Sophie Barthes is a Franco-American filmmaker. Her directorial debut, “Cold Souls,” was launched by Samuel Goldwyn and performed in competitors on the Sundance Film Festival. Her second characteristic, “Madame Bovary,” was launched in 2015 after premiering at Telluride.
“The Pod Generation” is screening on the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, which runs from January 19-29.
W&H: Describe the movie for us in your individual phrases.
SB: “The Pod Generation” is a thought-provoking humanistic surrealist satire a couple of society head over heels in love with know-how. Set within the not-so-distant future, my goal with this movie is to boost questions on our relationship to know-how and the the potential penalties of its unregulated intrusion into our intimacy.
This is the story of a pair and the gestation of their child in a man-made womb. The tone is playful and satirical with incursions into profound complicated feelings round parenthood.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
SB: I’ve a dream journal and once I was anticipating my daughter I wrote down all of the extremely unusual goals I had throughout my being pregnant. The goals had been so vivid, poetic, and unsettling that I wished to place them in a movie.
I additionally was very influenced by “Brave New World.” I learn it as a pre-teen and the ebook had a profound impact on me. I really like science fiction as a style and all of the potential philosophical questions it raises. But unusually in movie, the sci-fi style may be very male dominated. I’m excited by exploring “feminine science fiction” on-screen. I’m unsure methods to outline it exactly, however hopefully once you’ll see the movie you’ll perceive what I imply.
It doesn’t have to comply with all of the tropes of basic sci-fi movies: interplanetary warfare, aliens, time journey, parallel universes, monsters. I feel you may create sci-fi with themes and points which are very relatable, nearly a part of our day by day lives however give it a twist that makes it sci-fi. It’s the “What if…” state of affairs. What if infants might gestate in pods? What could be the implications for us people? I’m additionally very drawn to the concept of the commodification of all the pieces. In my first movie, human souls could possibly be extracted and shops to alleviate us from our existential burden. In this movie, the “ultra solution” for moms is the synthetic womb. But is it actually the answer?
W&H: What would you like folks to consider after they watch the movie?
SB: First of all, I might love for the viewers to “feel” one thing for the movie after which to assume! I feel the great thing about presenting a movie to an viewers is that every viewers member is exclusive, so every response is all the time private and distinctive. Films function like mirrors: we mission a part of ourselves on the movie. It’s not a one-way relationship. I feel a movie tries to convey concepts, an aesthetic expertise, feelings, and many others., however the viewers members additionally mission their very own life expertise on the movie.
I simply hope this movie will make the viewers chuckle at instances — because it’s a satire — and in addition take into consideration their relationship to know-how at the moment: is it a wholesome relationship? Does it appear unhinged? Why are we so seduced by know-how? What does it say about us as species? I additionally hope it would assist girls to really feel that there isn’t any “perfect mother’ and that it is totally fine to be the “good enough” mom, as British pediatrician Donald Winnicott mentioned. My feeling is that there isn’t any “ultra solution.”
W&H: What was the largest problem in making the movie?
SB: Getting the financing collectively was an ordeal. I wished to shoot in New York however everybody within the U.S. noticed this mission as too dangerous. It’s a visually bold movie. I couldn’t make it for a low finances. When I understood I wouldn’t get it financed within the U.S. I regarded for financing in Europe and made the movie as a European co-production. I feel it’s been 4 years within the making!
W&H: How did you get your movie funded?
SB: The movie was made independently as a European co-production which is all the time a mixture of international gross sales, delicate cash, regional funds, tax credit score or tax shelter, fairness, and a few hole financing.
W&H: What impressed you to change into a filmmaker?
SB: When I first watched Woody Allen’s “The Purple Rose of Cairo” as a baby in a movie show, I used to be utterly blown away and that feeling all the time stayed with me. My dad and mom had been cinephiles and, nearly as good French dad and mom, they by no means actually censored the movies we might watch. So very early on I keep in mind watching movies by Bergman, Godard, Kubrick, Westerns, Chaplin, Fellini, and many others.
I used to be by no means allowed to look at cartoons or Disney movies as a baby. My mom all the time thought kids ought to have entry to raise tradition even when they might not grasp all the pieces, one thing would stick. I’m very grateful to her at the moment.
W&H: What’s the most effective and worst recommendation you’ve acquired?
SB: The finest recommendation was from my husband, Andrij Parekh, who occurs to be a really gifted cinematographer : to by no means quit filmmaking. even when it was very tough career-wise and heartbreaking at instances. I keep in mind him telling me, “Well if you give up now, you would have just given up.”
The worst recommendation I acquired was most likely from myself! Not trusting my instincts or doubting an excessive amount of. I feel we may be our worse enemies at instances!
W&H: What recommendation do you’ve gotten for different girls administrators?
SB: We are very fortunate that that is the second for feminine administrators! When I began 14 years in the past it was rather more tough. I feel it’s a great second to be a feminine director as a result of audiences are open to female-driven motion pictures and tales which have attention-grabbing issues to say and discover about girls. So seize the second!
I feel my recommendation could be the identical because the one I as soon as acquired: if that is your true ardour, by no means quit. It’s like crusing: there will likely be tough waters and storms however when the crusing is easy it’s the most exhilarating occupation you may dream of. It is such a posh and attention-grabbing occupation.
W&H: Name your favourite woman-directed movie and why.
SB: I completely love Agnès Varda’s “Cléo from 5 to 7.” It’s probably the most poetic, heartbreaking, aesthetic, and shifting portrait of a girl who spends two hours strolling throughout Paris whereas ready for the results of a biopsy. It’s a couple of lady confronting her vulnerability and mortality however it’s additionally an ode to life. The movie has an excellent female sensibility. And I really like that it nearly looks like a documentary. The cinematography is easy however attractive. It’s a lesson in cinema.
W&H: What, if any, obligations do you assume storytellers need to confront the tumult on this planet, from the pandemic to the lack of abortion rights and systemic violence?
SB: As filmmakers it’s our obligation to confront significant political points and lift questions. Personally, I don’t perceive cinema as mere leisure. I feel movies have an obligation to say one thing significant about humanity. It may be carried out by way of comedy, satire, all types of genres. I don’t imply the movies need to be “serious,” however they should say one thing attention-grabbing. Films shouldn’t be lectures and hammer messages, however they need to discover themes and feelings that open up the dialogue and make us perceive a bit higher the human situation.
W&H: The movie business has an extended historical past of underrepresenting folks of coloration onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — detrimental stereotypes. What actions do you assume must be taken to make Hollywood and/or the doc world extra inclusive?
SB: I feel as administrators we have to solid as racially various as potential so audiences see on-screen a world that displays the fact round us, not a assemble that’s all white.