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Cambyse Tabatabay - 'Glaucon' Director Q&A

Part of Visability Film Festival's remit is to celebrate daring visual styles, which is why we're always on the look out for distinctive experimental works like Cambyse Tabatabay's Glaucon. Read on to hear the Director's thoughts on his piece inspired by Plato's Republic.

VFF: The masks you use are jaw dropping. How did you go about getting these right?

CT: Thank you for the compliment. From a practical point of view, it was a classic trial and error approach – with a much higher number of errors that I care to remember: a lot of swearing and violent thoughts towards those masks. To be honest, I still have trouble looking at them without feeling angry or even scared.

They are inspired by an exercise in theater named “Le Masque Neutre” (the Neutral Mask): its purpose is to make the actor realise the importance of their physique to convey emotions or information about themselves or their environment without talking.

In addition to that, I didn’t want the One Who Gets Out (or the Philosopher) to have any identity – colour of its skin, gender, etc : I wanted this character to be as neutral as possible.

VFF: The film is brought to life by some unusual and riveting sound design, can you give us any insight into some of your chosen sounds’ origins and significance?

CT: For this, I will have to give the lead to my sound designer Matthieu Abbet:

- Thank you. Aside from the sounds recorded during filming, everything was made with synth emulators on my computer. I’d say the sound design’s main purpose was to effectively evoke an atmosphere in which the visual allegory could take place. So first sounds evoking machines, eletricity, empty spaces, and then windy and more organic tones once we’re outside to introduce some extra tension in the soundscape. The significance of the sounds is mostly narrative or atmospheric, they don’t necessarily symbolize anything concrete.

VFF: At VFF, we’re committed to championing experimental works, and making people question what it is they expect to see on screen. Can you recommend any further viewing for people whose interest in more experimental film has been piqued by Glaucon?

David Lynch’ and Yorgos Lanthimos’ works: Eraserhead (1977) and Dogtooth (2009) – two of my favourite films. Their style is daring and unique. And they inspire me to dare and do what I fear to do. Also, a classic experimental film would be “Koyaanisqatsi” (1982) by Godfrey Reggio.

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