''Maundy'' by Adriana Marchand: the burning taste of nostalgia
At the eighth edition of the Fabrique du Cinéma Awards, it is young Canadian director Adriana Marchand who wins the "Best International Short Film" award with Maundy. At 25, Maundy is Marchand's film debut as a screenwriter, director, producer and editor.
Set in a summer atmosphere, the short film tells the story of a young man who watches life flow through the window of his family laundromat. One day, some young boys will appear behind that window, bringing up memories of his past.
Our interview with Adriana Marchand reveals the secrets of the making of her short film, and her deep desire in creating art that showcases the talents of the people around her.
You won at the last Fabrique du Cinéma Awards, congratulations again. Were you surprised? Did you see it coming?
I was not expecting to win that night, that was crazy. I thought it was a cool opportunity to go to Italy because I’ve always wanted to go, and it was amazing!
Can you describe your journey to becoming a filmmaker?
I started out in theater, I always thought that the path to get into this world was through acting. As a woman, when you are young it seems like that’s the only direction you can go through, to just become an actress, and you’ll be in the movies. I studied acting for a long time, but I always came back to movies. I was a cinephile from a young age, I remember having slumber parties and making them watch Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock. That was an inclination that I was definitely moving towards. I was always really interested in design, production design, set design, building, sculpting and making spaces. Once I figured out that I could do that and combine it with sound, writing, dialogue and movement, it made sense.
Maundy is your first short film. You are also the screenwriter, where did the idea come from?
It came from a play that I wrote in theater school. I had this concept of this person who worked in a laundromat and would discover things about his customers through the clothes that they brought into the laundromat. The lead actors, Jessie Irving (Mini Maundy) and Rryla McIntosh (Claire), are my best friends. We were sitting in the living room and we were talking about ideas and plays, and I said I had written a play. Jessie said that it sounded incredible and something clicked.
How did you approach the choice of music for the film?
I had written the whole script with the music. Pretty much all the music that you hear in it, I had already pre-selected it just from when I was writing.
Tell us more about your directorial vision...
There was this element of americana to it. Even though we filmed it in Vancouver, it doesn’t look like Vancouver. We wanted to make it very ambiguous to transport people. I always worked in fashion and costuming before, and a lot of my direction also comes with production design. I was making sure everybody had a thematic through line with their clothing, with the space and the coloring. We didn’t have a big crew, I was the one picking up all the clothes, the spaces…
A lot also comes down to empathy. I was making this movie not for myself, I felt a lot of us had so much to say and so much to just feel and show as artists, but we never really get that opportunity in the roles we had casted in here in Vancouver. I truly want to work and uplift the talented people around me. In my future projects, I want to home in whatever my goals or ideas are.
The theme of childhood nostalgia is the main thread in your film. Colors and flavors bring up a world in which we all recognize ourselves. Is there any element of your personal memories in this film?
For sure. The kid who plays Roy, Bradley Mah, looked like me when I was a kid. Also, I’m such a food person, maybe that would be my thing as a director, you will always see someone eating food. We sold out our premiere here in Vancouver and I made sure everyone in the audience had salt vinegar chips. There is a scene where Maundy sits outside the dry-cleaning shop and opens his bag, and you could hear everybody open up their salt vinegar chips at the same time. This man is very depressed, I was just thinking ‘what’s the most painful food?’. Diet Coke and salt vinegar are pain to me, and you could just taste it.
Which filmmakers are you following now?
I’ve been watching a lot of Kelly Reichardt. I also recently watched My Own Private Idaho by Gus Van Sant. Guy Maddin inspires me as well. For this film in particular, I watched Punch-Drunk Love by Paul Thomas Anderson, Synecdoche, New York by Charlie Kaufman, Gummo by Harmony Korine, and a lot of Philip Seymour Hoffman performances; Jessie had this inward quality that I wanted to bring out, so we watched old Joaquin Phoenix films.
by Aurora Caruso