EXCL: JUAN CARLOS FRESNADILLO TALKS “INTRUDERS”
28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s follow-up film Intruders hits DVD/Blu-ray after receiving only a limited theatrical release this spring, and we recommend it to rent. The dark fantasy film stars Clive Owen (Closer) as a father whose daughter Mia is being terrorized at night by a figure in her room she calls Hollow Face. A parallel story shows a boy in Spain dealing with the same monster. There’s a connection we won’t give away, but figuring it out is half the fun.
I got the chance to talk to Fresnadillo about Intruders at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
What is it about the supernatural that makes for an interesting storytelling tool?
In a way, I think that I really love that level because it allows me to show how supernatural, I mean, the god level… more the level that the supernatural genre is almost an excuse to show some kind of journey for characters, for people who is trying to overcome internal problems, and then they see, reflected in that supernatural, fantasy level, they see the reflection of their problems in that situation, so definitely, y’know, I’m… the most interesting thing for me is the human being, but in this particular scenario, in the scenarios which are so connected with dimensions or levels that they don’t control, that they don’t know. And that, facing the unknown, is a very interesting spot point for me.
Tell me about the different ways that Spanish that would solve this problem versus the English, ’cause of course the Spanish mother Luisa goes to a priest, but Mia’s parents go to a psychologist.
Yeah. There was something, y’know, the Spanish culture, and in the Latin cultures in general, I think that when a situation like this one is happening in our house, suddenly there is a thing showing up in your attitude, which is guilt. Then you feel guilty about what’s going on. Then you feel that you did something wrong. And that guilt, it’s driven you, it’s driving you in to the religion. Because, you know, our country was a very religion place for many years, so…
Yeah. So that’s why I think that when we deal with this kind of problems, there is a tendency, inherited from the past, that we put us in that, in the religion I mentioned, because in a way we feel guilt. So… but in the, I found in the Anglo-Saxon culture, which is a culture a little bit more away of this kind of thing, obviously when something unexpected and unknown is happening, immediately we go to the rational part, we go to the more rational solution which is always, y’know, in this particular case, is the psychiatry. Psychiatry could help us. But, one of the things I really love in the movie is both alternatives are plausible in order to solve the problem. Because the only way to solve the problem is from the root, from the origin of the problem, which is connected with the mother and the son.
What were you afraid of, yourself, as a child, and did you have your own kind of Hollow Face character kind of haunting you, or monster in the shadows?
It’s funny, y’know, because I had a very… um… I had a very peculiar family. And, from that time, I remember thinking and to feel in a kind of super-mature way. I wouldn’t say that I was scared when I was a kid, my… and that’s why, I think, when I was, when I grew up, I felt those terrors later on in my life. For telling you something, I couldn’t sleep in the house, alone, with the dark light, until thirty… five, six years ago! It’s like a child fear, that I remain for a lot of time, yeah. Definitely. So, I get the feeling that I repressed some fears when I was a kid and those fears were suppressed, they took over me later on in my life. And if I point out some of those, I would say that there is something that the fear about there is somebody in your room, you wake up in the middle of the night and you feel that there is somebody around. I think that’s, I think that’s one of my main fears.