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。
Signal GPS perdu
GPS signal lost｜GPS信号丢失
Q：The first question is: why do you choose the Knight of the Cart in numerous Romance of Chivalry, do you mean that anyone who is looking for true love can be called a knight, or does this chapter mean some special for you?
A：Ha ha! I think any important quest, whether for true love or for something else, can make you a knight. It depends on the intensity you give it. I would rather say that this novel means something very special for me. It resonated a lot with my own experience as a gay teenager and a young gay man, and the depicted quest is very similar to what the character of the film is living on the dating app and in the woods: something about forbidden love and spirituality. This is why it was important for me to include it in the film.
In this 12th century story, the knight Lancelot searches for his missing queen, with whom he is in love. It is a forbidden love (because it is adultery), as well as the film character’s unassumed homosexual desire, and his quest for God in an apparently atheistic world. This love is so strong, howerver, that it urges the knight to a long and obstinate quest, made up of prerequisites. It begins with shame: his love for the queen drive him to jump on a kart, which was a symbol of great shame at that time (this is how criminals where exposed in villages). Later, crossing the Sword Bridge is another decisive moment in his quest, where his devotion takes on a spiritual and Christ-like aspect. In this French Middle Age tale, the author Chrétien de Troyes transfers monastic love to courtly love, and blends desire and faith. It relates to the character's questions: are love quest and spiritual quest similar ? Or do they have their own and separate path ?
然而，这份爱又如此的强烈，强烈到它推着骑士开始了一场漫长而顽强的探险，而这个探险有种某种命定之感。这场探险从羞辱开始：他对皇后的爱促使他跳上了一辆马车，这在当时是一种极大的羞辱的象征（在当时这是罪犯被游街示众的方式）。随后他又面临了另一个决定性的选择，在这个选择中他以一种精神的、基督式的做出了牺牲。在这个法国的中世纪故事中，作者Chrétien de Troyes将宗教式的爱转变为一种世俗宫廷意义上的爱，将欲望与信仰融合在一起，而这个故事又联系着影片中主人公的疑问：寻求爱情与寻找本心是否殊途同归，抑或是这两者实际上大相径庭？
Q：Second, it’s very obvious that love is the theme of this video, at the same time you named this video, I think this title not only describe the adventure happened in the journey of Deer-chasing, but also the sick gay dating phenomenon, do I understand correctly, and can you explain it further？
第二，很明显，这段视频的主题是爱，同时你们给这个视频命名为《GPS Signal lost》，我觉得这个名字不仅描述了追鹿之旅中发生的冒险，也描述了不正常的同性恋约会现象，不知道我的理解是否正确，或者您能进一步的解释一下这个标题吗？
A：Rather than describing the gay dating phenomenon, I would say that the title, Signal GPS lost, describes the character’s journey: getting lost in his own inner spaces – the gay desire and the desire for spirituality. Some people said the film criticises the dating apps, by showing how cold and dehumanised they are. But to me they are not necessarily dehumanised, and the film is not a criticism of them, nor of their users who would loose their ability to communicate on it and get lost. The lack of signal is rather on the character’s side: he gets lost also because he doesn’t dare to communicate clearly. He always stays on the doorstep of communication. The film tells the story of taking that step to approach one’s desires.
He goes deeper and deeper in the forest, and, at one point, the GPS tracking, which is his tool to approach his desires on the app and with the deer, doesn’t work anymore: what he is looking for seems impossible to locate, and he is, in a way, lost in himself. It’s a bit funny and ironical: you can see it as the smartphone failure (that is, no technical tool will help him to find love or spirituality, because he is indeed looking for something much bigger than what the geolocating system can offer), but you can see it also as the character failure: he went so far in non interacting that – cherry on the cake – he even looses the connection.
Above all, this particular sequence, when the sound message；‘Signal GPS lost’ pops up, is a moment of silence and suspended time. A moment of anxious loneliness, and of letting go, or giving in: the things that could help him to control the situation, whether to experience spiritual or gay desire, doesn’t help anymore. It refers to a religious state of mind: a suspended will, to let things in God’s hands. It happens after the app told him to ‘take the plunge’, and after Lancelot crossed the deadly Sword-Bridge.
It’s a moment of loss and stillness that leads to communication: afterwards, a dialogue happens. The character finally accepts to talk with someone. You could say that he remained on the doorstep of communication until this moment, and from the deeper part of the forest, he finally decides to enter the dialogue.
Q：Third, this video is shot by white and black super 8mm, why do you choose this form, are you intend to make audiences mess the medieval age and nowadays during watching? Can I think that this representation form also represent your nostalgia?
A：Yes, I think it relates to my nostalgia, but most importantly, it nourishes the time travel, as you mention.
I wanted to create images difficult to situate in time, almost like archives. It is part of the different layers and anachronisms the film tries to gather and superimpose: the Middle Age novel read in old French and the GPS tracking, the clean digital dating app and the grainy Super 8... which relates to the colliding things in the character quests: his quest for gay love, set in a contemporary gay identity (associated with the dating app), and his hidden quest for the absolute and Christian spirituality, that relates to ancient times and to eternity. Assembling these heterogeneous elements illustrates the character's questions: can his desires in apparent tension, human desire and desire for the absolute, coexist?
In this inner journey, I also strongly wanted to make the audience feel the time flowing by. With Super 8, I could feel it during the shooting: when you press the camera trigger, you can ear and feel the film unroling vertically in the camera gate. And you can feel it in return as a viewer: the film flows by on the screen in front of you, in a slow and very regular way, like water. The best representation of this, I think, is the sequence of the waterfal: there, the effervescent water and the grainy film flow by verticaly together.
I also deliberately used Super 8 ‘against type’, in a very counter-intuitive way. Super 8 cameras are light and made to be held by hand: they allow you to make a lot of mouvements (same as Single 8 cameras, that were maybe more famous in Asia), but I’ve chosen to shoot on a tripod most of the time, and to attach strongly the camera. It’s part of the process of dis-embodying: in his questions about desire (how to take the step of my desires? Are they allowed or possible?), the character censored himself and became bodyless: he is only a voice and an eye, and the still images convey this disembodied aspect. By the way, it mirrors and emphasises the cinema viewers experience: to become only ears and eyes, and to stay still in the dark until the end of the film. The paradox of this apparatus is that the sound gives a huge presence to the character’s body in return (which is actually my body). The body comes back through the sound.
I also used Super 8 in a structural way. Originally, the film rhythm was derived from the length of the small Super 8 reels as they appear after being developed (about 3 minutes 20 seconds at eighteen frames per second). This time-length helped the editor Sébastien Demeffe and me to set a kind of metrical framework for the film movement – like the octosyllable verses in Lancelot’s novel. I wanted a regular and repetitive structure, to create a liturgical or ceremonial unfolding, and to carry the meditative dimension of the film. This mechanical aspect leads you to let go and to gradually get into its pace. In this, I was very inspired by Jean-Claude Rousseau’s work, a French filmmaker I admire. I was particularly inspired by his film La vallée close (The enclosed valley).
同时，我也有意的以一种反直觉的方式来使用“SUPER 8”毫米相机以“反类型化”。“SUPER 8”相机比较轻便可以手持，拍摄者可以用这个相机做比较多的动作（和在亚洲比较知名的“SINGLE 8”相机一样）。但我选择将“SUPER 8”相机固定在三脚架上进行拍摄，通过这种方式以实现影片的“去肉身化”：当角色对自身产生某种疑问时（比如：如何踏出追寻欲望的那一步？我可以这么做吗？），主人公主动地抹除了自己的肉体仅仅留下了耳朵和眼睛，而这种固定机位的拍摄恰好能够体现这种“去肉身化”的感觉。另一方面，以“SUPER 8”相机进行的固定机位拍摄也象征和映射出观众的观影体验：在观影中直到影片结束前观众都必须呆在一片黑暗中，而只剩下耳朵和眼睛仍然存在，肉身则被抹除。
“Super 8”相机同时也影响了这部影片的结构，影片的剪辑是基于冲洗后的小型“Super 8”胶卷的长度进行的（一卷胶卷时长大约是3分20秒，每秒18帧）。这个时间长度帮助了剪辑师Sébastien Demeffe和我为影片节奏设定韵律框架——如同兰斯洛特小说中的八音节诗一般。我希望影片呈现一种规律的、反复的结构，从而实现内容礼拜式的、仪式性的的展开，并由此达成影片的诗意性。这种影片结构能够引导观众逐渐进入影片的节奏中。在这一点上，我很崇拜的法国导演Jean-Claude Rousseau的作品给了我很大的启发，他的电影《封闭的山谷》（La vallée close）给了我很大的启发。
Q：Fourth, I have noticed that in the scenario about gay dating app Bellow, You seems to have thought a lot about the ID ‘Desire’ and ‘Blue Bear’ is it a coincidence? If not, could you explain further?
A：Indeed, the users’ names appearing on the app have meanings. They reflect the character’s journey. First, ‘Bellow’, the name of this fictional app, is the sound of a deer calling for love. ‘Desire’ is almost an allegory of the character’s own desire. When this ID appears, the character hesitates over blocking him, the same way he hesitates over blocking his own desire, by being on the app, but not answering any message on it, nor interacting. This name, Desire, also refers to the allegories in Middle Age novels: we can find them in The Knight of the Cart, for instance, where Love and Reason are personified. Same in Le livre du coeur d'amour épris (The book of the love-smitten heart) by René d'Anjou, where all the characters are allegories of feelings and inner self: Heart, Desire, Reason, Mercy... I think this was the way European Middle Age would talk about psychology – a beautiful way, to me.
Through those ID, the film also twists gay categories. Bears, otters, wolves are originally gay categories that describes different types of body (hairy, thin or not...). Here, they somehow become part of the magical creatures in the forest the Knight proceeds in. 'Blue Bear' seemed nice enough – it's almost a blue teddy bear. He is the one that the character decides to talk to. He appears when the character finally decides to open up to someone, to take the plunge of communication.
当然了，这些出现在软件上的用户名都有特定的含义。他们象征着主人公的这次旅程。首先，“Bellow”这个虚构的交友软件的名字的含义是鹿发情的声音。“Desire”则指涉着主人公的欲望。当‘Desire’这个ID第一次出现时，主人公曾经犹豫是否要把他拉入黑名单，就如同他通过在软件中拒绝互动、回复消息一样来将自己的欲望“拉入黑名单”。这种将名称寓言化的方式也同样可见于中世纪的小说寓言中，例如在《马车骑士》中爱（Love）与理性（Reason）就被赋予了人格，在勒内一世的《痴情的心之书》（Le livre du coeur d'amour épris）中，书中所有人物都象征着情感与内心自我：真心、欲望、理性、仁爱……我想这就是中世纪的人们谈论内心、谈论情感的一种方式，对我来说，这很浪漫。