I like to find other ways to tell a story

Interview with Jorge Pelicano, the director of the Until Porn Do Us Part, which has the premiere in Opus Bonum competition at 22nd Ji.hlava IDFF.

Life can unsettle us in many ways, but as hard as it can get, we still need to find a way to deal with new circumstances. Portuguese director Jorge Pelicano shows us a lenient depiction of a mother who deals with her son’s homosexuality and a career as a pornstar in Until Porn Do Us Apart.

We can perceive a certain level of staging in your film. The camera is mostly static, the composition of the objects in the shots is thorough. We can nearly have the feeling of watching a fiction film instead of a documentary. What made you shoot your film this way?
First of all, I’m not interested in reality. The reality is the starting point to make a documentary, to make cinema. Second, a huge part of the film was shot inside the mother’s house. I researched her daily routines and found out they were mostly the same every day. So, I decided to prepare the set and the camera in those places and decided to wait for the mother. Also, I decided not to use movements of the camera because she stayed static for many hours in front of the computer trying to search her son on Facebook. 

Are you concerned about people who could doubt or even attack your film or its message because of this style of documentary filmmaking?
When you make a documentary, you must be faithful to the story and put in your filmmaker perspective. I’m always concerned about every film I make this way. I like to risk, to challenge myself and to find other ways to tell a story. I defend several views of documentary filmmaking, because we make art with real people, real places and stories. 

Certain level of staging requires a screenplay, that's why I suppose there was one for your film. What was the process of making the screenplay like?
Other films I did, the narrative structure was found in the editing room. This was my first documentary with a screenplay. The intention was controlling and shaping the story during the shooting process. For me, the past of the relationship between the mother and her son was relevant to understand the story. And the “past” was in the Facebook messages that they’ve been exchanging since 2013. So, I asked the mother to read several messages that she wrote to her son. In those messages, there you can see the difficulties she passed to accept her son as a gay porn actor. On the other hand, since the beginning I intended to cross the past with the present. And for me it was important to schedule the events before shooting, and that’s why you can feel the screenplay in the film. It was a new and challenging way to build the story. 

Halfway through the film, it seems like we're about to follow Sydney's, the son’s perspective of the story. But soon enough, it's his mother who takes over again. What did make you give priority to the mother's part of the story?
This is a film about parents’ expectations and how to deal with children’s choices. When you raise a son, you always expect good things for him when he grows up: to have values, get a degree, find a job, get married and have children. When one of these things doesn’t happen, or if your son decides to be a gay porn actor, you never know how to deal with it. That’s the reason I decided – from the beginning – to explore the mother’s perspective. This was not her choice but her son’s, so it was more difficult for the mother and that was the reason why I stayed with her perspective. It was also important not to stay too much with her son, Sydney. The audience must feel the distance from him, as it happened in reality. His mother was always watching him through the internet but was never with him physically. That’s the reason I avoided to balance the film on both sides.



Documentary filmmaker Jorge Pelicano (1977) explores subjects related to modernity and the traditional way of life in Portugal. In Ainda Há Pastores? (2006), he told the story of shepherd in the mountains of Portugal, while Pare, Escute, Olhe (2009) – which was an audience hit in Portugal – looked at the closing of a historic railway line in the country’s north.





more articles from a section:  Interview

1.21Going to the Polish Turf with Our Own TeamInterview with documentary filmmakers Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák about their latest joint film project Once Upon a Time in Poland that shows how religion and faith are misused in contemporary Poland for mass manipulation and political purposes. The film‘s Czech premiere was held as part of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival 2020.Kamila Boháčková
1.21The times of lifelong careers are overAn interview with documentarian Jindřich Andrš, whose film A New Shift won the Czech competition section Czech Joy at Ji.hlava IDFF2020.Vojtěch Kočárník
1.20None of the big streaming platforms are buying documentaries now because people are so scared in their personal lives Challenges for the film industry and festivals in the age of the coronavirusRadim Procházka
1.20We have to start with ourselves, or nothing will changeAn interview with Macedonian documentarians Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevská, creators of the film Honeyland.Vojtěch Kočárník
2.20Karel Vachek: Films Just Have to Make You Laugh!A doyen of Czech documentary filmmaking Karel Vachek unfortunately passed away on the 21th of December 2020. We publish here the interview he made in 2019 just after releasing his last film, the ninth film novel called Communism and the Net or the End of Representative Democracy. Fifty years after Prague Spring and thirty years after the Velvet Revolution, Karel Vachek “with his inner laughter” looks back on the evolution of our society and predicts a transformation to direct democracy based on the possibilities of the internet that will allow for the engagement of the whole mankind without the need of representatives. Kamila Boháčková
1+2.19To Surprise MyselfWhile the main competition at the International Karlovy Vary Film Festival does not feature any Czech title, the festival’s documentary section has one Czech film to offer: A documentary road movie by Martin Mareček entitled Over the Hills exploring the relationship between a father and a son, as well as the distance that separates us from others. Unlike his previous socially engaged films, the latest title provides a personal and intimate insight. But as Martin Mareček put it in his interview for dok.revue – what is intimate is universal. Marek Hovorka, Petr Kubica, Kamila Boháčková
1+2.19Greta Stoklassa: I Read Rather than Preach the RealityAn interview with the director Greta StoklassaKamila Boháčková
F2.18Special little momentsInterview with Antonio Di Biase, the director of De Sancto Ambrosio movie, which has the world premiere in Opus Bonum competition at 22nd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.Matěj Pořízek
F2.18Are we experiencing dystopia today?Interview with Frédérick Cousseau, the director of the poetic documentary called NU, which has the premiere in Opus Bonum competition at 22nd Ji.hlava IDFF.Tomáš Poštulka
F2.18Freedom of ChoiceInterview with Jacky Goldberg, the director of Flesh Memory, which will have its international premiere in Opus Bonum competition

starší články

F1.18DOK.REVUE
26. 10. 2018


from current issue:

New releaseShooting About KunderaDocumentarian Miloslav Šmídmajer describes the process of making a documentary about Milan Kundera with the working title “Milan Kundera: From the Joke to Insignificance.” Miloslav ŠmídmajerThemeNest in the bedroomPeter Hames, well-known British film historian and author of the book The Czechoslovak New Wave sent his remembrance to Karel Vachek to our magazine.Peter HamesThemeNever stop laughingPaolo Benzi, the Italian film producer and founder of the independent film production company Okta Film, describes for dok.revue how he met famous Czech documentary filmmaker Karel Vachek, who passed away last year. Paolo Benzi is also the main tutor of the Emerging producers in Ji.hlava IDFF.Paolo BenziThemeBehold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightenedIn this English issue of dok.revue we have collected some remembrances to Karel Vachek, the respected Czech documentarist who died in December 2020 at the age of 80. One of the contributors is Olaf Möller, a well-known film theorist and critic collaborating with many renowned film magazines (Film Comment or Sight & Sound), film museums and festivals (e.g. Il Cinema Ritrovato or International Film Festival Rotterdam).Olaf MöllerThemeEvery human being should get to wear comfy shoesThe Czech documentarist Karel Vachek was a chairperson of the jury at Yamagata international documentary film festival (YIDFF) in 2009. The board member of YIDFF and the former director of this festival, Asako Fujioka, has a remembrance of him smoking his pipe and going to the mountains with Japanese poet and filmmaker Yoshimasu Gozo to recite poetry to the skies.Asako FujiokaThemeLike the dog on the beach...American film historian Alice Lovejoy writes her remembrance of Karel Vachek, the remarkable Czech documentarist to whom we dedicate this English issue of dok.revue.Alice LovejoyInterviewThe times of lifelong careers are overAn interview with documentarian Jindřich Andrš, whose film A New Shift won the Czech competition section Czech Joy at Ji.hlava IDFF2020.Vojtěch KočárníkInterviewGoing to the Polish Turf with Our Own TeamInterview with documentary filmmakers Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák about their latest joint film project Once Upon a Time in Poland that shows how religion and faith are misused in contemporary Poland for mass manipulation and political purposes. The film‘s Czech premiere was held as part of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival 2020.Kamila BoháčkováIntroductionDok.revue 1.21This issue is dedicated to the doyen of Czech documentary filmmaking Karel VachekKamila Boháčková