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Talking About Oneself and Others

Polish filmmaker Marcin Koszalka talks about conversations on death, rejection of old age and insufficient answers that haunt his latest documentary film Let's Run Away from Her. The film was among this year's Silver Eye Award nominees and it is included in the current East Silver Market catalogue.

Talking About Oneself and Others
An Interview with Marcin Koszalka about conversations on death, rejection of senility and insufficient answers

Hana Rezková

 

In Let's Run Away From Her, you move in a deeply intimate level. Unlike in your previous films, it is intimacy directly linked to you and your sister this time. How did you perceive this shift and how were you able to work in this realm at all?

I've always been trying to talk about myself through other characters, but it always works in this way -  talking about oneself is always talking about others who have similar problems. I am trying to touch universal problems. For the first time on camera, I managed to speak with my sister in such an emotional way, and it was very important to both of us.

 

In the final scene, your sister asks you how you felt when you had to clean out your parents' flat. And you told her about how it would look on the big screen. The two poles don't seem to be in contradiction though. Instead, they blend into one another...

Even the absence of an answer is an answer, but everyone who can see it and who has had a certain amount of life experience can answer that question. By making this film, I am exploring how deep a film can go into my life.

 

Although you hardly ever appear in the shots, the film is almost entirely a dialogue. Your sister is asking questions and offers her take on things, you then show her images of death while making a film which she's partly looking forward to and partly raises objections to. How did you arrive at this method?

I did not want my film to be as literal as it would be if I were the one speaking. That's why my sister is speaking about me and that's already different, we don't know where the truth is because it's just a point of view.

 

Especially in the first section of the film, we see the recurring motif of dwelling on beauty, as something which can keep death away. Did you talk to your sister about how you would be using this motif?

Yes, from the very beginning, she is a person who madly rejects senility. That is why she was such an important character in the confrontation with what we want to suppress.

 

Did your sister get to see the footage only after you completed the film?

She saw the material in the middle of the shoot and just after the end.

 

There are several motifs in the film that directly or indirectly point to film as your tool. Your sister asked you whether film serves as a way to reach your parents. Looking back, how do you see this film, both at the time of the shoot and in retrospect?

That's my secret. I've never been able to give a definite answer to these questions. And here you're asking both at once.

 

The interview was first published in the 3rd issue of Industry Reel, our industry bi-daily for film professionals in Jihlava.