Three Films That Influenced: Oliver Laxe's "Fire Will Come"
Pickpocket (Robert Bresson, 1959)
I like how Robert Bresson restrains emotions until the last sequence of the film. As spectators we want the pickpocket and the girl, his neighbor, to be together. But Bresson is denying the needs of the spectator throughout; nihilism is strong in the film. But this previous contention reverberates strongly at the end. The only moment where they touch each other is in the last shot, where they caress each other between the prison bars like two cats. That shot broke me the first time I watched the film. For Fire Will Come I wanted to work in similar manner to how Bresson did in all his films. I wanted Fire Will Come to be a dry melodrama with contained tears. In terms of writing, I wanted to display a stripped-down psychology, reduced to the bone: this emotional interpretation of the characters agrees with the austerity of the sets. They are contained emotions, which end up exploding with fire.
The Naked Island (Kaneto Shindō, 1960)
The human being is small, subjected to an immense, unpredictable, and ungovernable nature. In Fire Will Come, the human does not confront nature nor challenge it. He meets her. He accepts his role, like Amador, Benedicta, and their animals accept theirs. They are sovereign and free in their submission to the nature. I discovered something similar in Naked Island, a film from Kaneto Shindo about a family who lives on an island without water.
Ancares, on the edge of Europe, is ambivalent, full of contrasts: sweet and rough, rainy and bright. It is mostly mysterious. I wanted to capture its extreme beauty, an intense and unpredictable beauty that knows no measure.
Profils paysans (Raymond Depardon, 2001-2008)
This trilogy really touches me. I strongly identified with all the peasants portrayed in that film from Raymond Depardon. I like the sobriety, and also the fact that we feel that Depardon really knows them. We feel that, in a way, he belongs to this place. He is not idealizing the rural; his point of view is not the typically paternalistic, urbanite approach to the countryside. In each of my films, it is also the encounter with real people that gives me the desire to film and for my characters to be embodied. Shakib in You Are All Captains and in Mimosas. And now, Amador in Fire Will Come. I think there is a poignant truth in Amador’s melancholy gaze and slumped shoulders. He is beautiful, and at the same time we feel he’s suffering. Our modern world does not accept this fragility. Amador, who plays Amador himself, has been a forester. Today he takes care of sick animals in the forest. In Spanish, Amador means “the one who loves.” I have kept his real name for my character, a shy bachelor from the mountains.
Born in 1982, Oliver Laxe grew up between France, Spain and Morocco. His first two films screened at the Cannes Film Festival: “You All Are Captains” (FIPRESCI Prize, 2010 Directors’ Fortnight) and “Mimosas” (Grand Prize, 2016 Critics’ week). “Fire Will Come”, his third feature, was shot in Galicia, the land of his ancestors. It opens in Virtual Cinemas on October 30, 2020. More information on the film can be found here.
Read Oliver Laxe’s 2016 list of his ten favorite films from the past ten years.