BERLIN: Claudia Llosa and the cast of Aloft talk about the healing process.
Aloft, which enjoyed its world premiere in Berlin and screened in competition last night, is Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s second feature film after the award-winning The Milk of Sorrow.
Aloft is a story about responsibility and radical new beginnings. Llosa deems it her responsibility as an artist and filmmaker to raise questions without necessarily providing all the answers.
According to her we are now living “in a time, in a world that is full of unbelief and distrust and we don’t know how to trust anymore and we don’t know what to think anymore”.
In her opinion, the fact that life is sometimes confusing and that the idea of forgiveness is a miracle sums up the film.
Llosa is not interested in judging her characters or whether their decision is right or wrong but merely in “how complex and how human they are. I just try to allow their process to be as natural as it can”.
The idea of art is highly important in the film but it is not art in itself that matters to her as “art is just a channel, just like a cable of electricity that in itself doesn’t serve but just channels the light” making it important for humans to find a way of channeling their emotions and their life.
She understands healing with art, just like in The Milk of Sorrow, her first feature that won her the Golden Bear five years ago.
In that sense, the actress Mélanie Laurent, who was three months pregnant during the shoot, adds that everything is in the head: “I think we decide a lot of things but we don’t know how powerful our brain is… We have to work on a lot of things.”
For actor William Shimell, the power of the mind is underestimated: “Western medicine puts everything in boxes and gives you a pill to take… There is, I think, power that western medicine simply cannot release. Perhaps there’s another way.”
For Llosa, she considers working on this film as a gift: “The process was so human, so wonderful, so sincere.”
Being able to make the film with that cast and crew, being able to tell them her story and the fact that they were immediately interested was a dream, in spite of the challenge of directing the film in English despite that to her, language is only a means, not an end.
The cast and crew felt deeply about working with one another right from the start. For instance, lead actress Jennifer Connelly saw The Milk of Sorrow and found it “breathtaking” and as soon as she read the script, she knew she wanted to be involved.
“I felt very strongly about it. I thought it was remarkable,” she said. Cillian Murphy and Mélanie Laurent had “pretty much the same experience”.
Looking at the global nature of film today, Murphy added: “It’s sort of becoming smaller, you get people working from all over the world, you get the best people in the world.
“But the stories are universal and if you tell the stories well, hopefully that would appeal to wherever you show the picture.”