David Victori • Director of Cross the Line
“I like to approach my own limits”
- The second film by David Victori, Cross the Line, has been presented in the official section of the Sitges Film Festival, just prior to its release in theatres
With one previous feature under his belt – The Pact [+see also:
interview: David Victori
film profile], starring Belén Rueda – there is clearly no need to once again bring up the fact that David Victori (Barcelona, 1982) was triumphant in a YouTube competition that made him a household name, and that’s why it doesn’t get another mention in our phone conversation. Instead, our talk revolves around his second feature, Cross the Line [+see also:
interview: David Victori
film profile], which stars Mario Casas and which took part – as a special screening – in the official section of the 53rd Sitges Film Festival.
Cineuropa: You’re in a taxi as we speak… Are you doing a lot of promotion for your new feature?
David Victori: Yes, a shedload. I’m visiting radio stations, TV stations – wherever’s necessary. We have to get people out of their houses, slap face masks on them and let them get their social lives back. Fear is not a good thing to listen to, and we have to bear in mind that the psychological consequences of the pandemic are also catastrophic. We have an adrenaline-fuelled experience ready in the cinemas, just waiting for them.
Cross the Line begins with a sequence shot, and there’s a lot of nimble camera work during its running time. Did you want it to be a sensory, organic film?
Exactly. I was clear from the start, when I was building up the story, that it had to be a movie that would feel like a transition to the first person: the central character embarks on a journey, and the audience accompanies him. If, as a viewer, you’ve been left behind at any point, the finale will not hold any interest for you, because the character asks you to involve yourself in his decision.
Death is a very common theme in your films.
It’s one of the most important elements that we, as human beings, revolve around, all the time. It’s that great unresolved mystery, the final question mark, and the thing that gives our lives meaning. Without that ending, our life’s journey would be devoid of meaning. Death disturbs me, worries me and stimulates me on the creative level, and it’s present in all of my works, including in the new ones that I’m involved in right now.
Mario Casas’ character is plunged into a living hell in Cross the Line, just like Belén Rueda’s character was in The Pact. Do you like to submerge them in darkness?
I’m fascinated by the idea of taking my characters to the very edge, especially because of my own personal involvement: I like to approach my own limits and engross myself in the depths of my structure as a human being. It’s when I reach those limits that I get to know myself better, and I discover more about myself. Superficiality holds little interest for me; I prefer significance and profundity, and you find that in the extreme situations that people find themselves in.
Your films tend to place the lead character in a tricky situation, and ask him or her questions. In the first movie, it was “how far would you go to save your daughter?” And in the second, it was “would you be capable of killing someone in a life-or-death situation?” Have you always had this journalistic, inquisitive nature?
That much is obvious [laughs]. To be honest, that’s what I’m most interested in: dilemmas that I don’t know how to solve. All of my projects are born of some kind of question mark that’s eating me up inside: sometimes I understand why, but sometimes I don’t. That really drives me forward. A creator spends many years with a story, and if I push the character on a journey that changes him or her, I think that it also has to change me, because if not, that alteration ends up being purely a mental act, and I think that as a creator, you have to throw yourself into a much more visceral, personal and human journey.
When you pose those questions, you also push the viewer to question their most deeply held values.
Exactly. I can ask myself those questions in the comfort of my own home or a cafe, but that’s a very flippant approximation of reality, because human beings who find themselves in an extreme situation – and we mustn’t forget that there’s this animal prowling inside of us, underneath all those socially constructed layers – have this survival instinct trying to break the surface. It’s important to remember that we are fragile, as we are living beings, and even more so today, when everything is becoming polarised to a dangerous degree, where everything is black or white, and we think that we’re always on the side of the good guys while all the others are the bad guys. That polarisation is dangerous on the social level and in terms of our coexistence, because it’s pushing us further apart, even though we may feel more closely linked to those who think like us. But at the same time, we feel more distant from those who don’t think like us.
(Translated from Spanish)
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