Rolf de Heer talks about the making of The Survival of Kindness

The Australian filmmaker graced KIFF last year
Rolf de Heer
Rolf de Heer

With Australia announced as the focus country at the 29th Kolkata International Film Festival, there was an array of Australian films screened; one among them was Rolf de Heer’s The Survival of Kindness. Indulge caught up with the director and screenwriter whose collaborative works with the aboriginals, resulting in Ten Canoes and The Survival of Kindness are groundbreaking voices in storytelling, displaying relevant themes like cultural diversity, resilience, racial supremacy, and more.

What is your creative process while writing a film since you don’t spell out the message of your movies?
It’s different for every film. One script took me eleven years and another film took four weeks. For The Survival of Kindness, I knew we had to shoot during COVID which also caused things to be different —small crew and cast. I usually write and then find locations to fit. For this one, I started with locations. Driving towards the mountain on a certain morning, an image came to my mind that would not go away. the image was of my friend who was an aboriginal man, in a cage, on a trailer, in a desert. I’m looking at the mountain in Tasmania, which was the wrong spot. So I went to the desert and began to work on the film.

What would your interpretation of the movie be?
If I give you that then all the people who have seen it, who think differently would re-think. They know what they have seen but I don’t want to invalidate their viewing. it used to be my film and when I finished it, it became the film that belongs to the audience. it’s not for me to tell them how to think about it.

Do you think budget is a constraint in cinema?
I find it a useful constraint. it forces me to find artistic solutions to what are otherwise money problems. it improves my filmmaking.

Is OTT complementing filmmaking?
It is less cinematic. I still think of the big screen and sound system.

What are your thoughts on Indian films?
I saw the World of Apu by Satyajit Ray again. Indian films are very varied. But there are many interesting independent Indian films.

Related Stories

No stories found.