Creating Atmospheres, Not Sets
“I’m so passionate in my work that I suffer and enjoy everything.” – Brigitte Broch
Yesterday, the Guanajuato International Film Festival had the pleasure of artist Brigitte Broch’s presence. She gave a Master Class in the morning at Mesón de San Antonio in Guanajuato City. Emphasising “national”, GIFF pays tribute to this woman who considers herself profoundly Mexican, because apart from having arrived in our Nation more than 50 years ago, she’s a great contributor to Mexican cinema and culture.
Moderated by Cinematographer, Stephen Goldblatt, Brigitte spoke about her wonderful world of reality and fantasy. Confessing that she never studied Design or anything related to it, Brigitte’s career started with a dream of being an actress and a dancer. She followed her instinct and entered cinema, declaring herself self-taught, specifically in Art Direction. Today she is a reference in production design in the most iconic films of the last few decades, including Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos, and she eventually won the Ariel in 200 for Antonio Serrano’s Sexo, pudor y lágrimas. Internationally renowned Mexican directors seek her out to work with her, including her great friend Alejandro González Inárritu, who said at one point that Brigitte sees our culture in a very rich way through that foreign view she has.
Brigitte Broch has won several awards, always building stories that navigate an ocean of complexities and after more than 30 Mexican and international films, she contributes to cinema “in body and soul” as she says, above all to Mexican cinema.
She was very clear that to make her work possible, the most important thing for her is her connection with the filmmaker and even more important, knowing if the person behind the camera is interested in production design. The director-camera-art director relationship is, as she says, “a relationship of extreme communication”.
For Brigitte, Art Direction is a beautiful process in which you discover what locations can give you, but it’s also important because you give the actors a little something extra to connect them to the story, their story, and be able to contribute with them to the integrity of the film. She extended an important piece of advice to all those who are interested in going into art direction, especially the young people who went; to read and become cultured, to analyze cinema. “Everything requires great effort, and thus great perseverence”.
Someone in attendance asked Brigitte about her experience in the film La hija del Puma, and she answered that it was emotionally the film that affected her the most. She highlighted that when she discovered that Mayan soul and those roots in Mexico that the film required, she told herself that it’s what she liked to do, a very important discovery in her career.
To conclude, the she was asked about the visual aspects of her work and she said that the decorator must work intimately with the designer, it’s a dup that should be inseparable because they depend on each other. She also said that the role of a production designer is still not very clear, even for the Academy, because when they talk about art direction, those who show up are the production directors and in Mexico directors want art design producers not realizing that it’s something that goes beyond a budget and as she said previously; this indicates an intimate communication among camera, direction, costumes, etc.
“It’s a profession that’s still in construction, what’s most important to a designer is to apply their sensibility and work on it, broaden it through culture, make sure everyone can feel it”, she said.
“My style is extremely detailed. Every film and every screenplay needs its own design, I never repeat anything, I try to work to the last detail. My seal is to be meticulous because even though you can’t see it, I give it the 360º turn to give the actor the sensation that he is in a real space and I give the camera man and the director a space to play in” the National Tributee for GIFF’s 20th Edition concluded.
Brigitte Broch involves herself deeply in every journey she embarks on and puts all her talent at the service of the meticulous fabric of those elements that construct a film set, where her apparent silence and subtlety give a sense to lives that for a moment stop being fiction.