Carlos Marques-Marcet's debut film begins with a 23-minute unbroken take. During these 23 minutes, Barcelona couple Alex and Sergi feel their entire relationship shifting, as it's revealed that Alex has received a photography residency in Los Angeles. The rest of the film unfolds as the two communicate through modern technology across the titular 10,000 KM. Marques-Marcet spoke to us about executing the tale of two cities and its personal roots.
This feels like a very personal film. Where did the idea come from?
It comes from my experience of living in Barcelona and moving to Los Angeles, away from someone I loved. But also, many of my friends were leaving, so I drew from that as well. It's not autobiographical -- for me, it was important to make the one who leaves be the female character. I thought it was more interesting, and subverting of people's expectations. It was an opportunity to reflect on distance and technology, how the tools we use to communicate are the same as cinematic tools: they speak through cameras. The actors were doing their own camera operating.
Did you shoot in Barcelona first, and then Los Angeles? How did you execute it, logistically?
For me, it was important that they were able to act off of each other in the Skyping scenes. I didn't want it to be pre-recorded, it's impossible to act against a machine. We thought to shoot it in Barcelona and then Los Angeles, but realized it was too crazy with scheduling. So we shot both apartments in Barcelona, in different districts.
One of my favorite parts of the film is when Alex goes to Silicon Valley, and you show the photographs of these sterile parking lots and buildings that house the very companies that are determining their means of communication. I thought it was a smart idea to make her a photographer, because it allowed you to push beyond the visual limitations of the film.
The idea for the film came when my friend, who is a well-respected photographer, visited me in Barcelona about five years ago. For me, it was very important to understand the process of creating an art project. It's not something you just stumble upon. I wanted it to mean something. Like when she takes photos of the antennae, it's the tools that they use to communicate. But you never see them, you never think about them.