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Interview: Technology "consumes" too much of our life: film director Gilliam [China Economic Information Service (Xinhua)]

September 7, 2013


Interview: Technology "consumes" too much of our life: film director Gilliam

by Grandesso Federico

VENICE, Italy, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Terry Gilliam, the American- born movie director who presented his film Zero Theorem in the 70th Venice International Film Festival, criticized technology for "consuming too much of our life."

"When technology starts consuming too much time in your relationship with others, we turn to be slaves of that, and I'm very worried," Gilliam said in an interview with Xinhua.

While admitting all the great wonders that technology has created, Gilliam said the price people have to pay were too high, and he sometimes preferred to stop using too much technology in filmmaking and he was trying to "come back to the real life."

While Zero Theorem is dubbed science fiction by some people, Gilliam, Oscar nominated for the Best Original Screenplay in 1985 for Brazil, defines the movie as "a more abstract version of the reality we live in."

Zero Theorem presents a futuristic Orwellian world full of CCTV cameras and virtual relations where Qohen Leth, an eccentric computer genius, interpreted by the Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz, lives in his "reclusive universe" and suffers an "existential syndrome."

This "ideal world" is controlled by a major mysterious entity known as "Management," and the final mission of Qohen is to solve the "Zero Theorem", a mathematical formula which will determine whether life has any meaning.

To some extent, the oppressive cameras in the film also presented an analogy to so-called "PRISM program" case carried out by the United States' National Security Agency (NSA), the director said.

"They take all the information we have on the web and this is a very dangerous thing. In the movie, I deal with this topic very rapidly in the final part, but people have to be conscious of that," Gilliam said.

Too much technology also risks spoiling the movie industry. Taking the widely-employed 3D technology as an example, Gilliam said that "all these technological tools tend to make films more expensive and the film becomes more limited in expressing ideas."

As movies are becoming more and more expensive due to the wide employment of high technologies, there is a problem of creativity and the director has less freedom to express "deep ideas," he explained.

Gilliam, who won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1991 with The Fisher King, also highlighted "finding good actors and giving them as much space they deserve" as his priority in directing a movie.

"Everything else, including technology, is decoration," he added. "I'm very far from the old way of moviemaking, which focuses on elements such as the movements of cameras or finding the perfect angle, etc. I don't care about these at all. What I need is to have good actors to film," he said.

When speaking to Xinhua, Gilliam recalled his "fantastic" first and only trip to China, where the Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci was directing "The Last Emperor" and he met with the Irish actor Peter O'Toole on the filming scene for possible collaboration.

When asked whether he might consider making a film about China which, in Gilliam's eyes, boasts rich financial resources for the film industry, he said he would like to do that when there is a good China story.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

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