»Representation is a lie.«
a conversation between Pia Hellenthal and First Crossings team
Since this section of the festival is called First Crossings, the first question is the following one: Who is Eva Collé and which borders is she crossing?
Who is Eva Collé is sort of the game of the movie, so it’s not an easy question to answer. What I can tell you is that you will find your own borders looking at, projecting onto her. At least that is what happened to us when we met her and what we wanted to turn into a film.
Eva is a free spirit that tries to abolish any sort of border, first of all the ones in yourself which we call identity where we try to box ourselves in things like men or woman, wife, Christian, worker, etc.
By her not defining herself, while at the same time putting herself out there naked, absolutely transparent and honest she leaves it up to you to define her and makes you aware of the identity categories/borders that you use for yourself and others.
It is a liberating process.
The question of the construction of identity nowadays is an important one. You have been following Eva for quite some time now: In what way is she special in building her identity?
She is not building an identity, she is taking away. She is stripping herself of the categories we use to give ourselves an identity. She says we are fluid beings, we morph into things depending what and who we have around us, what we relate to. It’s a prison if we say we are one specific unchangeable thing.
Could an act of ''being-all-over-the-place'' and being hard to identify and categorize be the basis of some new politics with real emancipatory potential? Being identified can have some real flaws – one can quickly become an object of capitalist consumption or a fetish …
As soon as you identity with let’s say being a feminist this identification can be used in a capitalistic sense. To not be identifiable is a way of being outside of the/a system.
Here is something that Eva had to say about the fragmented self a while ago: »There is a fragmented character of life in the current times and the fragmentation of the individual and of life itself is a consequence of the power relations that are in act. We can no longer talk about the working class / think of the working class as revolutionary subject because the working class no longer exists as working class the same way as it used to when its idea was first theorized, today the individual must turn itself into many different things in order to survive, not many people are able to just ‘pick a career’, not many people have the privilege of identifying with their job. But the fragmentedness of identity is both the limit of the working class to organize as working class and its strength, because it allows it to ‘see beyond’ itself and question all the other factors that constitute identity, such as gender for example. What’s at stake right now for the ‘younger generations’ is literally everything, and their very being reflects it.«
In what way do you think the form of this film coincides with its content?
It’s a film that is not playing by classic rules, uses different narrative elements and genres. A lot of people at documentary festivals got upset when I said there is an actor in there for example. »Is it even documentary then?« They felt tricked. It’s queer, meaning undefinable, in its form as much as it’s queer in its content.
It seems as if Eva is in a way her own director and she stages her life according to her actual mindset. Hence what would you say is the ratio between the natural (spontaneous) and the staged in the film?
Both is in there and in a way, I would say all is true cause it’s all her life and all is fake as it’s produced and selected and edited and put in a form. It does not matter. The point of the film is the experience when watching it, the reflection of your own gaze upon Eva. The truth you create yourself basically.
Eva said »representation is a lie« and she is also talking about self-representation.
This was your feature-length debut. What was the most obvious difference from making a short film?
I don’t know if this is only me or cause it’s my first film but it basically took over my whole life and me like a parasite for years and when it was finished it left back an empty body. Not to be dramatic.
Can you tell us anything about your new projects?
Eva and I thought about doing something in Athens but this time fiction. Also, I am collecting ideas for a screenplay but for now I need to rest. :)