Erlingur Óttar í viðtali um „Rökkur“

Sigurður Þór Óskarsson og Björn Stefánsson í Rökkri.

Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen ræðir um mynd sína Rökkur (Rift) við vefinn Gay Iceland, en myndin var frumsýnd á Gautaborgarhátíðinni í byrjun febrúar.

Í viðtalinu ræðir Erlingur hversvegna hann ákvað að gera mynd um samkynhneigt par, hvað það þýði að vera samkynhneigður kvikmyndagerðarmaður og hversvegna slíkar myndir eru sjaldséðar á Íslandi.

Í viðtalinu kemur meðal annars þetta fram:

It is a story of two guys who have recently broken up, a psychological thriller with horror elements. Filmed on location in a remote spot in Iceland. What gave Erlingur that idea and why did he choose a gay relationship as his subject?

I had recently finished my first feature film, Child Eater, which was a much larger production, and while I was waiting for that to be released, I wanted to do another film – something completely different. So I was mulling around ideas of stories that could fit that model, looking at films like Ingmar Bergman’s Persona and Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, trying to come up with something in that vein that I could do in Iceland.“There were two factors that more or less made the film happen the way it did. The first one was that I really wanted to make a film that was logistically simple and inexpensive. Something with two main actors in one location, that could be filmed in a short amount of time and with a small crew.

At the same time, for more personal reasons, I was really interested in exploring the contradictory feelings that come up when a relationship falls apart. When you love someone even though you know you shouldn’t be with them, and when you leave someone just based on gut feelings and no real logic. I feel like there’s a lot of bittersweet and weird emotions that come up when a breakup happens, and I really wanted to take a look at that.

Then I realized that those two things actually fit together perfectly. So the story became a story about a couple going through their recent breakup while stuck in a cabin in the middle of nowhere.”

Films about gay relationships are not common in Iceland. Was that a factor in your decision to make a film about this subject?

“Yes, I was absolutely aware of the fact that there is a great shortage of Icelandic films that deal with LGBT issues in a serious way, and especially in an adult way. I don’t remember ever seeing an Icelandic film where a gay relationship between two adult men is a central, integral part of the film, as well as portrayed in an honest way.

“The reaction was amazing … It was great sitting in the audience and hearing the audience go “ooh” and “ahh” and even scream a couple of times!”

And I find that very interesting, because Iceland has been at the forefront of the LGBT rights movement for decades now, and yet our depiction of LGBT characters in TV and cinema feels years behind compared to the rest of the world, or even compared to our neighbor countries.

I think the biggest reason for that is obviously the fact that most working filmmakers in Iceland are straight men, and subsequently the stories they tell are colored by that.

So it was definitely a conscious decision to deal with a LGBT subject for my first feature in Iceland, through my own lens and in my own way.”

Do you consider yourself primarily a gay filmmaker, or is that of no consequence?

“Well, I think that question begs a counter-question: What does it mean to be a gay filmmaker? I am certainly a filmmaker who is gay and very comfortable with being out, and I am also very interested in both creating and consuming queer types of work.

I do think queer representation and general diversity is very important when it comes to art and culture, and I applaud and admire artists who are loud and visible in those regards.

That being said, I don’t necessarily think about labels very much when I think about myself. I guess I don’t define myself in any specific way. My interests tend to veer towards fantastic genre elements — like horror, thriller and sci-fi — as well as queer elements, and I think my work so far reflects that.

So I guess the answer is, on the one hand I’m comfortable with being called a “gay filmmaker”, because it’s totally true. And on the other hand, I’m not really sure what that label necessarily means or what expectations arise from it.”

Sjá restina af viðtalinu hér: New gay thriller – GayIceland

Klapptré er sjálfstæður miðill sem birtir fréttir, viðhorf, gagnrýni og tölulegar upplýsingar um íslenska kvikmynda- og sjónvarpsbransann. Ritstjóri er Ásgrímur Sverrisson.