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Competition “The Invisible Eye” Interview with Diego Lerman (Director) and Julieta Zylberberg (Actress) (10/26)

Competition “The Invisible Eye” Interview with Diego Lerman (Director) and Julieta Zylberberg (Actress) (10/26)

Diego Lerman was born in 1976, two days before the government under a military dictatorship came into power in Argentina, and it may have been his fate to make “The Invisible Eye.” Set towards the end of the dictatorship at a strict elite school, a female teacher joins the school as a classroom assistant and her struggle with all sorts of desire is portrayed in this substantial story. The sense of tension throughout the story and the well-restrained performance by the lead actress, Julieta Zylberberg, is impressive.
©2010 TIFF

---You were still young during the military dictatorship era, but do you remember anything?

Diego Lerman (Lerman):We were always moving because my parents were involved in the anti-military government movement. Among my relatives, some moved abroad, and some disappeared (killed), and I remember the fear and emotions which cannot be expressed in words. Looking at the pictures I drew in those days, I can see I was drawing what I was feeling in a closed world.
©2010 TIFF

---The original story is “Ciencias Morales” by Martin Kohan. Why did you decide to adapt it to film?

Lerman: I liked it because the story is original and innovative. The dictatorship is portrayed in a method completely different from the conventional way. In addition, I found it interesting that the dictatorship is just a context, not the theme. I liked the allegorical aspect, too, and I was expecting him to write something like this sooner or later.

---In dramatising the story, was there anything you paid particular attention to?

Lerman: The lead character, Maria, is in the world of school, where she is part of the order, but gradually she becomes unable to control her desires, such as having a romantic feeling for one of the pupils. I really wanted to portray that.

---The protagonist shows hardly any emotions. How did you approach the character?

Julieta Zylberberg (Zylberberg): The original story describes her emotional struggle in great detail, which shows the sway of her feelings. For example, she is strict with pupils, but on the other hand, she feels desire towards them. She is an introvert, it was really important to carefully build up the subtle changes over many rehearsals.
©2010 TIFF

---The school in the story still exists. Did you shoot at the school?

Lerman: The headmaster rejected our request to film there. We could not find a suitable location, as that space is really important to show the insignificance of human, and the project almost collapsed. In the end, we were given access to three schools and a part of the Parliament house, and so we somehow completed the filming.

---If the two went to that school, what sort of people do you think they might have turned out to be?

Lerman: You can imagine virtually anything with hindsight, but they would have turned out to be completely different persons.

---Most of the film consists of scenes inside the school, and the social conditions at the time are not shown. Was it intentional?

Lerman: The time is set just before the Falklands War, when opposition against the government was growing and the government was sensing danger. While demonstrations are organized in the outside world, usual life goes on within the closed world of school. I wanted to show the contrast.

---The protagonist’s action in the last scene was shocking.

Zylberberg: The ending is different from the original story. I think the release of her mind coexists with her becoming able to take actions against the situation.

Lerman: I would like the viewers to interpret it freely. There is certainly the release, but that scene can be interpreted as a baptism to enter the violent world.

Argentinean films have taken great strides recently, for example, “The Secret in Their Eyes” winning the Academy Award for best foreign language film. In “The Invisible Eye,” Lerman demonstrated his talent by cutting deep into the negative history of his country, while Zylberberg superbly expressed the subtle emotions. Argentina’s presence will become a leading nation, not just in the world of soccer but also in the world of film.

(Interviewed by Gen Suzuki)

The Invisible Eye
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KEIRIN.JPThe 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
22nd Tokyo International Film Festival(2009)