothing else like it in everyday life. In Ozu’s films, marriage changed lives and decisions characters made affected the rest of their lives. Nowadays, it’s whether you have children or not that changes your life: there’s a conflict there that interests me a great deal.

Will you continue this theme in your future films?
No, I think I’ve come full circle, though I would like to explore the relationship between parents and their children. For me, making films is a way of examining issues which interest me: they help me to ask what life is about, how we love one another and why we’re here. I’m interested in investigating the world around us and the difficulties we have in understanding others - an issue that effects relationships of all kinds. There’s something unique about film: when you’re shooting, you’re filming someone; you’re moving towards the other. I’m interested in what’s close to me: sometimes we have no idea how the other person is experiencing the events that we’re living through together.

Yesterday, during a Q&A with the public in Huesca, you spoke about how the camera can capture thought. In The Days to Come you seem to have succeeded at this, more so than in your previous films.
We’re getting better, little by little. Also, I’m interested in the link between emotionality and rationality, because the two are often confused. Conveying the thoughts of the other was the biggest challenge. With this film, there was a more or less liberating tendency to let things happen. It’s true that we were lucky, but you also need to be ready to capture these moments. You have to give yourself up to film and its unexpected offerings.

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