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Clemente Castor

Clemente Castor
A white drone moves through a corridor whose walls seem to be liquefying into a digital ooze. A metallic voice, perhaps that of the drone, questions the reality of what it sees. An old man draws and redraws the same line. Through the window, we see a city in the raw, naked light of day. Then we’re flying over a city, maybe the same one, through the turbid diaphanous rays. Between these shots, the eye adapts to the different visual regimes, circulates between frames, animated, manipulated, programmed, drawn, or recorded. What is the truth in each of them?
(Nathan Letoré)

Interview with Clemente Castor

Your film opens with a drone, whose questions, asked as subtitles, are the only dialogue in the film. Why this choice of a film without dialogue, and with a machine being the only character who speaks?

Digital technology has modified culture, but also cognitive activity and at a deeper level, the neurophysical structure of the brain. Technological devices have become prosthetics for our bodies and a tool for permanent relationship with the world, changing the perception we have of emotions and notions of the other.
The drone is a figure that interests me today ; there is a relationship with the animistic nature of contemporary digital technology. It seems that the human eye loses the ability to discern between real images and those belonging to fiction. This is how Fantasma, animal emerges, as an exercise in material speculation, an exercise in speculation through science fiction. And that speculation occurs within fiction, where a machine can communicate with a human, and in turn do this exercise in transmutation.
In this sense, the border between the natural and the artificial was of very great interest, the relationship of technology with the body, its function as a prosthesis and how images are produced through the body of a machine or intelligent technologies. That is, a concern for the production and ways of consuming images.

Your film mixes different types of images (3D images, images shot then digitally modified, filmed and then shown as is…). Can you explain how you worked on each of these types?

The figure of the drone allowed me to ask questions such as: how do machines see? And how is the production of those images? Thermal cameras, mechanical and artificial vision of the body, face recognition, guidance through the satellite, 3D scanning and with that the creation of virtual worlds and models, etc. In other words, images that affect and create reality. These interests guided the aesthetics of the film, that is, thinning the space and speculating on different ways of looking.

The only human presence is seen obsessively working and reworking the same visual motif. Why this constantly repeated work?

In a certain sense I liked to see the relationship of these drawings that the human presence makes with transmutation circles within alchemy. These circles that allowed to transform matter, in this case would allow the human to reconfigure his body into a machine. It could also be said that the film is an esoteric speculation.

Though we can’t quite always tell if it is the same city or not, the urban world (seen from above, or through the window) is key to the film’s aesthetic. Where are we? Why this importance of the city?

The fiction takes place in the historic center of Mexico City. For some time I have been thinking about the idea of a Latin American science fiction, low budget, that does not appeal to the most advanced technologies or heteropatriarchal representations. I like the idea of a baroque science fiction.

Interview with Clemente Castor

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Technical sheet

Mexico / 2021 / 16’

Original Version : English.
Subtitles : English.
Script : Clemente Castor.
Photography : Miguel Escudero.
Editing : Clemente Castor.
Sound : Thomas Becka.
Casting : Ernesto Legorreta.
Production : Verónica Posada (Salón de Belleza), Andrew Martín (Salón de Belleza), Kim Torres (Salón de Belleza).
Distribution : Alejandra Villalba (Salón de Belleza).
Filmographie : Príncipe de Paz (Prince of Peace), 2019. Resplandece (Glow), 2017.