Monday, August 13, 2012


Marina De Van is a director/writer/actress that walks along her own path (see her response to question #3). With only two feature films and a handful of shorts under her belt (with a third feature, Dark Touch, on the way) De Van has not only made a dent in the art house world but has also carved her own little niche and breathed life back in to genres like Body Horror and the Psychological Thriller (not to mention I consider In My Skin to be one of the best films of the last decade). And since those genres are commonly associated with male directors (Cronenberg, Polanski, Hitchcock, Lynch, etc), the fact that Marina De Van is a woman gives us a different perspective perspective. I imagine some women don’t like to be categorized (or sub-categorized) as: “female directors”, but given that her films focus primarily on women (see question #4), I get the feeling that’s a term she wouldnt mind. While filmmakers like Catherine Breillat tackle the subject of sex & sexuality among women (especially young women) and Claire Denis focuses on the (sometimes) taboos of interracial relationships, De Van focuses on sanity, repressed memories and the female psyche. Whether she means to or not, her work, as well as a few others, challenges audiences and critics to think: Why is it that when a male director gives us an unflinching (yet tasteful) look at sexuality, blood & violence it’s ok, but when a woman does it, it causes a mini-uproar? Films like History Of Violence & Eastern Promises (Cronenberg) or Bug (William Friedken) are met with generally open arms while In My Skin (De Van), Trouble Every Day (Denis) or Anatomy Of Hell (Breillat) were all initially met with hostility. One of the missions behind “5 Questions” is to get a quick lil’ interview from directors, writers & actors that I’m actually a fan of and have written about on PINNLAND EMPIRE which is why this one means so much to me (see my write-up of In My Skin and the blog entry: “Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown”).


1. What are the last 3 movies you saw?

Marina De Van: Dark shadows - Which I enjoyed.

Cosmopolis - Which I enjoyed although I couldn't understand the plot.

Old Cats - Might be Spanish or Argentinean. I don't remember and it wasn't good.

2. Who, in your opinion, do you think is the best active director working in film right now?

MDV: I have absolutely no idea, really. There's a lot of interesting stuff. No one in particular whose work I follow with devotion.

Don't Look Back (2009)                                                                      In My Skin (2002)
3. Do you consider yourself a part of the "New French Extremity"?

MDV: Never heard about this concept and I don't feel like I belong to any movement or group. I don't know who the other extremists are and don't want to know. I'm doing my own small path and I don't feel any link with anyone, even if I might be linked without knowing it. I don't go to the cinema very often and I rarely see French movies. I probably haven't even seen the films you have in mind, so…no.

In My Skin                                                                            Don't Look Back
4. Just about all of your films (the ones you've directed) have to do with some kind of transformation, change or manipulation within the female body. Is there a particular reason for this?

MDV: They're female because I'm a female. I can't spontaneously put my own mind in a man's body & soul very easily.
I'm not sure the body is so important though because it's only a place for transformation: nor the content nor the real goal of the transformation, which is rather the self that you can aim through the body.

5. Can you give us a short description of what your new film, Dark Touch, is about?

MDV: Child abuse, haunted objects and killing people. It’s about how a person can still discover their own emotions. Similar to the other films I’ve already done which, unfortunately, are so few. I hope there'll be others…

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