Augustina San Martin brings her first feature film to Guadalajara, the tropical Gothic “To Kill the Beast” ড়a whirlwind of an atmospheric arrival of fear, death and aspiration. When 17-year-old Emilia comes to work in a hostel On Boundary of Brazil’s jungle, he must face the truth about his brother’s disappearance as well as the truth about himself.
“To Kill the Beast” is an emotional, sensual journey of self-discovery and plays like a boat on a dream, pushing the traditional themed plot to a more fleeting and haptic one. Party Film Sales acquired the film, which debuted at TIFF. The San Martin Festival is not new to the circuit; “The Swedish Cousin” premiered in Berlin in 2017 and in 2019 Brief The “monster God” made special mention of the jury in the ear.
Variety spoke to San Martin before the film premiered in Guadalajara.
“To Kill the Beast” is not the story of a historically coming era. Can you tell us about your inspiration for writing the film and your approach to managing it?
The main inspiration for this story was to create a context of darkness where the main character’s desire for survival was a weapon. The same desire that has been used for us, women, often against us, to create guilt or to “feel dirty”, is now actually a thing to save this teenager. Moreover, his will is strange. In humorous descriptions, accepting one’s aspirations is usually a very steep path. Here was my guess: nothing will make you stronger than accepting your full identity and owning your own will.
This included many plans in the management method. Because it was made as an atmospheric film rather than a narrative, where when you watch it you will feel like you are floating through a river.
What role does fear play in the film?
Fear is always a primitive, basic emotion that has allowed us to survive as animals. Fear of failure, death, rejection. The question for me is: what do we do with it? How do we live with it? There are some ways in which it can spread inside us. Like a drop of ink in a glass of water. Too much fear can soon disable us. Can create a wall between us and others. Darkness can isolate us, we can control who we are.
Throughout the story we see this girl in almost complete isolation from others. Since he does not belong to the occupied space, he is almost embarrassed to be present. Eventually, when she learns to embrace her sexuality, she finds the strength to deal with that fear. It will be a reflection of the Greek mythology Eros vs. Thanatos (will vs. death). As it explores: not the opposite life of death, but the drive. As if survival was not enough. In this sense, fear felt like the perfect monster to fight against the character in his sexual awakening.
Emilia spends most of her time in the movies in a border town which seems almost like a dream in her presentation. How did you achieve this ethereal feeling?
We did a lot of painting with it. After many conversations with the photography and art department, I created a detailed storyboard book filled with reference images, drawings, bullet lists of cinematographic resources, and more. We had our eye on every detail: textured film lenses, water color like art palette, wet clothes, greasy sweat for shiny skin that felt like they had penetrated the screen. Since the concept of the film was to be an atmospheric experience of this unknown place, it was designed for every little visual and musical detail so that it feels something different through our skin.
The score in “To Kill the Beast” is humorous and eclectic, and creates excitement everywhere. What inspired the music in the film?
The original score of the film was inspired by Gregorian music. Together with the Brazilian musician and Grevo, our goal was to compose songs from this church that were actually Gregorian words (organ, texture). Later, the idea to make it somewhat hateful came up and we brought this Gregorian electronic music through the Misty Churches and I fell in love with it.