Cinema for me is…
Diego in 23 Frames
1. Describe yourself in ten words.
A physicist with a passion for film: restless, spontaneous, dreamer. Nationality: Cypriot-Salvadoran.
2. Your best quality? Your worst habit?
Best quality: Never giving up without a battle.
Worst habit: I tend to overthink things.
3. Your dream job?
(Travelling) Film Director – relocating every few years, shooting films in different countries, learning languages and meeting new people, developing scripts along the way!
4. What do you like most about your country?
The sound of the waves when it’s quiet, and I’m stargazing by the sea on a summer night.
5. Your favorite dish in your country?
Κολοκούθκια με τ’αυκά! (Kolokuthkia me t’afka).
6. Which word or phrase in your native language do you like the most and what does it mean?
“Βάρ’του ρίγανη” (Var’tu rigani) = “Add oreganon”, meaning something is a lost cause, beyond repair – so you may as well add oreganon to it!
7. What European capital have you visited lately?
Berlin – during the Berlinale last February.
8. Other than your own, which European country would you love to live in?
Spain or Italy.
9. What does Europe mean to you? 3 values.
Unity. Diversity. Cinema.
10. What film made you fall in love with cinema?
I have a special place in my heart for many, many films… I can’t pinpoint the first time I fell in love with cinema, but I think Kubrick and Tarantino had something to do with it. Something that redefined cinema for me recently, and made me fall in love with it again, was Part 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return by David Lynch – and that’s technically not even a film. (Seriously – love it. I’ve even dreamt about it).
11. Your favorite film theatre? What do you like about it?
The BFI Southbank. It’s so much more than just a film theatre! It has a film shop, a mediatheque, a film library full of resources for filmmakers, and it’s right on the Thames, in the heart of London. The film programming is brilliant, ticket prices are very affordable for young audiences (£3), and they always organise fantastic events, Q&A’s and retrospectives throughout the year. It’s the home of BFI Flare and the London Film Festival, which I have very fond memories of. It’s also the place where I first watched Bergman’s Persona (1966, SE) and where I met Wim Wenders at a screening of Alice in the Cities (1974, DE) – so it’s pretty special to me!
12. Who is your movie hero?
Cabiria – from Federico Fellini’s Le Notti di Cabiria (1957, IT).
13. Which movie director would you like to be?
Lots of them at once, and no one in particular! I’d rather be a director in my own right. (Though I’ll probably end up stealing ideas from most of them anyway…) I’m pretty bad at this game, so here: an online test says I’m Bergman. I’m sure that’s completely accurate, and I wouldn’t mind at all – so let’s go with that!
14. Briefly describe your favorite scene.
From Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann (2016, DE), the scene where Ines is forced to sing Greatest Love of All in front of a random Romanian family celebrating Easter, when her father persistently starts playing the keyboard. The most heartwarming moment I can think of in recent film history! You can just picture the two of them doing exactly the same, when Ines was little and the future full of possibilities. One of the best examples of the “show, don’t tell” technique I’ve ever seen. Ines is not a talented singer, but she sings her heart out in that performance! Despite her father’s intervention, she rushes right back to the lifestyle that’s making her miserable.
15. What are the 3 best European films you have seen in the last year?
Cold War (Paweł Pawlikowski, 2018, PL)
120 Beats Per Minute (Robin Campillo, 2017, FR)
God’s Own Country (Francis Lee, 2017, GB)
And I also loved Summer 1993 (Carla Simón, 2017, ES).
16. Which film character do you most identify with?
Chiron – from Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2017, US)
17. Your favorite soundtrack or song?
– The score from Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017, US) by Jonny Greenwood.
– “I Get Overwhelmed” by Dark Rooms, featured in David Lowery’s A Ghost Story (2017, US).
– The score from Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960, US) by Bernard Herrmann.
– “Llorando” by Rebekah Del Rio, from David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (1999, US).
A very special mention goes to the soundtrack from Little Miss Sunshine (2006, US).
18. If you had to live in a movie, which one would you like it to be?
Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977, IT)… Wow. I did not know that about myself.
19. Your life becomes a bio-pic. Who plays the role of you?
Can’t think of anyone who could pull off the monobrow!
20. Which talent would you most like to have?
The talent to translate my feelings into music.
21. What is your most treasured possession?
My memories. And a photo album dated 27/09/2015.
22. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Learning to embrace my feelings and emotions, whatever they may be.
23. What is your motto?
“Every day, once a day, give yourself a present.”