Diegesis chatted with director Brian McGuire and actress Polly McIntosh about indie influences, working together and the three R's.
“What do you do? How do you do it? What should you do? What do you trust; your head or your heart, and can they be the same? I don’t know. I don’t know who to choose. I don’t know who to love, fuck, and/or stay away from.”
Templeton (Terry Wayne) is the so-called pervert protagonist of Prevertere, a modern day Casanova whose “quest for love”, as the tagline tells us, takes him on a journey between three women: Shelly (Antonella Ponziani), obsessively jealous, and rightly so; the beautifully quirky Irene (Pollyanna McIntosh), who has agreed to sleep with Templeton once a year for life; and bright and breezy Jo-Anne (Rose Rossi) with whom he gets the closest to experiencing a “normal” relationship. Directed by Brian McGuire, his fourth feature, the premise of the film is “sometimes you have to show your dirty side before you can fall in love”. Although the film is preoccupied with sex and sexuality, it is not a shocking as the set up suggests.
Prevertere is definitely not a genre film. The low budget indie is slow paced and character driven. It emphasises a naturalistic style, with simplistic cinematography involving lots of fixed camerawork, repeated close ups of actors to help the audience relate to the characters and the locations are limited. This contrasts with an unnatural, quite theatrical construction at times. Early on, a party takes place at “The G Spot”, an upmarket but tacky Las Vegas residence, where a handful of characters bump and grind in the living room to a European techno beat. It’s awkward, odd and comical, although it is not clear to what extent it is supposed to be.
For a film that places so much emphasis on character it is a shame that the protagonist is so hard to relate to. Templeton is distant and irritating. His sexual pursuit makes him hard to relate to and positioning him at the centre is the film’s main flaw. The three women offer something more complex and intriguing. Pollyanna McIntosh, who appears in Filth (2013) alongside James McAvoy, presents a more likeable character in Irene whose playfulness hides her vulnerability. The women invite us to follow their roles in the story, even if the central character does not.
Far from the mainstream multiplex product, Prevertere is unpolished and not glamorised and should find a comfortable audience in the indie crowd who, like McGuire, are nostalgic for the spaces and characters created by Jim Jarmusch, Todd Solondz and Alexandre Rockwell in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is stripped back and leaves it to the characters to tell the story of how sexual and self-obsession can overpower meaningful relationships.
Diegesis / There are some clear directorial influences in your film Brian, David Lynch in particular, yet the overall film is very unique and modern.
McGuire: David Lynch's name and describing the Vegas party scene has happened a lot. I truly did not see it coming. When I wrote the scene and shot it, I was going off memories of real weirdo crack out after parties I had been witness to back in the old party days. Party scenes in movies always feel unreal and too amazing and too pretty. I had not been to too many parties like that. Most the parties I had been to were scary and strange. It always felt like someone could get shot or O.D. at anytime.
Diegesis / Which filmmakers were you inspired by and what was the overall effect that you were looking for?
McGuire: Jim Jarmusch, Todd Solondz, Richard Linklater and Alexander Rockwell would be the filmmakers I was thinking of most when making Prevertere. Actually I was thinking of the whole golden period of the 90s. So many strange and fun films seem to get made. Films with lots of color and creativity in the story. Films with risk and a voice. The films where sometimes they're rough around the edges due to lack of budget or low tech gear. So my goal from the beginning was to bring a feel of the 90's into the way the film would be made from writing, to editing.
Of course I could go on and write a list of other films and filmmakers that helped my brain to complete Prevertere. I love John Cassavetes and his spirit and style. He's always an influence. And the film Buffalo 66 (1998) should be mentioned. I always try to steal from that perfect film.
Diegesis Magazine / You've mentioned that the story is "relatable in an emotional and humorous way". What in particular about the story do you feel is relatable?
McGuire: I really wanted to make a film that you could feel within the three stories in the film, with the three different woman. I believe that most people have lived through or have been a part of one of the dynamics of one of these relationships. Maybe people have had a booty call situation where they were perhaps feeling guilty for being involved with someone who is falling in love for you. Your head and heart is somewhere else but you keep going back. Or maybe you have found yourself in a secret relationship with someone you can tell everything but you would never ever work as a couple. Or you have dealt with an on again off again girlfriend. If you have ever dated, this movie is for you.
Diegesis Magazine / What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
McGuire: Please tell original stories and please stop playing it safe. There is no more need to try and make a film specific for a film festival. With technology and how cheap it can be to make a film, we really should be making movies that are wacko and inventive. And I believe some creative films are on the rise.
Diegesis Magazine / Polly, What attracted you to the role of Irene?
McIntosh: The three R's: Realism, Ridicularity and Randiness. Good character, good script, good director. It was an easy choice.
Diegesis Magazine / You've done a lot of acting in the theatre. How did working on Prevertere compare?
McIntosh: Brian's scripts are usually dialogue driven which is similar to plays of course. There's also an immediate ease in working with his team and as we were using real locations with playful sets (like the great cardboard city built in the sitting room) and playing dress up was a bit like doing a play for the small crew at times. Whatever I'm doing I like to immerse myself totally in it and this was very much the case with Prevertere.
Diegesis Magazine / What can we expect from you in the future? Are you planning to work together again?
McGuire: I have much desire to work with Polly again. We have been old homies for a while now. I love her brain and drive. Her talent is scary good! Oh yes and she is a god damn knock out of a woman who can make you laugh until you pee yourself. We are talking about a couple ideas and I know one of them will happen and I am sure this will be sooner rather than later. I have also recently finished my newest film which I am calling a masterpiece of chaos. The title of the film is "WiNdOw LiCkEr" take a look: www.window-licker.com
McIntosh: I would love to work together again and am sure we will. Brian is a dude who is continually creative, I feel very lucky to count him as a dear friend. I have a few movies coming out and I'm almost finished with my own screenplay - Perfect - so I'm looking forward to shooting that next year. Those interested can keep up with me on Twitter and Facebook.