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“Was a very interesting thing for me in the moment that i start research. This this period of time. I got a lot of shocking information that i never knew it about this time that it was before the west exists. Before the oil rush.
Before the gold rush and just to maine has just cross the country. Which was lewis and clark and and in this time in the middle of america use born. A party has just sold to united states louisiana. There was a lot of french people french canadians you know british people british.
Canadians and obviously a lot of mexicans that has just been independence by spain spanish hundreds of native american tribes and a lot of obviously people from the east coast american people from every part of europe coming into the country. And and i think that it was a melting pot with no law that everybody was trying to find their way surviving in very tough conditions in a known territory and and i think that something very striking is like the same story of colin ellison in my country. Only when the spanish arrived was kind of the same story that that they encountered the clash of cultures and and these forts were built to get profit from everything they can find from nature and obviously in that time woman in in france and in london. Especially they were wearing these beaver hats and they were very expensive and funny enough.
I found a shocking thing that they must the the biggest income in the united states was beaver pelts and the animal pelts were the most important profit kind of thing so they came to look for those animals they almost extent it and obviously by cutting every tree killing every animal they create a lot of pain and impact all what the resources of these communities were in that time. So there was a blindness of all these and all these people were trying to survive in the nature. That was trapped rettendon by animal attacks by other cultures attacks by diseases. They were kind relating each other most of the trappers were getting you know relations with native woman and some of them has families.
Some of them reject them some of them hiding them and most of these guys were very coming from very poor families. Very illiterate and these four were exploiting them with very tough conditions so the conditions for a worker in that time was really tough. So all those things in a way. I found it fascinated to create a film base obviously in the spine of the film based on this factual.
This historical fact that happened to hugh glass. Which was attacked by a bear and that was kind of this mind. But obviously the context was very rich you know alejandro and i both went into it looking to do more than just a revenge type story. We really um.
We kind of felt that that was in a lot of ways. It was empty kind of a goal without reward so we what we found we wanted to grasp onto was kind of the humanity of it and glass s journey. And what would kind of drive someone you know the human spirit to overcome the things that he that we were going to put him through and so building the father son element was like huge..
It was it was the you know one of the very first things that came with the story that we knew we needed more and then so it was great when i had that element in there. But then alejandro comes on and he he also adds with the arikara chief and the daughter so that you have kind of this parallel journey. Almost and it becomes it is its father and their children. It s it s glass trying to get a piece of his son back while at the same time.
The auricular chief is trying to get his daughter. And what i thought was so beautiful about how he did it was that it it opened things up that so that you see that these two very different men from very different cultures who on a battlefield might be fighting to the death. They re now kind of sharing the same the same parallel journey. And it just yeah.
I just love that we can t talk about the butte in this film. Without recognizing the work of emanuel chief of lubezki who you have collaborated with is unbelievable photographer hugh glass being the sort of isolationist that he is i think much of the film for me was a relationship with with cibo. I think that you know from the onset. He has you know he s always the outsider.
He has a native american son. But he is trying to disappear in the context of this environment in order to survive and those are some of the things he s trying to instill in his son. So he s always within and without he s there he s an operative is a scout. But he s trying to remain detached from this whole wave of of capitalism surging towards the wilderness.
So he s a survivor much like every character in this movie is a survivor from tom hardy to you know the arikara chief to to you know to the bear. But so much of my journey was hugh glass being this incredibly isolated character and that relationship that i you know i had with chivo was a very intimate one because because for me as an actor. This was predominantly pushing a narrative in almost complete silence. Which was part of the excitement about this journey for me as how to convey a narrative without words and so much of that was through the work with qi boat a lot of the time during the the rehearsal process.
Because i don t know if many people here know how this film was done. But it was very unique for all the actors we would work with all the different departments during the day and it would almost be like you know doing doing theater during the dinner was like live television for the last hour and a half of magic light. So we had to make sure that certain nuances were captured certain beats were captured certain emotional moments were captured and we got to rehearse that during the day. And it gave you a great comfort.
I feel i felt i started to feel towards you know certainly towards you know the beginning of the process. It was it was hard to adjust at first. But it really gave you a great comfort..
Because you knew that that the cameraman was going to be there shiva was going to be there at the exact right moment for these beats. And you got to think about them. In great detail and and so a lot of the dance for me. Throughout the whole course of the film was with chivo and capturing those little nuances and and you know what they were able to do certainly.
And some of these vast incredibly beautiful action sequences is capture incredible intimacy with the characters and then weave seamlessly around to an unbelievable david lean style shot. You know it i ve never quite seen anything cinematically like that and what what they what they achieve with the actors in this in this film and in some of these shots. I think is quite groundbreaking in that respect i ve never seen him movie accomplished that one of the very first images. I ever showed alejandro wasn t a rick or a hunter who was very monk like his his hat was a hood and alejandro really responded to that i think there was a med of strong metaphor.
There for him and the other was a russian icon of a monk. An image and those two kind of combined to inspire glasses look. Because he s out in the wilderness. Not for the same mercenary or monetary reasons.
As leo was saying as the other trappers. But it was almost his cathedral and there was a commune of glass with the animals they were in a mutual survival event. And i think he is his outfit or his costume is very kind of monk. Like or st.
Francis decision in in some respect alejandro is one of the few directors who understands how to shoot a film how to design a film in a way that opens the door to sound design. Actually participating in the storytelling. And certainly true in in the whole bear sequence. The fact that we have those close close shots of leo.
And the bear in that sequence allows us to get into both of their heads in a sense in a way that we wouldn t if he had done it with medium shots. And the big challenge with the bear was to make it completely believable. But cover the range of emotional notes that the bear had to have at one point. The bear is shot and and is obviously in in distress.
And i figured the best way to get that idea across was with its breathing and to make it clear that was having a difficult time breathing. And unfortunately. I didn t have any recordings of wounded heard distressed bears and so the this labored breathing that you hear especially when the mother bear goes off screamed to the right is actually a hoarse breathing..
That was having a difficult time breathing. That i did have a recording of and so then the trick is making the transition. So that you believe that it s one creature. All the way through allowed to really set the table in the context for the bear attack especially by you know wanting everything to be based in reality.
And you know we looked at a lot of reference footage. And we did a lot of research. Basically. The bear team went to bear school to really figure out all the nuances of how the bears were behaving in a very naturalistic way to really sell this scene.
You know we we went for all of the nuances of motion. And and even the beats in between which i think ultimately we re probably the scariest moments. You know these anticipation moments of not just the mauling itself. But you know what s going to happen next you know so alejandra really.
The context which we set this up and the collaboration with chivo working with a camera and leos performance. And his willingness to really be physical to really help us sell the work was really key. I mean everybody coming together visual effects just sort of bring it all together in the end. But you know setting the table properly really really helped us this is the movie that unfolds in the early 19th century.
It s a period film and yet. I suspect you feel it has a lot to say about man versus nature. Today about first nations and native american people. It s crazy that you re asking me that because i was sitting here saying god i want to talk more here.
We are your mic. No no the end in reference to what you were saying what i was left with from this movie. You know historically we look back at human nature. And what we ve done to you know other other races.
What we ve done to the natural world. We say god how ignorant we must have been how how short sighted and and here. We have this first wave..
This first influx of capitalism out east and of course. It was a genocide of the of the native american population. We took from the natural world as alejandro said. We you know we carved up nature for for our for our for our own comfort.
But here here we re looking at them you know the modern era and we think we ve learned these lessons from the past and having done. I was doing a climate change documentary simultaneously to doing this this film and i got to go to you know places. Where the canadian tar sands were you know a swaths of forests. The size of florida were being cut down for what is one of the most destructive practices on planet earth and of course.
We got to go visit first nations relocation neighborhoods. Where these people were basically you know their entire lands were poisoned their culture was sort of wiped out because they couldn t hunt. They couldn t eat the fish that were causing cancer to their people and they had to you know that they re continually having to you know buy food from a government that is massively overpriced. We re systematically doing this in on a mechanized scale.
That is uncharted unknown that has never been done in history. So these are obvious themes to me. When you see what s this is the first wave of that in our in an american context and of course is alejandro was saying you know doing a film about climate change. Studying climactic conditions around the world.
Having to relocate to the southern tip of argentina. Just to find snow was the greatest irony here we are a bunch of i know artists saying. Let s go into nature and see what it tells us all nature was telling us that the world is changing unlike ever before 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history and these are unprecedented weather conditions happening all over the world and it hit us right smack in the face and we had to shut down production multiple times extreme weather patterns in both directions. The locals telling us that they d never seen this in the history of their province.
So that s what ultimately this whole era. I m going to be left with the year of 2015 where all the tipping points happened and we immerse ourselves in the natural world to hear hear it for ” ..
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