Aharon Keshales talks Big Bad Wolves
By Anne Brodie Jul 26, 2013, 14:02 GMT
A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision : The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective. ...more
Screening July 26 at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, M&C got a chance to chat with writer/director Aharon Keshales about Big Bad Wolves.
M&C: What an amazing film! Big Bad Wolves is smart, creepy, and it's hard to look away. How did you create such a strong sense of foreboding cinematically and in the script?
Keshales: We always try to find the humanity within a monster and the monstrosity within a human being. That dictates the tone. We use dark humor to lure the spectator and make him lower his defense system and then we hit him with a hammer. The abrupt shift between the comic elements and the horrific scenes create a bi-polar experience for the viewer.
The cinematography is also tricky in "Big Bad Wolves". We use cinemascope and very lucid camera movements (almost dreamlike) so you would feel as if you were in a fairy tale but we use this easy on the eye aesthetic while we show some really atrocious deeds. This contradiction is a hard thing to swallow.
M&C: There is a lot to be said for a parent's instinct. It's like a sixth sense. Is the film meant to be psychologically accurate?
Keshales: You always aim your script to be psychologically accurate and we do believe that parents have a sixth sense. They can always sense there's something wrong with their children. Sometimes they even envision it before something bad happens. Jewish mothers are psychic and whenever they give you an advice you better take it.
M&C: The power balance is constantly shifting. That's life isn't it?
Keshales: We do believe so. Our favorite film in the world is "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly". This film sums up the human experience for us. Everybody gets to be good in his life, everybody gets to be bad in his life and everybody gets to be ugly. The most astonishing aspect in Sergio Leone's western is that he turned the ugly into the most beautiful character in the film.
M&C: The story is solid and believable. Who had the idea for it and what inspired it? Is there a true story attached?
Keshales: No true story. There are no serial killers in Israel. We wanted to make a film that deals with a suspected pedophile and his shattered life. Then we wanted to make a film about a vigilante cop. Then we wanted to make a film about a vindictive father.
Then we decided to make all three films in the same . When we pitched the idea to our producer we told him the following: What if dirty Harry wandered by mistake to a Korean revenge film written by the Brothers Grimm?
M&C: The characters are so unique and defined, even though they are trying to hide who they really are. How do you keep a film that is so layered, clear in your head?
Keshales: There's no magic formula. You just aim for the best and hope your vision was good enough to lure your faithful audience into your story. Our secret is to have a very dynamic plot. In order to that you have to play a lot with audience expectations, plot wise and tone wise.
M&C: A "slasher" movie hasn't been made in Israel before, why not?
Keshales: People used to say that Israel has enough terror in reality so why put more horror on the screen. "Rabies" proved this notion to be wrong. There is real horror and there's cinematic horror.
The latter is cathartic and fun to watch. Things are starting to change. Government funds have special channels for genre films. "Big Bad Wolves" had full government backing to the success of "Rabies" and the looks red.
M&C: Big Bad Wolves is on the festival circuit and won acclaim at Tribeca. Does that help towards getting a theatrical release?
Keshales: "Big Bad Wolves" and "Rabies" enjoyed the biggest release you can get. It opens August 15th. It'll bite Canada soon.