BISFF Correspondence 通信计划
为了跨越种种障碍，开辟更多交流空间，我们设置了“BISFF Correspondence 通信计划”，对部分国际单元的参展作者进行系列访谈，这些访谈将在作品放映后发布在联展各个媒体平台。
This program involves conducting brief email interviews with the directors of the international films featured in the festival, in lieu of the traditional Q&A session that follows the screenings. Through this program, we hope to provide a platform for filmmakers to discuss their work and share their insights with our audience in China.
KIBONUMWE / METEORITE I ｜ 一致 / 陨石 I
Germany, Rwanda｜Kinyarwanda, English｜0:12:00｜2022｜
Director导演: Simon Rittmeier
Q1: Can you clarify why you opted for a mockumentary to delve into a particular and realistic social issue related to gentrification? Why black-and-white Super 8 mm? How did this form aid you in conveying the story? Or did you face any challenges in expressing yourself through this style while filming and editing?
A1: First of all, given the length of the film and the way it was shot, I prefer to call this form "fake reporting". Instead of traditional investigative journalism that emphasizes real numbers and people, I found a poetic approach to investigating the story of the missing meteorite more effective. I hope the audience will have more questions or confusion - what did I just see? Is it true or made up? Are these characters actors or local residents?
So why choose to shoot on black and white Super 8mm film? For me, the film’s atmospheric grains create a painterly effect, they slide between reality and fiction. It really creates a utopian atmosphere. I like to think of these pictures presented by "Super 8" as "image thinking" rather than simply referring to a simple image. They are not obvious, they are vague, and they are not targeted; instead of showing reality, they are actually intended to be far away from reality. The audience is therefore required to construct their own image in their imagination, which may initially have nothing at all to do with the director's own ideas. This is no problem at all.
Q2: In this short film, the meteorite is a significant metaphor. On the one hand, the stories of the meteorite represent a grand and public history and memory that most native people living in the area are familiar with. On the other hand, as one of the characters points out, “Meteorite is a small thing that surprisingly passes in th sky, it passes once and can only be seen by one person. You should avoid telling your friend about it”. And you also mentioned that “everyone has their own personal memory”. This raises the question of whether the film also explores the contrast between the public memory of history and myth versus personal memory and narrative.
A2: Yes, very well said. I remember very clearly that in 2004, at a very specific location in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda - next to an intersection in the community where I lived at the time, there was a large stone lying there, which was what people called a "meteorite" . But due to urban planning and neighborhood improvements, this place no longer exists. Returning here again after being away for ten years, these changes are rapid and astonishing to me.
However, for those who have been living in Kigali, they have witnessed and been part of the development of society. Old buildings disappear and new ones are built. These changes may be positive or negative, I don’t want to judge. The concept of “gentrification” carries with it a negative connotation that can be misleading. But I'm interested in finding those lost places. They only exist in my memory.
And as I searched for memories of my time in Rwanda, I also tried to unravel the mystery—I visited local residents and told them what I remembered. But for different reasons, things went the other way - they didn't understand what I was looking for; I became a complete outsider, a foreigner. In addition, I cannot express myself accurately in the local language, which undoubtedly adds to the communication barrier. But even if there were no language issues, the process would still be difficult. On the one hand, it has been a long time ago; on the other hand, when I can only express it in "words", it will definitely go through the process of being "translated".
Everyone understands the questions I raise in their own way. This resulted in me getting so many different answers and stories. And every story is related to the person who tells the story and some specific places. Not only that, the camera also recorded that I, a white foreigner who kept asking questions, broke into their lives in Rwanda in 2022, holding a camera and recording equipment.
Q3: The opening sequence of the film caught my attention immediately. It showed a woman (not sure) manicuring her hand and placing it under a nail lamp. I am curious to know why this sequence was chosen as the opening and how it relates to the film's overall topic?
A3: Those are my own hands. I always go to the same salon to get my nails done. This process is very relaxing. I don't really like chatting in this situation. For me, it is a moment of silence, as if time has stopped flowing.
Q4: I was impressed by many of the scenes and lines in the film. I also felt a strong sense of calmness and control behind all these images. One example that stood out was a man's voiceover saying, "The meteorite pierced through the ground, and it basically disturbing the peace, the status quo, or the way things are." This was combined with a scene where two groups of completely static images were displayed until the end of the second scene, when the man slightly moved his hand. I felt as though I was reading a poem. However, I am curious about the source of this sense of control and restraint. Is the great uncertainty of social impact and social change brought by gentrification bringing about this sense of control?\
A4: Indeed so. I really like the concept of "freeze posing". For example, in that paragraph, the character in the scene is motionless, holding a meteorite just picked up from the backyard - that stone seems to be showing you a period of time, telling you what just happened - just Just now, a meteorite fell next to you. Then reporters rushed to the scene and wanted to record their postures with photos. In these photos of people, people were "writing" and describing history with their bodies.
In the second set of scenes, we also see a woman lying on a bed, looking sick or tired. The inspiration for this scene is a real incident that happened to Ms. Ann Hodges. On November 30, 1954, Ann was nearly killed by a meteorite falling from the sky while she was lying on the sofa in her living room in Alabama. The meteorite passed through the roof and destroyed part of the sofa, but she escaped with only minor burns on her skin.
Q5: In writing the script, did you consider the identity of the “interviewees”? For instance, their class, gender or social background?