Interviewed by Jason Korsner
How did you get started as a film maker?
I started off writing TV adverts. I saw those as rehearsals for a feature film. I read lots of scripts and got myself introduced to Guillermo Arriaga. We originally planned to make 11 short films to show the contradictory nature of Mexico City, but we ended up settling on three and expanding them . We wrote 36 drafts, each one on a type-writer. It took three years. The writer has to be disciplined, so that the director can use his instinct and intuition.
It must be hard for a first-time director to work with such a large cast.
I used 52 actors from different backgrounds. I chose many first timers so that we could share the innocence of our first time together. I chose actors who shared elements of the characters. I made them live in their roles beforehand, to prepare. That meant one of them living in a slum, for example. We also used perfumes to help them get into character. I wanted to concentrate on the actors, as they are what you see on-screen. I treated the locations like a stage, to give the actors their space. The cameramen had to work around them.
From the soundtrack, you can tell music is very important to you.
I’m a frustrated musician, really. I think musically. I don’t like gratuitous music though. That’s used to make up for the failure of the film makers to create the right mood. The music has to add another dimension. To get some original sounds in the score, we used things like plastic gutters and a cake tray.
When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on
Don’t let yourself go, everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimesSometimes everything is wrong, now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you’ve had too much of this life, well hang on
Everybody hurts, take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts, don’t throw your hand, oh no, don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone, no, no, no, you are not alone
If you’re on your own in this life, the days and nights are long
When you think you’ve had too much of this life to hang on
Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries, and everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes, so hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on (repeat & fade)
(Everybody hurts, you are not alone)