A different take

Director Lijo Jose Pellissery talks about his film ‘Amen’ at 10th International Documentary and Short Film Festival

Published: 18th June 2017 10:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2017 05:42 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “Yes, shit worked” was one of the happiest messages he received in his career, said director Lijo Jose Pellissery.

His revelation came while explaining the making of “Amen” during an interaction with Shaji H on the sidelines of the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala here on Sunday.

Filmmaker Mai Masri and (right) actor Ahana Krishna at Kairali Theatre  B P Deepu

According to Pellissery, in the opening sequence of “Amen”, a package of shit becomes a tool for two feuding families. “Usually I feel awkward while revisiting my films. I would feel a particular scene could have been taken in an better way. But Amen’s opening scene gives me satisfaction even now,” he said.

The director said the scene was a challenge in all ways. “First of all the scene wasn’t essential for the film. Secondly, it’s a bit awkward to start a film with some shit scenes. Also, it was my third film after two box office bombs,” he said amid laughter from the audience.

“Even the producer hinted whether the sequence was necessary. Its visualisation was difficult but eventually it became one of the best scenes in the film,” he said.

On the release day, the director was in Chennai. “When I was about to board the flight to Kerala, I received a message from my friend which said that the shit worked in fact,” he said. Of the five films he directed, Pellissery wrote screenplay only for one - “Double Barrel”. That doesn’t mean he stayed away from scripting. “I’m very much part of the writing process of my films. No scene would appear in the final script unless I’m convinced. Luckily, I had writers who shared similar thought process. They would take my suggestions and I would take theirs on visualisation,” he said.           

According to Pellissery, cinema is a director’s work, his vision. On his penchant for long takes, Pellissery said he enjoyed the painstaking coordination efforts behind them.  The director said the three-month-long casting process for “Angamaly Diaries” was tiring. “We wanted 86 new faces. Every evening we had discussions about the artists interviewed. Those shortlisted were asked to enact their scenes before the final selection,” he said.

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