YIDFF 2007 International Competition
An Interview with Nicolás Prividera (Director)

Thousands of Deaths Are a Statistic, One Death Is a Tragedy

Q: What led you to make this film?

NP: First of all, I made this film out of personal necessity brought on by the absence of my mother. I wanted to shine a light on my mother’s history. Also, I wanted to touch on the subject of the history of Argentina by exploring my mother’s history. This is because many of the issues addressed in this film are still unresolved. This film was made with all of that in mind.

Q: This is a political film, but I very strongly felt the absence of your mother.

NP: To me, they are linked together. Personal histories like the absence of my mother are of course very important. However, that being said, there are many personal deaths, many personal absences in Argentina. There are probably tens of thousands of stories like this one. I wanted to make a film about how this accumulation of personal histories influenced the history of Argentina as a whole. You cannot generalize the history of individuals. Someone once said that thousands of deaths are a statistic, but one death is a tragedy. So, I wanted to recapture the significance of one personal tragedy, the tragedy of my mother’s death. You could say it is like the two sides of a mirror.

Q: Your younger brother appears in this film. I noticed that your personalities are very different.

NP: He saw the film after it was finished. Since our personalities are very different, I wanted to show this in the film. I wanted to show that even my closest brother had a completely different viewpoint than my own. I very actively and openly spoke about the issues raised in this film, whereas most Argentineans have a tendency not to talk about them. Whereas I was actively researching these issues, my brother would not even ask me any questions. He has a very passive personality. However, if I did not take on an active role like I did, then this film would never have been possible.

Q: Going back to the issue of mirrors which you brought up earlier, I wanted to say that the use of the mirror in the scene where you spoke with your brother left a strong impression on me.

NP: There are many scenes with mirrors. This is because I wanted to constantly examine the duality of things. I think this comes out through mirrors. One thing exists and, behind it, there exists something different. In the film, there are always two contrasting characters. For example, the differences in opinion between my brother and myself or disagreements between old comrades are examples of this.

Q: How did the audiences in Argentina react to this film?

NP: Like my brother and myself in the film, there were a variety of reactions to the film. My mother’s generation, the people who were young in the 1970s, did not seem to particularly like the film. I think this is because films like this are usually made with nostalgia, or they depict the history of strife and its return to honor. However, my film is different. I investigate the events of the past and demand answers. In that respect, many people of that generation did not like it. On the other hand, young people today and people of my generation said that they deeply understood my feelings in the film.

(Compiled by Mineo Kazunori)

Interviewers: Mineo Kazunori, Okuyama Kanako / Interpreter: Hoshino Yayoi / Translator: Christopher Gregory
Photography: Sanjo Yuri, Kaito Yoshimasa / Video: Kaito Yoshimasa / 2007-10-06