Fringe! had a chance to interview Portuguese artist and director Antonio da Silva, who’s visually captivating and sexually explicit work has played to critical acclaim at festivals around the world. Antonio’s short film Mates will screen at Fringe! before our opening night screening of I Want Your Love at the Hackney Picture House. We discuss the difference between porn and narrative with Antonio amongst other issues.
Your work is part of a growing wave of sexually explicit LGBT (and heterosexual) cinema, particularly within Europe, which has sparked a lot of discussion about the line between narrative cinema and pornography. Do you class your work as primarily one or the other, or do you consider it to be firmly in-between?
My work is a border line between narrative cinema, pornography and art film, which makes it very hard to define as an unique genre.
It is often said that porn movies as a genre are characterized by their absence of narrative. The typical porn movie, hard-core anyway, is held to be an endless series of people fucking. Yet at the same time, porn is critiqued for having unsophisticated or badly integrated plotlines. This is the major issue taken up in my short film Mates, a pornographic film that aggressively equates narrative and sexuality; a very particular kind of sexuality that complicates our relationships to images we desire and images of ourselves in the digital age.
Experimenting is the core of my work, I am interested to explore different artistic genres, both in terms of technique and content. My aim is to create art that is holistic, organic, and quotidian. I am mostly interested in visual storytelling, journeys of perception, encounters with people and places. I can surely see myself in the future exploring different forms, some closer to conventional scripted narrative. In my latest short film “Julian” I am already working with a more conventional scripted narrative in which the story is narrated by a voice over.
Obviously with explicit material, have there been any particularly interesting stories with regards to funding as well as festival submissions?
I’ve never had to approach anyone to support my films so I’ve had all the control.
Antonio’s short film Mates will play at Fringe! on Thursday April 12th 2012 before I Want Your Love (details on tickets can be found here).