26th Jan2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Gurcius Gewdner on ‘Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair’

by Philip Rogers

Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair is new surreal film from writer and director Gurcius Gewdner, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Saturday 27th January. I got chance to ask Gurcius a few questions about what we can expect, his inspirations and designer vomit bags.


What can we expect from the film?

You can expect a different movie, a different experience. A mix of marginal cinema from Brazil with everything that I find on the way to put it on an insanity blender. I cannot promise that will be enjoyable for everyone, but it is, a different experience, it doesn’t matter if you love or hate. And it needs to be watched till the end, to capture the full trip, if you leave at the first half, you will not get the full brain damage package. It is a scatological roller coaster of screaming, puke and dancing rhythms. A love letter by someone totally in love with Roger Corman and Dusan Makavejev at the same time. A full bucket of fun for those who let their hearts open to the mysteries of this island.

Is Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair a continuation of your previous short film Good Morning Carlos and how are they connected?

Yes, it is an extension of Good Morning Carlos (2015). I did both movies at the same time, when a producer invited me to do it a short, that later became “Carlos”, but I only discover the movie on the editing room, in the shootings it was a full script, my mission was to deliver a 15-minute movie, but we shoot a two hours vomit and faeces magnum opus of moving images. Pazucus shows the full extension of Carlos world, things that were hidden from the viewer eyes on the short movie, it shows who are the people around him, goes deeper into the doctor’s obsessions and shows what’s really is disturbing Carlos, we get to know what’s happening inside his body. It’s a colourful world in all directions.

What were your inspirations for the story?

As I said, it was an invitation from a producer: he asked me to present an art-house movie about fear, fears of contemporaneity humans. They also told me to put the city in mind, in my case it was Florianópolis, an island here in south of Brazil. That makes me think on important places in the city, fear of a water curse (all islands are frightened about being devoured by the sea), witchcraft (because Florianópolis is an Island full of legends of Witches) and of course, important political issues in the city as real state speculation (it is not uncommon for city politicians to build commercial building in areas of environmental preservation, a shopping mall over a swamp, for example) and pollution! The voices inside Carlos also can represent things inside him that cannot be hidden anymore, secret sexual desires or sadly: the hate speech that is growing all over the world thru religious and conservative waves screaming inside his head and body (“the waves, the waves, the waves are coming Carlos”).

My cinematic inspirations are a full list for this one, I can talk about some: I was in love by Creature of the haunted Sea (1961) by Roger Corman, the iconic kiss scene and about the idea of doing a fifties monster movie, with creatures made it by garbage, and also my love for Humanoids from the Deep (1980). My dream was to make a real “Horror on the Sea” movie!  I decided to put that together with a bunch of other movies that I love, A Cat in the Brain (The Doctor) (1990), Long Weekend (1978) (Orestia and Omar, those two are a hysterical remake inside a movie that it isn’t a remake, mixed up with Desperate Living Mink Stole’s acting), Possession (1981) & Pinocchio 964 (1991) (the vomiting on the street, this is one of my connections with the city, because I always think about the Zulawski movie when I pass by on the place we shoot the main corridor scenes). Along with that I decided to mix with the clothes of my band Os Legais (we dress up with garbage, fishing and gay porn magazines and throw more garbage on the audience), also in 1999 we did a song about a group of Turds who gathered together to discuss the end of times, older prophetical Turds talking with young ones about the big giant aquatic hole that will push them to another dimension. There’s also Mojica (Coffin Joe) and lots of other Brazilian directors, some things that I wanted to see in a movie, but it didn’t and well… there’s more than that, but this is a good start to understand what we were trying to achieve. The music is also important, I love the outdated soundtrack of movies like The Toxic Avenger (1984) and lots of Brazilian movies from the seventies and eighties, so together with the original soundtracks of Lucas Rossetti, Anna White and music by friends like Buraco Negro, Excria Reverbera and Rakta, I did a lot of research for shining, pulsating and dancing soundtracks, these songs follows the characters thru their journey into the suffocating waves of madness. Music is so important as moving images to create movies, because music is fuel of moving images inside your head.

What were your influences for the style and look of the film?

We tried to recreate some scenes of the movies I described before and lots, lots more.  Marcel Mars (he’s the photographer in all Omar & Oréstia scenes) and Flavio C Von Sperling did a wonderful job on their photography, we we’re all connected with the same delirium, all possessed by anger, desire of living and desperate love. Florianópolis is such a beautiful place, it sure helps to make our colourful puke even more beautiful! During the editing I thought a lot about Shuji Terayama, I get totally crazy with filters colours and images that mix on each other, like in Derek Jarman movies. Everything is an inspiration!

Where there any ideas in the original script which you couldn’t execute in the final film?

I’m happy to say that we did film everything that is on the script and even more. There’s some decisions I took that are different from the script, I decided not to kill some characters, they we’re killed on the script, but it didn’t make sense to me when I was finishing the movie. I wish I had more time to make the scene with the monsters attacking at the final act, we did that sequences in only one day, I wish I had at least 3 days to shoot the same and more! to create a satisfying ending was a real challenge with the material I had, I’m truly happy with the results, it was a deeper experience to draw in the editing of last 20 minutes of the movie!

Did you encounter any issues shooting on a low budget?

At the shooting, lack of time it’s the most difficult for me. You don’t have money to make people spend a month of their time on the movie, so you have to do it everything fast and always disturbed by the chance of not having time to shoot everything you want with someone, sometimes you have 3 days, even less with an actor and have to combine this with the time of other 15, 20 people. My hope is always to have better budgets every time I have a new movie on sight, to avoid those kinds of problems (and meet the new ones). The great thing is that you learn to make miracles with your money, when you had almost nothing, it’s the case on this movie, the low budget became an important character for the narrative. On this movie I can prove that I can create beautiful things with almost nothing and so, if someone puts some faith (and more money) on a future project, it’s a good chance to show that we can create things even more beautiful and crazier, with the proper budget. Another problem with low budget is when your movie is done. If you are not a rich person, you have to deal with the frustration of no having money to be at some of the screenings, and also, it’s impossible to pay fees for so many festivals and specially for the big ones, that usually charge not exactly small fees for submissions. It’s that time when you remember again that cinema still it’s an art for bourgeois and exactly because of that it’s important not to give up. Filmmakers with no money to travel or submissions fees, no money for distribution, but anxious to make one more movie, they need to exist. Low budget and underground movies needs to exist, underground movies are the good news, a statement, a statement of a defying existence in an environment dominated by big budgets or rich people.

With your previous short Good Morning Carlos you created personalised hand drawn vomit bags as part of the promotion. Are you going to do a similar promotion for Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair?

Well, as always depends on money. For Good Morning Carlos, with the help of a friend and some small amount of money we did 600 vomit bags, 300 with silk screen, and 300 with space for me to draw special bags. I’m still using and distributing those bags! New gimmicks will come for the release of Pazucus in DVD, like the Pazucus umbrellas to protect you from the rain of blood and acid that will come with the turd apocalypse!  And of course, his own vomit bags and many more!

What was one of your favourite scenes in the film?

I love the whole movie so much, I’m not saying that in a narcissistic way, I’m saying because I’m really in love with everything we did, since the beginning. It’s so wonderful to see the picture being screened in so many places after so many work. But for sure one of my favourite scenes it’s the exorcism ritual with the Pazucus Goddess and Carlos. It was such a wonderful day and I’m so happy with the results on editing. We talk a little about the witch in The Lair of the White Worm (1988) and Ligia Marina brought all her wonderful visual ideas and political struggles for her character, creating pure magic! I also love a scene where we see Marcel Mars going to a bridge from one extreme to another, like he was in a ballet dance, this scene always makes me emotional when I see the movie at cinemas.

Do you have any new projects which you are working on?

Preparing the extras for Pazucus DVD is the first mission. Meanwhile I hope to begin the editing for Viatti Arrabbiatti, my gangster feature, a demented adventure that I begin to make it on 2010 and now it’s time to release it, finally. It’s a mafia movie, with Faunos.

If someone is looking to direct their first film, what advice would you give them?

Don’t be afraid of mistakes, and always learn with the people around you. Be nice to people, to everyone. Be nice with the people you work, with the people who watch your movie and also with who hates your movie. When we make movies, we deal with failure all the time. Some filmmakers become more possessed with grudge on every step of failure, you don’t want to be that person. If you had a good relationship with everyone, the failures will be more soft, because you will be surrounded by love and friends encouraging you to stand up and do it more! Stay with your heart open and your eyes free! Things will happen!

Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair will be playing at the Horror-on-Sea Festival on Saturday 27th January at 10pm.

You can find out more information on the event and purchase tickets from the Horror-on-Sea website https://www.horror-on-sea.com


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