Q&A: Kristina Buozyte on surreal, psychosexual “VANISHING WAVES”
VANISHING WAVES imagines something intense: A neural connection, a relationship forged entirely inside the mind of someone who’s retreated entirely from trauma and the world at large. There, thanks to stunning scientific progression, a surreal, incredibly sexual and weirdly violent landscape awaits. It makes for a haunting, beautiful headtrip in Lithuanian filmmaker Kristina Buozyte’s second feature, now arriving on DVD from thrilling new distributor Artsploitation Films.
In the film, Lukas (Marius Jampolskis), an assistant in a scientific research team functioning as a patient in a series of heavily monitored (and medicated) sensory deprivation experiments wherein he is attempting to make some form of contact with the subject, Aurora (Jurga Jutaite), a young woman who has been locked in a comatose state for some time. Doctors initially hope for just a vague reaffirmation of consciousness, but the experiment takes an unexpected twist when Lukas and Aurora actually develop a strong psychic link in their mutually altered forms of consciousness…and their link quickly evolves into a romantic, sexually charged relationship.
FANGORIA spoke with Buozyte about her deeply affecting festival hit.
FANGORIA: What was the inspiration for a story like VANISHING WAVES?
KRISTINA BUOZYTE: After making my first feature, THE COLLECTRESS, I wanted to explore the relationship between a couple, to analyze the nature of desire. At the same time I wanted to make an adventure movie, where a character as the audience could explore a mysterious territory. When we started to search for angles on how to approach the subject, Bruno Samper, the co-writer and creative director of VANISHING WAVES, came with an idea to create the adventure inside the human mind. Overall, it gave the possibility to create the own rules of the movie. I liked this idea immediately and we started to develop the film.
FANG: Have you ever found yourself retreating too far into your own head, like Aurora has done?
BUOZYTE: I think we all live in different worlds that are filtered by our perception; like the characters from LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint Exupéry. Finally, each human experiences at minimum two lives: the subjective life (inside our heads, much stronger when we sleep and dream) and the objective life (the relationship of our body with the sensible world). It’s the interaction between the both which creates what we call reality.
FANG: You co-wrote the film with Bruno Samper, who also has a fairly unique credit as Creative Director. What was that working relationship like? Was it in designing the world of VANISHING WAVES?
BUOZYTE: It‘s already our second project together – Bruno was a co-writer of THE COLLECTRESS. We learned many things by working together. Bruno has visual arts background and I like his vision a lot. We were thinking about visual style and FX from the early stage of the script – both to enter into the budget and to shape the story according to realistic possibilities. It was really great pleasure to combine story telling with visual language. It seems obvious to tell this, but I make a difference between what we call a movie and Cinema. Movie is a medium of storytelling; Cinema is an art by itself. In Cinema, the story is one of the tools to create the emotion, but not necessarily the main. It’s what we tried to achieve with Bruno Samper, and it’s why it’s important to experience VANISHING WAVES on a big screen.
FANG: Both Aurora and Lukas have prominent moles. Was that a coincidence with the actors, or a visual motif you were looking to highlight?
BUOZYTE: When I was searching for lead characters, it was very important to make them alike. Finally the nature itself brought the actors who both have specific marks. Like this, we avoid four hours of daily make up for each and production saved money.
FANG: Speaking of production, the film has some truly haunting sequences, from the first psychedelic trip, to their sensual sun-drenched meeting, to their first meal. What’s your favorite?
BUOZYTE: I like them all, because each of these sequences was a bet and then a big fight. Till the very end of the post-production—with FX, color grading, sound design and music— these sequences could collapse on themselves. I mean there is a very thin line, between a very strong sequence and an epic fail. But nothing ventured, nothing gained!
FANG: Can you discuss crafting Aurora with Jurga Jutaite, who does an incredible job? Was the character a personal one?
BUOZYTE: I was searching very long for the actress who could play Aurora. It’s a very hard and demanding role. When Jurga read the script, she said it‘s a role for her and she did everything to fulfill the character. I was always dreaming about such a talented actress and was super lucky to get the possibility to work with her. She‘s a natural born actress who hasn‘t studied in any acting school, but managed to perform in three films already. She carries this love for the magic of cinema. In everyday life, she works as a producer both in films and commercials.
For more on VANISHING WAVES, head right here.