Magazine article Variety

Alvaro Brechner 'I Wanted the Camera to Seem as Confused as the Characters'

Magazine article Variety

Alvaro Brechner 'I Wanted the Camera to Seem as Confused as the Characters'

Article excerpt

in his 2009 feature directing debut, "Bad Day to Go Fishing," and 2014's "Mr. Kaplan," Madrid-based Uruguayan Alvaro Brechner charted characters' battle for dignity. "La noche de 12 años" (A 12 Year Night), which world premieres in Venice Horizons, retains the focus of those earlier movies. But it delivers a dramatically new context: the true-life-inspired 12-year incarceration in solitary confinement from 1972 of Jose "Pepe" Mujica, under Uruguay's military dictatorship. Mujica went on to become an exemplary president of Uruguay, and never sought revenge on his captors. A survival drama and an existentialist thriller, "A 12 Year Night" is a paean to the resilience of the human spirit. EMILIO MAYORGA

"A 12 Year Night" is inspired by an interview-memoir written by Mujica's fellow prisoners, Mauricio Rosencof and Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro. What was the key to the adaptation?

These men lived in total isolation. They couldn't tell the difference between night and day or what month it was, aside from the heat or cold of night and day, summer and winter. For me, that constant mental confusion was the most important thing to transmit. We started from that source, but our work entailed almost four years of investigation and interviews.

What was your key aim when making the film?

My intention was to show the mental universe of people who were robbed of everything that makes them human, and everything they do to maintain themselves as human beings. What saved them?

I asked them the same question. …

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