GLAZE 2018, PT, 14 min

a film by Clara Jost

A rhythmic bus ride with no protagonist. Time is stretched allowing the viewer to figure out the passenger’s interactions and to wonder what may be at the end of their routes.

Novocine: Glaze mas shot in 2018 while you were studying in Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, in Lisbon. The film follows a bus ride over a rainy night, people come in and out along the many stops. What made you want to make this film?

Clara Jost: Glaze is my final degree film at the Theatre and Cinema School in Lisbon and there were many rules involved in making it. There’s this thing that the final project has to be a fiction film and everything is already very pre-defined from the start as to how these films should be made. In fact, it has been so long since I made it that I don’t really remember why I did it (laughs). I think I was always a bit philosophical, my scene is philosophical. At the time, I was thinking about how strangers behave when they’re next to each other, physically close to each other - it came from there. I remember that at first, the film was not supposed to be entirely set on a bus but then the bus scene was the strongest one so I decided to focus there.

NC: It’s an observational film, it seems that there was room for improvisation. Was it so?

CJ: Actually no, it’s funny. Everything was meticulously planned. Literally! Even the time each shot should last was already pre-established.

NC: You never point the camera at the bus driver — we hear his voice but we never see him. Is the camera’s point of view that of just another passenger, somewhat oblivious about the driver’s presence?

CJ: Maybe. I only found the camera’s point of view in the editing room. It’s actually connected to the film’s theme, which has an almost extraterrestrial sonority, and for me the camera is like an extraterrestrial that has just arrived on Earth and fell into a bus. I imagine the extraterrestrial would probably be interested in those things.

NV: The film’s cast consists of actors and non actors. Was there a logic behind the casting decision for these characters?

CJ: It depends. José Lopes’ character, for example, was very inspired by him. He really was this person who would start randomly speaking to people, without a filter. I really wanted to have a person who would break this confined behaviour inside public transports.

NC: His character really has a different presence, even somewhat oracular.

CJ: As for the other characters… For example, the oldest lady is my grandmother. António Júlio Duarte… is António Júlio Duarte. Dennis (the boy who falls asleep) was studying at the School, and so was Roxanna.

NC: Why Verniz? The english translation “Glaze” can be interpreted as the material with which some ceramics are finished, giving them a shiny effect, a glazed finish.

CJ: The title comes from a concept I invented at the time, which I called verniz. The films is about this term — when people are physically close to a person they don’t know, like on a bus, it kind of seems that a bubble is created around the person, like a varnish around us that protects us from other people. The moment with the girl’s hair is the most obvious one regarding this concept. The hair is touching his backpack, it’s a strange feeling of proximity to a random person.

NC: You also feel that when the lady sits right next to the man holding the sheets of paper.

CJ: Yes, and there she touches him very lightly and still says “oh, sorry!”. She wouldn’t need to apologize but the glaze makes her say that, according to what I had in mind at the time.

NC: When you were making the film, did you have any particular references in mind?

CJ: At the time I was very interested in Jeanne Dielman, 23 qual du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles by Chantal Akerman. I was also really into Sharunas Bartas’ films. At the time, that was what inspired me the most, very minimalist films — creating a narrative arc out of almost nothing.

NC: It also made me think of News from Home.

CJ: I just watched it last night (laughs)! At the time I hadn’t seen News from Home but I feel similar things in Jeanne Dielman, in the sense that us, as spectators, are surprised at certain moments, as if something huge had happened but in reality, she just forgot to close close the bottle’s cap. I think that’s so funny and important, turning a very small thing into something huge. That’s what I’m trying to do now.

NC: Glaze uses the musical theme Pot Au Feu by the composer Delia Derbyshire as a circular motif. The theme itself, with different variations, is as if it’s telling us different stories at different rhythms. Did you have the song in mind beforehand?

CJ: I think the theme was only decided during the editing process but I had been listening to it for a while and I feel it adds that extraterrestrial perspective I was talking about. It sets the tone right away, it makes me see the film in very specific way from the start.

NC: You went to Film School, you did Meine Liebe (shot in 2016 and winner of IndieLisboa 2020 National Short Film Competition 2020) and Glaze. They are two very different films but there’s this minimalism in both — the spectator has to be really on the watch for details, for these small but important peaks. Do you continue to explore this concept of minimalism in what you are doing now?

CJ: In the meanwhile, I moved to Belgium and completed a master’s degree in at KASK, in Ghent, where I was able to make a film in which I experienced a different process and a subject that was new to me. I really enjoyed this but I felt the theme was a bit outside of what I want to continue to explore. It also nice to realize that it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing because the film is about intimacy between people and that’s not something I feel comfortable exploring. I also don’t know if film (celluloid) is really my thing, I liked it but I’m not as manual as other people I see around me. What I most liked in that film was the process I now call collecting: not using a script, planning as little as possible, filming sparsely… Collecting moments to later give them meaning in the editing room. This makes a lot of sense to me because I think that chance and serendipity is very important and can generate more surprising encounters than if everything is planned beforehand. One of the films I’m working on right now is called Felicidade numa panela (Happiness in a Pot) and it’s about a pot, and somehow  this process makes a lot more sense to me. I think it makes sense to search for what I should do, or what I do best or what interests me the most. Find my own specificities. Regarding the films I made before, Glaze and Meine Liebe, I just feel that I really enjoy taking small things and making them giant. This film about the pot literally talks about pre-history and post-apocalypse and I’m really happy about it.

NC: If you dropped the traditional script, what is your way of organising ideas? Do you have a graphic diary or something digital, on the internet?

CJ: There is a method I learned at KASK and that I’ve adopted for myself. I have created several private tumblrs where I post everything about each film I’m making, like a blog. It comes in really handy because I don’t need a notebook. If I’m in a bar and someone talks to me about something, I can immediately write it down on my cell phone and besides, it allows me to post in all kinds of media — music, text, photographs, video… I’ve also been very inspired by other arts — I feel that cinema is an art where everything is too planned, that won’t have any unforeseen events… For me, that’s not combinable with making art.

“So a film must not be the pure and simple execution of a plan, even a plan that is personal to you, and even less a plan that is someone else’s. [...] For me, improvisation is fundamental to the creation of cinema.”
- 1966. Bresson, Bresson on Bresson, 286-287

“La faculté de bien me servir de mes moyens diminue lorsque leur nombre augmente.” Bresson, Notes sur le cinematographe

Clara Jost finished her master’s thesis in August 2022 at KASK, in Gent. If you’d like to read “Au hasard, Cinema: Thoughts on the location of cinema in space and time”, you can reach her at