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Take a “Breather” with Khavn De la Cruz: An Interview September 7, 2011

Posted by Richard Bolisay in .MOV, Interview, Noypi.
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Man of the hour Khavn dela Cruz juggles between organizing events for .MOV International Film, Music, and Literature Festival and writing poems for his new collection. Despite his busy schedule, Khavn still finds time to pick up his camera and make movies. His creative output through the years is impressive; he is prolific in every sense of the word. During the opening night of .MOV at the Podium, Khavn obliges Lagarista.com with a short chat and talks about his new film, Breather.

Hmmm. So this is your, what, ninety-eighth or ninety-ninth film?

*laughs* As far as I recall, this is my thirty-first full-length.

Wow. So how is Breather different from your previous movies?

It’s definitely different from Mondomanila and Son of God. But there’s no conscious effort to make it different. Breather shares qualities with some of my previous works such as Kamias, Alaala ng Paglimot, and Cameroon: Love Letter.

Breather is about your father. Could you tell us more about him and the movie?

Erpat is absolutely the inspiration for Breather. I wanted to make a film about him. He had lung cancer and underwent chemotherapy for a month. I always brought my camera with me, shooting people randomly, diners at Mogwai, audience members at the screenings of Club.Mov, friends, strangers. I wanted to capture the mood of those days when he was sick, while he was at home or at the hospital. Never did I realize that he would pass away too soon. He died last July. His birthday is on September 3,  and while I was doing the film I was hoping that he would see it at the fest.

That’s very sad. Why did you choose Breather as the title?

Actually, the original title was Ficciones. Yeah, like the Borges book. But I decided to change it to Pahinga (Breather). The word best describes my father’s last few days. Literally and figuratively. Also, pahinga = paghinga.

Wasn’t it hard to finish the film because it’s too personal?

Well, not really. Everything I make is personal, but the film is special to me because it’s about my father. Gusto ko talaga siya matapos. Breather is made up of poems I wrote recently, which are not intended to be part of the movie. Upon rereading them, I realize they fit the tone of the movie so I decided to use them, as well as a short story that served as the voice-over. I also composed the piano music for the film. You know, cinema is everything; it crosses many art forms and makes all of them meet. That’s why I love making movies. [Poet] Joel Toledo did the subtitles for Breather, and I was very happy with his translation.

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