Bruno Decc screened his film Carpe Aeternitatem at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in 2015 and returned in 2016 with his new work Two Signs’ Den: Epilogue, which won Best Experimental. The film portrays a succession of moods and feelings which when layered create the narrative, encouraging the viewer to piece together what they are seeing to interpret the significance. Decc explains his experimental approach to creating cinematic experiences.
ASFF: Two Signs’ Den: Epilogue explores alternate realities. What is the concept behind this film?
BD: The film introduces, in an implicit and mostly visual manner, an alternate version of history where global cultural dominance has been established by an African descendant ethnic group.
What would the world look and be like if the marginalised and ostracised were people of European ascent? How would they deal with the imposition of another beauty standard, scientific method and vision of history?
This inversion is meant to raise awareness to the same process that occurs today, in which the result is a systematic and arbitrary appliance of different types of violence to specific members of society. It also hopes to shatter any notions of ethical historicism – the idea that civilisations have their fates pre-determined by inner traits. The dominant and dominated are much more determined by chance…
ASFF: Your film was screened in the Experimental film category at ASFF. How would you describe the genre of experimental and what is it you enjoy most about working in this genre?
BD: The experimental genre has always been interesting to me due to the amount of freedom involved. It’s permitted by the audience’s expectations to pretty much subvert any part of the traditional cinematic structure, and I like to use that possibility to break away from goal-oriented storytelling and excessive symbolic intelligibility.
That’s the way Two Signs’ Den: Epilogue is experimental: by not presenting itself clearly and being more like a puzzle; a succession of moods and feelings where the narrative is developed with multiple layers of “significance based on complexity”. It’s the presentation of a deep, veiled reality that emulates the confusion of life and allows the viewer to make his own interpretations while feeling lost. It’s by avoiding an obvious, self-explanatory portrayal of situations that the audience can build their own uncertain meanings for the work and exercise piecing the narrative together.
ASFF: When creating a film, what processes do you go through when making decisions regarding location and casting?
BD: These decisions consume a great amount of time and attention: a location must also be a character in the story and I am very careful while choosing them. I try never to use studios but rather take advantage of the different and unexpected kinds of texture available out there – the more of it a location brings, the more the diegesis will feel closer to real. This element can transform the film into a believable experience, no matter how fantastic what is being portrayed is real.
Casting demands precision and adaptation: each character needs a certain cinematic quality; a deep presence that can somehow fill the screen with further complexity. I allow the performers to bring their potentialities into the project, often rewriting the part to fit their strengths. This way I can alleviate the reversal process, help create a deeper, more fun connection with the part, and consequently raise the quality of acting.
ASFF: 2016 wasn’t your first time screening at ASFF. What have you enjoyed most about the festival over the last two years?
BD: Yes, it’s my second time at ASFF. Last year I was also fortunate enough to have a film screened, Carpe Aeternitatem (which will be made available at Filme Filmes’ Vimeo and YouTube channel by the end of this year).
The most remarkable thing about the festival is the sheer quality of the programming: great films! It was a very enriching viewing experience both times I attended. Also, the networking sessions and parties were great for me as a filmmaker: they helped me get close to interesting professionals, opportunities and broadened my ambitions. Due to these amazing connections made, the organisation, overall kindness and attentiveness of the festival’s staff, I now perceive York as quite a magical place. I want to return next year as a spectator to see even more of it!
To watch the trailer for Two Signs’ Den: Epilogue, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTMQrrk69xw
ASFF 2017 is now open for entries: www.asff.co.uk/submit
1. Bruno Decc, Two Signs’ Den: Epilogue.(Filme Filmes), Brazil, 2016.