a film by Paulo Malafaya

A 17-minute flight in which I document and reflect on about a year and a half of my life. An ode to myself through a hand-held camera and a montage that offers a vision of a personal solar system. Between the search for images, boredom and dance.

NOVOCINE: How long ago was this film made?

Paulo Malafaia: It was almost 5 years ago, which is scary when you think about it, but I also feel that time has really passed since that time because I am very different now. The strangest thing is to think that the first time I went to Lisbon was at the film’s premiere in IndieLisboa and that cycle of my life started with Somewhere and has already ended, I am no longer living in Lisbon.

NC: Was it your first film?

PM: First and only film, although I have some projects on hold.

NC: Which cinematographic references are important to you?

PM: This question is strangely difficult to answer, which annoys me, and I was thinking about why. Right now, I simply don’t have many references that I consider important in cinema and I’ve been more influenced by other artistic areas and sources. Obviously there are films I like more and films that have left a mark on me but I don’t know how they relate to the work I do. Much of what I have recently seen and loved is not necessarily a reference for my work and many of the things that are references for my work have been things like coolers, materials, clothing, people, conversations, objects, places, music, etc.
I think the difficulty I have in naming cinematographic references also arises from a hangover of being a student and carrying a list of references prepared to throw at teachers or paste into reports. And although I don’t think that’s particularly bad, many of those references are outdated or are simply so exhausted in my head from having cited them several times that I question whether they still make sense or if, in fact, everything is a reference, even things that I don’t identify with and don’t like. I also admit that I may be less aware of the presence of specific references I might have. I think the reason for this happening is related to how we consume art, and the hierarchies we place, or not, on what we consume. I’m a bit tired of those ways of looking at things. Although I understand why it's fun to watch a movie and then give it a rating on Letterboxd, for example. But that doesn't make much sense to me anymore.
That said, obviously I have favourite films and filmmakers, but in terms of direct references for my work, I'm not so sure anymore if I'm interested in understanding and identifying them myself. And it doesn't make much sense to search for names to answer this question; it would make sense to name them if they naturally came to mind, and they don't.

NC: Jonas Mekas is mentioned in one of your synopsis.

PM: At the time, I wrote that synopsis somewhat as a way to justify my film for the school report and to include references to make it seem better, because I was also afraid the film wouldn't be understood by the PAA jury. I hadn't even thought it would be used as the synopsis for festivals because it doesn't make much sense for his name to be there. I didn't make the short because of him or inspired by him. But the film changed after seeing Song of Avignon (and Container), especially regarding the voice-over. At the same time, I even find it amusing that his name is in that synopsis because it sort of fits the film, even if it's in a genre, but maybe it also closes it off and is an easy association. That said, Jonas Mekas was undoubtedly a very important reference and an artist whose work has been very special to me. I was filming a lot in a diary format before discovering him, and when I saw Song of Avignon (1998), everything made sense. It was one of the first times I saw someone's work and identified with it, as if we had similar needs and started from places that intersect, and that shook me a lot.

NC: How do you look at the film with distance?

PM: I like it. Above all, I'm grateful to have made it and to have encapsulated such a crucial time in my life the way I did. Not only because I was in high school and everything that time of life brings, but also as a way to document my life, the people around me who marked me so much, and what was important to me. Since I don't film so daily and intensively anymore, I think I also have an affection for having done it and I can understand why I did it then and not now. It was something I took somewhat for granted and was very normal for me because it was something I simply felt the need to do. It's nice to revisit the film, but I don't like to do it regularly. Also because seeing the things that are there (and behind those images) is intense because it says a lot about who I was, both things I already knew and things I didn't realize at the time. But there's also a lot of love I feel when I watch it again.

NC: Do you want to make more films?

PM: I would love to make more films, just because ideas and desires keep coming that are simply meant to exist in that format.

NC: More moving image or more still image?

PM: Both!

NC: What are you currently doing?

PM: Currently, I haven't been producing much either because I moved to Belgium and have been busy in other ways. But when time or inclination for work arises, photography and writing have been at the forefront, despite video always being present.

NC: Artistically, what themes are you focused on, what work processes?

PM: Now my work has revolved a lot around self-portraits and angels. I can’t set myself free from that, although I haven't done any self-portraits for too long for my taste...

directing, script, camera & sound PAULO MALAFAYA executive producer EASR music DOLMEN MUSIC, MEREDITH MONK