The Derviches talk

An interview for Straight Jacket Guerrilla film festival

Our feature experimental collaboration with Saint Octobre will screen soon in England :

Nouveau Noum @ Straight Jacket film fest

*How did you get into making films?
Katia Viscogliosi and I (Francis Magnenot) were living in Canada at the
same time the Kino movement grew up. We where both involved in the
 »independant cinema industry » to make a living (Katia as an actress
and I as a scriptwriter) and at the same time repeatedly stunned by the
amount of incompetence and huge waste of time in this business. So we
bought a DV cam and started making our own films. They were screened in
various experimental, underground and kino events. It was fast, joyful,
with close contact with the audience and we kept doing it this way…

*What inspired you to make your movie?

First was the energy that came from the encounter between the poetic
texts and the strong raw electro music of Saint Octobre, then the topic
– nuclear craziness of the Soviet Union in the 80’s – and then we
discovered online tons of sovietic, russian and american found footage
about atomic concerns… Most of the film is made with this material. The
other part was shot randomly following inspiration, with tiny hdcams or
even smartphones, bringing the human, street life side to the film.

*How has your style evolved?
We use much less found footage now, and get more interested in our last
projects in making films  »In vivo » – guerrilla style to say it Straight-Jacket style
– capturing some glimpses of life wherever we are, sometimes fictional, sometimes
only observational. We feel closer now to slow cinema: taking
time is a very radical way too, specially today…

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
Well we had bearely started to work on it when Fukushima happened…
Then it’s not while making the film, and maybe not funny either, but a few
weeks ago Russia launched their first Nuclear plant ship, the Akademik
Lomonosov; which is also one of the strongest parts of the film New
Noum… So what was first the poetic intuition of a potential nightmare as
become reality; cheer up folks!
A funnier story now: once we were performing the film on stage with
Saint Octobre, mixing the images live while they play, someone collapsed
at the fifth minute. We love telling it to nourish our legend.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
Our first film – You will think I’m crazy – was shot randomly, then only
written, like reverse engineering in a way. So we can only deeply agree
with the term  »misrule ». Then we also agree to some of  »festival
industry » problems you’re pointing at, and we also always thought that
the technical perfection means nothing.  »Ex perfecto nihil fit », said
the alchemists.

*What can we expect from your next film?
Our name  »Cinéma Fragile » is also a manifesto in itself: we aim to
make films as fragile and at the same time as strong as life can be. In
this violent and stupid world we are convinced that, today more than
ever, fragile is beautiful. That will be our way to reveal some of its
inner beauty in our next films.
We’re currently developing some projects in this way, all settled in
the south Italy and Mediterranean area. And we’re finishing the editing
of two features made of our haiku-films series shot in the 4 past years:
no dialogues, no story, just japanese poetry rythm. All you need is a
loving eye…

Rome, June 2018


An interview for Marfici film festival

About Aurelia, screened @ Marfici 2016 :

– Which were the motivations to carry out this project?

Katia’s father migration from Italy to France was part of the family legend : she was familiar to his childood feelings during his trip. We went out looking for these emotions. We wanted to find out if some traces of this peculiar past could remain in the present that we know. In other words: if the past and present could talk together

– How did your experiences link with the paternal account? 

We wanted to film like a child who discovers the world, looking at the landscape passing by the car window. We thought it was necessary to come closer to Franco’s experience and sensations. The film was made in one continuous movement, with renewed wonders and surprises at every stop.

At first we wrote a lot of voiceover texts to link our experience to Franco’s : then during the editing, we realized that the strongest connection we could find was the timelessness sideration experienced by all travellers : the images that pop up all of a sudden along the road, and make your heart jump.

So most of the words went away, and the film filled with sun. This sun was like the expectations of the traveller about his destination : you always dream of something better than what you leave, in a way.

– What contrasts appeared in the encounter between those experiences?

First, the via Aurelia has been traveled by thousands of people since ancient times: what became obvious while we were staring at the present looking for traces from the past, is that the same situations keep repeating forever. Only people are changing : those who head for a new destination today will be replaced tomorrow by others.

And second : the landscape is a direct result of the collective consciousness of the moment. It shows clearly what are the dreams and hopes of the inhabitants and passengers. We are firmly convinced that you can understand how things work just by looking around you.

All this bright lights, kid games, and sunny seashores we saw along the road looked like a fragile dream waiting for some great disruption.

And then you realize that it’s always been the way the world goes, precisely.

Mar del Plata, August 2016

Orson Welles, interview

Interview réalisée à l’occasion de la projection du film Orson Welles au festival Cortopotere, 2010 : 

Interview about our film Orson Welles, during the Cortopotere Film festival, 2010 :

Orson Welles on Vimeo

Is “derviches associés” a film artists collective? Why have you decided for this name?
If a collective begins with two people, then we must be some kind of collective ! But we’ll keep working as a duet, and when we work with others sometimes( like with Saint-Octobre rock poetry readings ), it’s as a duet.
Derviches Associés came the day we had to choose a “label” for a 48h project movie, being part of a digital cinema festival in France : “cinéma nouvelle génération”.
Derviches is for the independent spirit of the soufi derviches ( apart of any religious connexion )and their way of “learning by practicing”.
Associés is a way to remember with a smile that we are definitly not a commercial business.

How many persons are involved in a short production? Do you always work together? Do you use a precise work method?
We are very very independent. So what we like is to work with a very very light production : the two of us, sometimes a sound engineer, sometimes a director of photography, and that’s it. Most of the images we use are “stolen” from places where nobody even noticed we were shooting a film.
We always work together : we have to know each other very well to shoot this way, we have to be able to improvise, use our environment. For the same reason, our work method is some kind of a mess… We can’t say who did what at the end of a film. Francis does most of the editing and the shooting, while Katia does all of the acting, and writes the most.

Which support have you used to shoot “Orson Welles”?
Is it reasonable to tell it ? A little “hairdryer like” Sanyo Xacti, full HD though, no steady cam.

Have you got any future projects? Are there any images that fascinate you or which are you working on?
Future projects, plenty of ! We just finished a new film : La neige ( The snow ) exclusively made with found footage of snowy days in the south of Italy, and home movies. We’ll be part of the International Contemporary Art Biennial of Lyon with a “live cinema” performance called Cinéma fragile, and we’re preparing a series of mute films for the poetry reading shows of Saint-Octobre. And then we’ll begin to write our next film project, called “Wannabe”.
We find the images that we didn’t shoot for the purpose of a specific film fascinating, because you can look at them for what they “really” are, not for what they were done for. This is why we love to work with found footage, internet archive, old postcards, etc… We also shoot a lot of films with no particular intention, that we use later, almost like a writer uses words. They are like our vocabulary.

Are there any film masters, from whom you get mostly inspired?
We’ll, Godard of course, but also Pasolini, specially for “Accatone”, so as Minelli with “Some came running”, Cocteau’s Beauty and the beast, Orphée. Jean-Daniel Pollet’s “Méditerrannée” and others masterpieces, Chris Marker, but books inspire us a lot too, books are fine filmasters ! Like those André Hardellet wrote, or music, like Lou Reed’s Perfect Day. This kind of question is always a real pain because we remember most others we love and should have mentioned… after answering.

Which was the criterion you used for the music choice?
Some of the music comes from the film of the boy running, but slowed down and distorted.. Oslo Microscopic’s music comes with a low and disturbing pulse that we loved. Some comes from D1 ( aka Mister Magic Loop aka Francis )and is made of… loops.

Which support has been the voice-over cut on? Is the noise on the background that of a videotape recorder?
The voice over was recorded on an analog portastudio from the 80’s, right! We love the shhhhhhh of the tape…. The background noise is a “complex” and hazardous mix of the huge gas fire boiler of our flat’s building, a vinyl hiss, our street noise heard from down on the basement, and more…. We wanted a kind of constant and low rumbling, behind the voices.

Where have you found the stock images you used for the film?
The ones we didn’t shoot ourselves come for the most part from Internet Archive, and are free of rights.

Could “Orson Welles” be considered a postmodern work?
We really don’t know, to be honest.