Ginger Nuts of Horror
By Alex Davis
Film Gutter's Alex Davis sat down with Kasper Juhl director of the rather excellent Your Flesh, Your Curse for a special Gutter Talk interview.
Born Kasper Juhl Pedersen in Roskilde, Denmark, on April 12th, 1991. He got his first camera at the age of 8 and has since been passionate about making films. He's known as the founder of controversial independent film company Hellbound Productions, where he has directed, written and produced several feature- and short-films. He has since written and directed the feature film "Gudsforladt" (english title: A God Without A Universe") which premiered on CPH:PIX film festival in 2015 and won the "Best Feature" award at the BUT Film Festival in the Netherlands, and the "Jury Award" at the Sadique Master Film Festival. He's currently one of the most active directors in Denmark.
First off, I wanted to say how very impressed I was with Your Flesh, Your Curse! What can you tell us about the inspiration behind this movie?
I talked with my producer, who’s also the composer/sound designer on the film, about making a beautiful extreme horror film. We quickly found out that we would like to do another film in the same universe as our previous film, ‘Madness of Many’ – this time we just wanted to make more of a visual stunning piece of art.
This movie sees some stunning performances, especially from lead actress Marie-Louise Damgaard in the role of Juliet White. How was it on set in putting her character through so many horrific events?
Yes, she went through a lot. We always talked about everything in detail before each shoot, so that she was 100% sure of what was going to happen. I did everything I could so she would always feel safe during the shooting. Between every shoot everything was fine, we were laughing and having fun.
The whole film feels extremely authentic, which makes it very hard to watch in places, How much of what we see on screen was real, if anything?
All of the torture/abuse, not involving blood and gore, is in some way real. The actresses I worked with were aware that they could get hit, scratched, spit at etc. but all under professional circumstances. No one was harmed under the shoot in any way and everyone had fun, even though the scenes are quite extreme.
The film very much eschews traditional narrative for a much more unusual style of storytelling – was that a conscious decision from the very start?
Yes it was. We set out to make an abstract/experimental horror film. To me film is about feelings and not so much about a narrative story. It’s like Stanley Kubrick said: ‘The truth of a thing is in the feel of it, not in the think of it.’
Were things shot in order, or did you look to create scenes and then put them together in the editing process?
Everything was shot in order and we followed a script.
The visual aesthetic was stunning, really finding a dark sort of beauty in the nightmarish chain of events. Do you have a particular process in creating the 'look' of your films?
On this film me and my producer really talked a lot about the visual look of the film. We used most of our funding to buy a professional 4K camera, as we wanted to make a visually stunning underground film. Before each scenes, we talked in detail about how we should shoot it. We chose to have everything handheld, as we still wanted a realness to the scenes.
Are there any other filmmakers or directors that have particularly inspired you? At moments it put me in mind of Lars Von Trier, if you don't mind me saying so!
Trier is my favorite director, so I am just glad you can see the comparison, even though I didn’t went out to make a Trier-style film. I’m inspired by a lot of filmmakers like Harmony Korine, David Lynch, Lukas Moodysson, Larry Clark, Gaspar Noe, Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg, Martin Scorsese, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Park Chan-wook and Alfred Hitchcock.
Your Flesh, Your Curse is a really intriguing and very complex movie – even after watching it twice I don't feel as though I have got everything out of it yet! How would you describe the message of the film?
It’s all about what you feel when you watch the film. What message you get when watching the film is probably the right one. I have my own idea of what the movie is about, but your interpretation is probably just as correct as mine.
This is your seventh movie so far – can you tell us anything about what you're working on next?
I’ve just finished editing my next film ‘Forever’, which will be an avant-garde documentary about the loss of my dad, who died on the 23rd of February 2016. It will be my most personal film yet, but it has nothing to do with horror. As for 2018 I have some huge plans, but can’t say anything about that yet.