Sophie Barthes is a Franco-American filmmaker. Her directorial debut, “Chilly Souls,” was launched by Samuel Goldwyn and performed in competitors on the Sundance Movie Competition. Her second function, “Madame Bovary,” was launched in 2015 after premiering at Telluride.
“The Pod Technology” is screening on the 2023 Sundance Movie Competition, which runs from January 19-29.
W&H: Describe the movie for us in your individual phrases.
SB: “The Pod Technology” is a thought-provoking humanistic surrealist satire a couple of society head over heels in love with expertise. Set within the not-so-distant future, my goal with this movie is to lift questions on our relationship to expertise and the the potential penalties of its unregulated intrusion into our intimacy.
That is the story of a pair and the gestation of their child in a man-made womb. The tone is playful and satirical with incursions into profound complicated feelings round parenthood.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
SB: I’ve a dream journal and after I was anticipating my daughter I wrote down all of the extremely unusual goals I had throughout my being pregnant. The goals have been so vivid, poetic, and unsettling that I wished to place them in a movie.
I additionally was very influenced by “Courageous New World.” I learn it as a pre-teen and the e-book had a profound impact on me. I really like science fiction as a style and all of the potential philosophical questions it raises. However surprisingly in movie, the sci-fi style could be very male dominated. I’m occupied with exploring “female science fiction” on-screen. I’m undecided methods to outline it exactly, however hopefully whenever you’ll see the movie you’ll perceive what I imply.
It doesn’t have to comply with all of the tropes of basic sci-fi movies: interplanetary warfare, aliens, time journey, parallel universes, monsters. I believe you may create sci-fi with themes and points which are very relatable, virtually a part of our every day lives however give it a twist that makes it sci-fi. It’s the “What if…” situation. What if infants might gestate in pods? What could be the implications for us people? I’m additionally very drawn to the thought of the commodification of every little thing. In my first movie, human souls may very well be extracted and shops to alleviate us from our existential burden. On this movie, the “extremely answer” for moms is the synthetic womb. However is it actually the answer?
W&H: What would you like folks to consider after they watch the movie?
SB: Initially, I might love for the viewers to “really feel” one thing for the movie after which to assume! I believe the fantastic thing about presenting a movie to an viewers is that every viewers member is exclusive, so every response is all the time private and distinctive. Movies function like mirrors: we challenge a part of ourselves on the movie. It’s not a one-way relationship. I believe a movie tries to convey concepts, an aesthetic expertise, feelings, and so on., however the viewers members additionally challenge their very own life expertise on the movie.
I simply hope this movie will make the viewers chuckle at instances — because it’s a satire — and likewise take into consideration their relationship to expertise immediately: is it a wholesome relationship? Does it appear unhinged? Why are we so seduced by expertise? What does it say about us as species? I additionally hope it’s going to assist girls to really feel that there isn’t any “excellent mom’ and that it’s completely advantageous to be the “ok” mom, as British pediatrician Donald Winnicott mentioned. My feeling is that there isn’t any “extremely answer.”
W&H: What was the largest problem in making the movie?
SB: Getting the financing collectively was an ordeal. I wished to shoot in New York however everybody within the U.S. noticed this challenge as too dangerous. It’s a visually bold movie. I couldn’t make it for a low funds. Once I understood I wouldn’t get it financed within the U.S. I seemed for financing in Europe and made the movie as a European co-production. I believe it’s been 4 years within the making!
W&H: How did you get your movie funded?
SB: The movie was made independently as a European co-production which is all the time a mixture of international gross sales, comfortable cash, regional funds, tax credit score or tax shelter, fairness, and a few hole financing.
W&H: What impressed you to develop into a filmmaker?
SB: Once I first watched Woody Allen’s “The Purple Rose of Cairo” as a baby in a movie show, I used to be utterly blown away and that feeling all the time stayed with me. My mother and father have been cinephiles and, nearly as good French mother and father, they by no means actually censored the movies we might watch. So very early on I keep in mind watching movies by Bergman, Godard, Kubrick, Westerns, Chaplin, Fellini, and so on.
I used to be by no means allowed to look at cartoons or Disney movies as a baby. My mom all the time thought kids ought to have entry to raise tradition even when they might not grasp every little thing, one thing would stick. I’m very grateful to her immediately.
W&H: What’s one of the best and worst recommendation you’ve acquired?
SB: The perfect recommendation was from my husband, Andrij Parekh, who occurs to be a really gifted cinematographer : to by no means hand over filmmaking. even when it was very tough career-wise and heartbreaking at instances. I keep in mind him telling me, “Effectively if you happen to hand over now, you’d have simply given up.”
The worst recommendation I acquired was most likely from myself! Not trusting my instincts or doubting an excessive amount of. I believe we will be our worse enemies at instances!
W&H: What recommendation do you’ve for different girls administrators?
SB: We’re very fortunate that that is the second for feminine administrators! Once I began 14 years in the past it was far more tough. I believe it’s a fantastic second to be a feminine director as a result of audiences are open to female-driven films and tales which have attention-grabbing issues to say and discover about girls. So seize the second!
I believe my recommendation could be the identical because the one I as soon as acquired: if that is your true ardour, by no means hand over. It’s like crusing: there might be tough waters and storms however when the crusing is clean it’s the most exhilarating career you could possibly dream of. It’s such a fancy and attention-grabbing career.
W&H: Title your favourite woman-directed movie and why.
SB: I completely love Agnès Varda’s “Cléo from 5 to 7.” It’s probably the most poetic, heartbreaking, aesthetic, and shifting portrait of a girl who spends two hours strolling throughout Paris whereas ready for the results of a biopsy. It’s a couple of lady confronting her vulnerability and mortality but it surely’s additionally an ode to life. The movie has a fantastic female sensibility. And I really like that it virtually appears like a documentary. The cinematography is easy however beautiful. It’s a lesson in cinema.
W&H: What, if any, tasks do you assume storytellers should confront the tumult on the earth, from the pandemic to the lack of abortion rights and systemic violence?
SB: As filmmakers it’s our obligation to confront significant political points and lift questions. Personally, I don’t perceive cinema as mere leisure. I believe movies have an obligation to say one thing significant about humanity. It may be finished via comedy, satire, all types of genres. I don’t imply the movies should be “severe,” however they should say one thing attention-grabbing. Movies shouldn’t be lectures and hammer messages, however they need to discover themes and feelings that open up the dialogue and make us perceive a bit higher the human situation.
W&H: The movie business has a protracted historical past of underrepresenting folks of colour onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — damaging stereotypes. What actions do you assume must be taken to make Hollywood and/or the doc world extra inclusive?
SB: I believe as administrators we have to forged as racially numerous as potential so audiences see on-screen a world that displays the fact round us, not a assemble that’s all white.
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