Why Do You Make Films?: Film as a Bridge

By VĂ­ctor Erice

spirit-of-the-beehive-victor-erice.jpgThe Spirit of the Beehive, 1973

Why do I make films? I think it is out of necessity. A necessity with which we try to establish a relationship with others, through a dialogue with the secret interlocutor we all carry inside ourselves. And as Jean Renoir said, many years ago: “a film is made to create a bridge.”

Renoir spoke these words in a time when, for authors and spectators alike, one could maintain an existential relationship with the cinema in a natural, spontaneous manner without intermediaries. Oday, it becomes more problematic to speak in those same terms, when the cinema as we have known it from its time of origin – that is, projected onto a screen – runs the risk of disappearing.

And if, in spite of everything, a person insists on the beautiful expression of Renoir, he or she cannot avoid asking: between which two shores will this bridge stretch; with what images and sounds will it be built; what relations to producers will condition it? The same questions could be asked of a period of crisis which is clothed in a certain intellectual pessimism, and which frequently embraces a dark fear: the fear that the shore where we hope to arrive is already an occupied territory, where a strange force has kidnapped, for the great majority of spectators, the ability to choose, to maintain a critical stance, and to experience an authentic sense of pleasure.

From these restless doubts – but also with the personal conviction that Renoir’s proposition continues to be fully valid – I have tried with all my limitations, to make films, to place myself in relation to others, to extend a bridge.

This was written in response to a question proposed to film directors from various countries by the French newspaper Libération in 1987.

Erice is the maker of Spirit of the Beehive, The South and The Quince Tree Sun.