Independent Newspapers’ The Good Life section’s Kamcilla Pillay spoke to director Fin Manjoo. Here follows a few extracts from the Q & A:
How relationships and music connects
In the film, Bonifaz receives a mysterious message whereby an artist abroad could feel what he was doing on the same day, this results in him travelling across the world to meet her. So we wonder, what does this incident mean not just for Bonifaz, but also for our understanding of how people are mysteriously connected? And, from this, what we can learn about our connection to other unexplainable forces out there? In Woodwind we use the medium of music to tap into these mystical possibilities.
On the mystique of art and Varanasi, India
One of the keys of the film is the intrinsic value of art in society. Woodwind is about a music composer. In the story we see and hear how art can be used to uplift us, this is the original purpose of these mediums from ancient times. This has always been there like in one of the oldest existing cultures, in the value of Indian classical music.
We filmed in India for a month, including Varanasi. Mark Twain wrote: “Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”
On the power of nature
As I’ve written in Woodwind, music composer Bonifaz learns the age-old secrets of the power of sound in tune with the magic of real nature and ancient languages. A mysterious source of knowledge teaches Bonifaz how to heighten our perception of reality through his compositions. This story is not just about Bonifaz, but about how we can all open our senses to the beauty of the world around us. We are part of it all, this nature and everything is out there to be fitting to us, to heal or aid us in our pursuit of happiness. When we are caught in the pressures of our everyday lives, or lost in our machines we tend to lose sense of the simple beauty. Even in the making of this film, when the sound department isolates the recordings, it is remarkable how we don’t notice such extraordinary, beautiful sounds in the music of nature.
On the responsibility of the filmmaker
My objective in cinema is different to what many are used to in the commercial or entertainment industry. I also love watching films for fun and having a laugh, but that’s not the full potential of cinema. As I see it, to put a film out there to the world, the artist has to be totally responsible to his audience. This is why I needed to be ready first, before rushing into creating a proper film. With Woodwind, I feel I am, and so I can’t wait to share this with you next September.
You can read the full interview from Independent Newspapers, The Mercury edition here.