Director's Insight

(by Nitsy Grau)

When asked if I would direct the film "Medardo", I was appalled. After all, the story of such a controversial poet, who lived in the early twentieth century, represents a challenge indeed.

So after learning who this Ecuadorian man actually was, I sat down and read his poetry, full with relevant mystery and passion, magnified by its shocking and astonishing profoundness, more so after realizing that its author committed suicide at the very young age of 21. This fact throws light on the reason for his obsession towards death, opening further my eyes and allowing me to see death, not as a phantom or some ethereal event, but as an attractive, carnal and seductive woman. Medardo's ambiguous harmony with death became my inspiration, and ended winning me over to accept directing this film. Furthermore, I expect to bring out his strange relationship with death, make it real and situate it at one end of his existential conflict while placing Rosita, his earthly anchor to life, at the other end.

This motion picture, more than merely showing bygone times, presents the struggle of the main character with life and death. The poet's feelings often escape this world, while mixing fact with fiction.

Medardo is an individual who easily escapes towards spirituality and then effortlessly bounces back to a worldly setting, as in his famous poem "Con el Alma en los Labios" (The Soul on the Lips).

With the actors, we approached this task by starting from within, then moving outwards, searching under total empathy the main character's motivations. Beginning with historical facts, we moved each individual beyond this world towards an imaginary setting.

From sketches provided by history, we created living flesh and blood characters, portraying their experiences, some of which were expressed only by the actors' body language. We sought to bring together different nationalities, styles and backgrounds, under one canopy, with a common language. In this novel way historical significance is magnified, by simultaneously portraying the underlying spiritual values and emotions.

My aim as director is showing the world who poet Medardo Angel Silva really was, with his intimacies and complicities, since he represents true genius, deserving to be remembered together with his controversial life and exquisite poems.



Producer/Scriptwriter's Insight

(by Julio Ortega)

Bringing "Medardo" on the screen, was an extraordinary experience, full in yarn and occurrences, that spawn in me profound feelings.

Let me start from early on. In high school, I experienced my first bitter-sweet foretaste of poems by Medardo Angel Silva. From then on, his life history kept waking my curiosity and pushed me to give full meaning to his mysterious life, known only to a handful of people who knew what really happened that tragic day of June 10th, 1919. Everything seemed deeply covered in obscurity.

Medardo Angel Silva belonged to a group of Guayaquil's finest poets, the "Beheaded Generation", so labeled in view of the poets' mysterious and premature demise, early in the twentieth century.

When Guayaquil City hired me as leading actor to stand for Medardo in a play about the city's leading figures, I started researching his life deeper, by way of books and lectures. As a result, a number of suspicions about his existence cropped up in me.

Soon after, I moved to New York and started my own theater group. I put pen to paper and, with great effort, set on scene (off-Broadway) the play "Medardo, with the Soul on the Lips". Amazingly, we were awarded the Actor's Gild ACE Prize and received ATI's Award from Independent Actors Union, as Best Play and Finest Performance in 2013.

Months later, I met Dutch entrepreneur Jos van Weert. He had taken notice not only of the impression caused by of our theater piece, but also on my intent to make a film out of "Medardo". Jos agreed to finance the venture, and with his company, Anjos Productions, became our co-producer. And that's how work on the script, pre-production and filming began, right in Medardo's birth place, Guayaquil.

The procedure was easier said that done. Becoming an independent film-maker required a profound transformation of all my senses. Turning out a motion picture is a quite difficult and time-consuming task, packed with pitfalls. And better stay extremely aware of the smallest detail if you are aiming at high-quality results. Keep re-checking everything, no matter how unimportant it may seem.

Why did I choose "Medardo"? Because I felt warmth and sympathy for his agonic life story, and empathy for his fine poetry. I fully understand his suffering and rare instants of joy. I adore his verse, satiated with beauty, mystery and glumness. I had an urge to find out what had happened on that fatal day in June 10th, 1919. Was his death an accident or was it a criminal act, or did he really commit suicide?

His life, jointly with the significance of his literary output invigorating Ecuadorian and Latin-American Literature, greatly impresses me.

I've learned a lot from the production of this film. Most importantly perhaps has been the deep passion Medardo showed during his short but interesting lifetime. It is comparable to the eagerness which from earliest start I have placed in the production of this motion picture and will continue until first showings take place in most movie theaters.

Aside from having written this film's script, I have been its general producer and main actor, playing Medardo's role. At this spot in my life, I feel wholly connected to this character, more so after having read everything I could find about his life and perhaps lesser known anecdotes. I studied all his writings and listened to senior folks who had the privilege to either know him personally or indirectly. I admire him sincerely, with the same purity of the white roses I recently placed on his tomb.

Medardo Angel Silva and his poetry should never be lost nor forgotten. It is my hope that this film will keep his memory alive forever.

© Kayros Entertainment & Anjos Productions 2015
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