Interview with the Director of Moment in Time

And now for something different! Robert Orlando wrote and directed Moment in Time. Here are excerpts from our interview.

NOIR: What process led you to create the story for Moment in Time?

ROBERT ORLANDO: For some time, I had an inner impression of what kind of a story I wanted to tell and although it was probably not clear at first, I knew what it would look and feel like. I also felt that the film should generally start as a linear story, that planted seeds of mixed perception, but later would necessarily graduate into the abstract.

NOIR: To me, the inner struggle is Vincent's, and it's quite Oedipal! Where did that come from?

RO: Less Freud's Oedipal and more Jung's (Aristotle's) Anima. I take Jung more on this with his observations, much like the yin yang, the feminine masculine principle -- anima and animus. That we find our other selves because they represent this powerful other part for a "moment" making us complete--Universal if you will. This can also be a mix that transcends a strict interpretation of male/female categories, but nevertheless for the most part I believe they exist.

I also think the mother-thing is quite powerful in Latin culture. Consider the role that Mary plays in Catholicism, compared to the Protestant intepretation of her role in the church. Or the mediterranean religions like Dionysius, Isis, etc, etc. There is a powerful connection between men and the sensual role of the female. It's not mental or conscious, but almost like a primal connection, eternal, if I can say. A lot of the mother/son relationship playing into that -- very Italian!

NOIR: Parts of Moment in Time are reminiscent of David Lynch and Roman Polanski. Are these filmmakers who inspire you? If not, who did you have in mind consciously or subsconsciously when you made Moment in Time?

RO: It's interesting how you mention Roman Polanski because although I was always impressed by his films, I never considered him an influence. There's definitely a dark side to his genius and an angst that is uncommon, but I think that's it. Lynch was not a strong influence until more recently with Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive. I've never seen Twin Peaks and could not make it through Wild at Heart, although I was busy at the time.

If I had to try and pick out my influences I would have to say Fellini, and definitely Bergman, not to mention Orson Welles's less popular films like The Stranger, Lady from Shanghi and of course Touch of Evil. Not in a literal sense, but in the sense of the subjective direction, people alone in the universe, a lot of dark spaces. I was also severely limited because of the lack of resources and such to really flush out my own style. I could only take short puffs of inspiration and not exhale after deep breaths. There's so much more to come. But certain people have said from this film and several other scripts that I've completed that this might be my own genre.

For what it's worth I would like to state it for the record that I call it the "Memory Genre." Stories are told in two motions where one moves forward and the second moves back. Characters come to learn of emotions that emerge from the past and begin to dominate the present, like a Henrik Ibsen play.

Ultimately none of us know what our influences are or whether they come from only film as opposed to painting, novels or music. Many times I've conceived (with the mind's eye) of my stories in terms of a fugue rather than a three-act structure, something cyclical rather than linear. In other words it's not that a character has to do something as much as learn something. Consciousness plays a role, much like in Eastern thought. This is where I think I connect with Lynch the most. It's based on action, but transcends action, like a parable.

NOIR: Both the writer and the reader are shaman or seer figures in Moment in Time. Why?

RO: To me the modern is the last in the lineage of the shaman. The shaman went into the cave to confront the unknown and return with a story to tell that could become a ritual. They in a way were the chroniclers of their time. It began with the religious men and women --mystics and then after the enlightenment artists took on this role.

More specifically, I thought using a writer was more familiar to postmodern thought, in that we have come to understand how subjective we are in the mythologizing of our lives, much like a writer. Today studies of the psychology of the brain are pointing toward our selective choice of past, present, and future much like a novelist. We shape meaning from our words (semiotics) and form our perceptions. I wanted to give this process away in the film and say: "you see that is what we all do." We create unconsciously what we want to believe considering the potential for pleasure or pain.

NOIR: The women in the film really impressed me with their performances. Do you enjoy working with actresses more?

RO: Women are amazing to me because although I would like to think of myself as quite intuitive, my orientation still differs significantly from a woman's. Where as the male readers had more why and how questions toward the script, the women formed impressions from moods in the story that were right on the money, and when these moods were not sufficiently flushed out they knew it and I always agreed. They understood the experienced conflict not looking for cause and effect relationship between event and mood, but more situationally: Imagine a person has to live with the question: how can I live having lost the one I love without explanation. And that's enough. It was enough for me for the most part because the truth is who cares what some one does to forget as much as what one does to process the power of these emotions? The very stagnation of action is consisitent with the conflict at hand.

I didn't want a soap opera, so I tried to keep the picture moving with imagery reflecting the inner landscapes also moving. Once again I was also limited in my ability to use locations, lights and action, so it also had to remain an intimate film , like a quartet, not a full orchestra and the movement more vertical, rather than horizontal. The two Annika's (and Annica) are special people and so far have won in the two festivals in which I have entered the film. I take this with great pride as a kid from Brooklyn and some one struggling to balance the typical male sexual impulses with the relational bonds. There's something strong that grows from intimacy and needs to filter the pure male aggression side. My personal challenge was: could I make these women understand not just the characters, or the conflict, but the emotional material I was managing. Very difficult. I don't think I was the best communicator in the world, but I think the film accomplished a lot and the women were very patient.

They really are special people.

NOIR: What would you like the audience to come away with after watching Moment in Time?

RO: Catharsis.

Some one just took me through the same evolution of emotion that I had experienced once before or right now!

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(© NOIR, 2014)