Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: Get 6 Issues For £15
Get Empire magazine today and save money!
Interview

RELATED INTERVIEWS
More Interviews

RELATED REVIEWS
Ano Una (Year of the Nail) (2008)
Empire Star Rating
Children Of Men (2006)
Empire Star Rating
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Empire Star Rating
And Your Mother Too (Y Tu Mama Tambien)
Empire Star Rating
Great Expectations (1998)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Jonas and Alfonso Cuaron Interview
The Cuarons talk about their new movie, Ano Una

submit to reddit

Año Uña (The Year of the Nail) is the debut film by Jonás Cuaron - son of Mexican director Alfonso (Y tu mamá también), who executive-produced the film. Covering a year in the life of an American student and her relationship with the young Mexican boy she meets on her travels, it is made completely from still photographs. Empire chatted exclusively to the Cuarons about the film and what comes next for the Mexican directorial dynasty.

So what made you want to make a whole feature film in stills?
Jonas: Well when I started working on this project, I had seen this movie called La Jatée by Chris Marker, which is a film that uses a similar format. It's made out of still photographs, but I wanted to grab this format and push its boundaries. I wanted to make the narrative engaging enough so it could work as a feature film and people could sit through 80 minutes of photographs, and also I wanted to break the way in which film is normally done. In the case of La Jatée and all other films, people write the screenplay first and then post the photographs; I wanted to play with that. So what I did was during a year of my life I took candid pictures of my everyday life, family, friends, and then at the end of that year I used those pictures to write a fictional narrative, playing with the boundary between fiction and reality. I must have been like 21 when I started making it, then after that year it took 3 more years to put it all together.

So all of the people involved in the pictures are your friends and family?
Jonas: Yes, and all the events in the pictures really happened: it's just the narrative and the dialogue is fictional. I used the actual people to voice it, but then the dialogue they said were fictional. Like, the little boy's my brother and the older girl's my girlfriend, but it the fictional narrative they became romantic lovers.

From films that you’ve both made, you can see there's a bit of an obsession with older women and younger men. Is that something of a family feature?
Alfonso: [All laugh] Yes, it has been in our family for generations; it's been going on for generations.

Jonas: I guess in this case it just came organic, because I took the photographs in that year, and I realised that most of the photographs ended up being of my brother and my girlfriend, because they were the people around me when I was taking those photographs. I mean, I guess a lot of the difference between a relationship between a younger boy and the older girl, and this case, is that the boy is younger so the approach is more innocent, it’s more romantic and it’s less aggressive so...

Did you ever have that kind of relationship when you were 14 or so...?
Jonas: Yeah, erm...

Alfonso: Oh, you did?!

Jonas: …With many girls: younger, older…

And how big a part of the process was your dad?
Alfonso: Well, years ago, like over 20 years ago, it was night it was dark (laughs) I guess that was my only direct involvement…!

But did you help at all with getting the project to screen, or did you let him do the creative part and just give him moral support along the way?
Alfonso: I didn’t know he was making a film until he showed me the film. He was going around with his camera, so I thought he was doing some sort of photo project. But then he edited everything on his computer, so it was really between Erin, his girlfriend, and himself. When Jonás showed me it, I though it was going to be a short. Then he started playing the whole thing with photos, I said, "How long is this going to be?!"

When he told me that this was going to be a feature film I said, "Ouch!" But that was the last time I thought about the stills, because suddenly I was submerged into a film, and it was a great experience for me. I was very impressed with the whole thing. I guess my only involvement was to show it to people that you trust and to get some feedback and comments.

And how was the reception? Watching stills is potentially quite difficult to adjust to.
Jonas: Overall, in festivals, people told me that for the first 7 minutes they really felt uncomfortable with the idea of having to sit through 80 minutes of stills. But then by minute 8 they'd forgotten they were watching photographs and were more interested in knowing if the little boy got with the older girl.

What kind of relationship were you trying to build between the two main characters Molly and Diego (obviously bearing in mind that this is actually your girlfriend and your brother)?!
Jonas: I felt that a lot of the story is in this platonic romanticism and less on the physical. So that’s why a lot of the movie has thoughts to convey their feelings. I just felt that some kind of physical manifestation of their attraction wouldn’t have worked with the tone of the movie.

How difficult do you find it to portray 'the thought' as opposed to the dialogue when you were doing it all with voiceover?
Jonas: We did many versions of the voiceover, and it was more towards the end of recording voices when I realised that to break the boundaries of thought and voice it was very helpful to use whispers to portray the thoughts. I really like hearing the thoughts, because it is a narrative device that is not used in film that often. It allows you to have a really intimate relationship with the characters.

I want to talk about some of you future projects - what do you have coming up after this?
Jonas: Well right now, I'm developing a screenplay for a film I want to do, and my father and myself are collaborating on a screenplay for his next film.

Alfonso: I’m going to start shooting next spring. It’s called 'A Boy and his Shoe'. I'm very, very excited about it. I can’t talk about cast, but all I can say is that it deals with young people and that it’s a road movie covering England, Scotland and France.

We’ve also heard a rumour that you are working on a version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches? Is that true?
Alfonso: Well I am involved with Guillermo Del Toro, but as a producer, not director. I think it started because I've always wanted to do a version of Roald Dahl's very naughty Uncle Oswald. So we were talking to Lucy Dahl, when we got onto the subject of The Witches. Then Guillermo wrote this amazing screenplay really quickly. It won’t be like the original Nicholas Roeg version, which was a beautiful film- because Guillermo wants to do it completely in stop- motion animation. I'm excited about it- I really hope we can put it together.

Año Uña is released Nov 28th

Interview by 199372

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Paul Newman
A cat so cool he makes Steve McQueen look geeky.

The Boxtrolls Interviews: The Cast And Crew On Laika's Latest
Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning and more talk stop-motion

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)