Marco Martins的《Saint George》曾参加过2016年威尼斯电影节的竞赛单元，并且夺得最佳男主角。而在刚结束的第一届澳门影展，评审委员会打破每个电影只给一个奖项的管理，颁给了这部电影两个重要奖项——“最佳导演”和“最佳男演员”。
Q&A with "Best Director" Marco Martins
*This article is firstly appeared on the 2017 January issue of Macau CLOSER magazine
How do you feel about receiving these two awards at the first edition of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao?
When we do films, we don’t think about awards, you think about the public and who are you addressing the film to. But actually awards can be important, to make your film more visible to a bigger audience, to have media attention. In a film like this, such a political film, media attention is good both ways, because it talks about the film and it talks about the subject of the film, which is really important.
Nowadays news is so fast that people tend to forget very easily. And I think this was a very particular time and there’s a lesson there. This thing about Portuguese having to pay a debt to Europe, that nobody knew existed, is really strange. And then the real faces of the crisis, the poor people from places like Jamaica, Bela-Vista - those faces are never in the news. You see politicians talking about numbers. They’re left wing, right wing, but they all drink champagne.
Saint George is a risky film in the sense that it's a film about the crisis in Portugal, a very specific and sensitive moment. When did you decide to work with such a topic?
When I started writingSaint George, people kept telling me that there’s nothing more dangerous than to write a film about the present, because we don't have perspective, things will seem different in a few years and when you look back you have a different perspective about it.
I tend to agree with this, but then for us it was a very decisive moment in our recent history, we lost a lot of social privileges, a lot of people were losing their jobs and everything was changing. I think that news and newspapers and TV tend to talk more about politics and numbers, but they don't see the real faces of the people, the real faces of the crisis. So I took the risk. I never did a social film before; all my films are very different from this one. For our generation, this was something different. It seemed that we had to pay our debt to Europe and everybody was accepting that.
One of the awards is for the actor, Nuno Lopes, who also won the same prize in Venice. Why do you think his performance seems to touch everyone so much?
I think it’s very unique what he achieved in the film. Nuno is a very emotional actor, a very profound actor, and here he has this tough personality, he’s a boxer who is struggling. You see this big body but with a big heart as well. People are very touched by the character.
At the same time it’s like a metaphor of what all of us were thinking at that time – we didn't know exactly what was going on, it was just like a character, it was like a dark room in some way, like fighting with the dark. A lot of people asked me how I got to a point with Nuno where it seems that he is not acting at all. The answer to that is that I really don't know, because when you’re directing you just try for the actors to achieve what you think is the right tuning for that character. And with Nuno, we worked so much together, also in the research period, doing interviews in the neighborhoods, that when it came to the time when he had to act, he really didn’t need to think that much.
The fact that audiences and a jury on the other side of the world, Macau, can understand and appreciate your film also shows that there's a more universal message in it, correct?
I think there is a universal message, that’s for sure. Ironically, the more local a story is, the more universal it gets. I think there are no local stories. American culture tries to sell us this thing about globalization, and about everything being the same, but it isn’t. I’m more interested in seeing a film about the forgotten society here in Macau or in China, than a Chinese film that looks like an American film, because then it’s not universal, it’s just like a Chinese copy or a Portuguese copy of an American movie. So, this kind of language can be very universal if you find your audience for it. Most of all, the center of the story is a father who wants to keep his family together, he doesn’t want to lose his son and wife, that’s universal I think
The rights of your film were sold to China. Do you have any idea of how it is going to be distributed here in China?
I don’t know when it’s going to be released in China. I hope it will have a theatrical release, because sometimes they buy it and just distribute it directly on video or something.
It seems you take quite a long time between each of your films. Why is that?
I takes a very long, it’s basically a film every five years. For me, to find the right subject is very difficult. Then, sometimes in Portugal to finance your projects it’s not easy, you lose a bit of time on that. And then when I have the final script, and before we start shooting, I have to do a lot of work with the actors. So it’s really a long way. And when the shooting finishes, like in this film, I’ve spent six months editing image and six months editing sound, so it’s a long process for me. In that sense I’m a little bit of a perfectionist.
Would you ever consider shooting in Macau?
My films are always about something that I know very well or that I want to know more about. I tend to choose subjects that are very close to me, that’s why I usually shoot my fictions in Portugal. As far as documentaries, I’ve shot a lot of them abroad, in Japan, in India, in Brazil. And I will shoot in Macau for sure. For us Portuguese, Macau has a bit of a fascination, it’s a bit of history lost in time that you recover, that you don’t know exactly what to do with. It’s really amazing, when you have a fascination for something, it’s great to make a film about it.