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Competition Section “Ship of Theseus” Press Conference: Notes & Quotes

Competition Section “Ship of Theseus” Press Conference: Notes & Quotes
Date & Time:
October 21st (Sunday), from 17:30 @movie café
Anand Gandhi (Director), Aida El Kashef (Actress)
Ship of Theseus

©2012 TIFF

Here are some notes and quotes:
Q:The film is about people who go through organ transplant depicted in three stories. It was explained that the organs were split among eight people but you only showed three people. Do you have any additional ideas in mind about the fourth or fifth persons?
Anand Gandhi(AG):I did have in mind of a few other stories that I wanted to explore. The fourth draft of the script was with four stories which also had the story of the heart. But by the time we finished our first three stories we realized that we had already made a film about three hours in length. Also, it was very interesting to give the sense of knowing of these other stories yet not knowing about them yet.
Q:Why did you choose to use an Egyptian actress when there are many Indian actresses?
AG:Aida is playing an Egyptian woman living in Bombay, not an Indian character. There are a couple of reasons why I chose an Egyptian living in Bombay. Firstly, I held extensive auditions across the world but I was not convinced that I had found an actress that could play this part. The sense of the part is very global. It could be played by anybody in any part of the world. Secondly, for an outsider in Bombay, there is a sense of being an outsider—there is a sense of having grown up some place else. And for this blind person coming to Bombay from Egypt, she can’t even have a visual experience of the world. I found this paradox very interesting. Lastly, Aida was a discovery. We met in Germany and she decided to assist me in the making of my film. As she was reading the lines of the script, I realized that we had found our actress for the part of the photographer.
Q:How did you develop your role of the photographer?
Aida El Kashef(AEK): I was not conscious of acting since I am not an actress—I’m a filmmaker. I haven’t had any theatrical training of how to act out a blind person so it was all natural. The shooting took place in a flat that I was staying in and it was also the production studio. Everything was so familiar that it almost felt like my own house. Also, we were with the filming crew for a very long time so that is another reason why the acting came about naturally. The dialogue was very precise but it just depended on the real person behind the character.
Q:Was there any kind of intention behind all the walking the actors do in different locations?
AG:I’m very inspired by the thinkers and philosophers of the past century who have put a lot of stress on walking and thinking, such as Gandhi, Jacques Derrida, and Satish Kumar. I’m very fascinated with the image of being physically engaged with your environment. Also, the image of Gandhi walking had been a very strong inspiration in my teenage days. As for the characters in the movie, the way they walked and where they walked came from their personalities. Aida was blind and she would always be exploring the space around her. The monk had a very clear idea of who he was, and lastly, the third man is walking the narrow lanes coming from the high towers he is from. The metaphor came from the space and the personalities of the characters.
Q:Why did you choose to focus on themes such as life prolongment and organ donation?
AG:The essential question is who we are and what it means to live and to die. Also, what the attraction is that we have towards transcendence, immortality, and life after death. I believe these questions have been the most important of the human imagination. In fear of what lies ahead, the response is to prolong life because this is at least known to us. Therefore, I find the relationship of the unknown with transcendence most fascinating together with how people have tried to seek for answers through literature, art, culture, and spirituality. In the face of that relationship lies the true question of choice, free will, responsibility, and who we are.
AEK: The idea of organ donation, whether to give or receive is a difficult question to answer. It is a strange feeling because in Egypt our culture is very different. It doesn’t have to do with religion but culture affects you. I suppose I should be able to accept donating or receiving an organ, although the mind and body say differently.
Ship of Theseus

©2012 TIFF

Ship of Theseus
Ship of Theseus

©2012 Fortissimo Amsterdam

Anand Gandhi
Aida El Kashef
Neeraj Kabi
Sohum Shah

KEIRIN.JPThe 25th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
24th Tokyo International Film Festival(2011)