An Interview with Dominique Dubosc (Director)
A Presence Does Not Equal Reality
Q: I understand that this is a revisit to Paraguay, but why did you make your first film there 40 years ago in the first place?
DD: I got a job teaching ethnography and came to Paraguay in order to evade the French military service. But in fact I had always wanted to make films since I was 14. I asked the local priest in Paraguay whether he knew characters like those in Nanook of the North, a film I admired at the time. He introduced me to a huge family there in the village and I decided to film them because I found them fascinating.
Q: You showed the old film to them on this occasion. Is it because you didn’t show it to them 40 years ago?
DD: I did show it to them then. I believe it is the duty for documentary filmmakers to show the finished film to those who appear in it. I showed it again this time because it’s been 40 years, and the small children have now grown up. It is now a nostalgic record of their childhood.
Q: I was shocked to see the tragic photographs of Paraguay soldiers who suffered under officers’ abuse.
DD: In fact, the filming began because of an encounter with a book of photography by various artists. I contacted the number printed on the last page of the book, and got permission to use some of the pictures. That’s how the filming began.
I’ve made the film so that it looks as if a man who was invited to a film festival shot it. But in fact that’s not true. I hardly filmed anything on my trip to the country on the occasion of the film festival. I do believe there is little difference between documentary and fiction, because all editing creates fiction. Documentary is merely freer in the form of expression than feature fiction films, and do embrace fictional elements.
Q: Why did you film the creative work of Hermann Guggiari and Noguera?
DD: As a longtime friend, Hermann is someone I go visit often. Noguera was not only a potter but someone I found to be an interesting person. When I saw the film rushes and the female torsos that she was making, I was reminded of my Argentinean ex-lover. I found an alternative meaning in the footage of Noguera at work. That is the part which turns into fiction in my film.
As a documentary filmmaker, I am always trying to capture what is happening now, what reality is. But things do not become reality just by sitting there. Only when I give it form does it become real. During the shooting, I have no idea what meaning it will have later. But I think as long as I film under the best conditions, the footage will have some kind of poetic meaning and be usable in the film.
I’d like to introduce this poem because it represents my film so well.
By Yiannis Ritsos
He saw the diver move in the deep waters
with delicate motions, carnal gestures. A little further,
he saw the clay penis and the legs of the statue
walking slowly on the sea floor. He also saw, reclining down there,
a clay woman who was waiting,
one knee raised, with a red,
totally red, large fish in her belly. However,
the seaweed didn’t move, there was no seaweed,
just a coin thrown in that was descending slowly
and stopped just above the woman’s mouth
(Compiled by Suzuki Moyu)
Interviewers: Suzuki Moyu, Daimaru Hinano / Interpreter: Yamanouchi Etsuko / Translator: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Hirai Mona / Video: Kusunose Kaori / 2015-10-09