I’ve always been strongly influenced by cinema. I’m rarely interested in photography, but often in videos made by artists. Film stills remain on my mind in a way that’s slightly different from photographs.
Since the first time I watched it in March or April, I've kept a screenshot on my phone from the film Dogtooth (2009) by Yorgos Lanthimos, who represents the new wave in Greek cinema. He also made The Lobster (2015) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017). His films are very visual, and he has what I would call the eye of a photographer. They’re also extremely dark, and Dogtooth leaves you feeling anguished, but it hides its darkness behind a lighter appearance and colourful scenes. The movie as a whole is beautiful, but each individual scene is well orchestrated: if you paused at any moment, you’d have a really interesting still image.
Dogtooth is about an isolated family. The parents keep their kids completely outside the world by creating a fantasy to keep them at home. I have one scene in particular on my mind – the one that I saved on my phone. It depicts a birthday. We don't know whose birthday it is, but of course, only the family is present. At one point, the daughters perform a dance to their brother’s guitar, and it’s terrifyingly awkward. The scene arrives near the end of the film, and a lot of tension has been building. It reaches a point of almost unbearable uneasiness and you know something terrible is bound to happen, and yet it only becomes increasingly absurd.
I’ve grown up with an education in cinema and watched all the classics, so many films made these days don't interest me at all. I’m interested in an experience rather than entertainment. My expectations when it comes to cinema are ridiculously high. When I see a movie, I want it to change my way of thinking, and almost change my life, and Dogtooth does this, in a way. I regularly look at that scene on my phone. I really love the grotesqueness, absurdity and darkness in the film. But it’s hard to watch – almost like witnessing an accident and being unable to look away.