Is Pride, Greed, Sloth or any other vice overpowering you? Let’s have a discussion with Gabriel Otero and see what he thinks!
Interviewed by Diyashi Sharma
Cult Critic (CC): Your film The 7 Vices, is very intense and interesting film, with amazing storylines. How did you come up with the idea?
Gabriel Otero (Gabriel): The idea for this film came to my mind while I was working as a photographer in Cannes for a fashion show and I had a room, number 7. At this moment I thought it was the sign to start the script from THE 7 VICES. Immediately I started searching for the history of books and all information about THE 7 Sins. This was on May 2017 The script and storyboard where achieved in 7 months.
CC: Do you believe in the 7 sins of the world? Which one of them do you think is the biggest of all sins?
Gabriel: Of course, I think that all human beings are drawn to vices. This is what I show at the end of the film, when the little girl falls into the hole of the labyrinth and separates from her shadow, like Alice in Wonderland falling into the white rabbit hole. And also, above all, what I want to show is that we are falling into the worst Vice that is LAZINESS, to protect our space ship, the Planet Earth, and we as the crew without taking any action against climate change.
CC: It is amazing how you paid homage to all the legendary writers and filmmakers, did you plan to pay a tribute by making this film or it just happened?
Gabriel: Everything in this film were, at first a dream, then number of thoughts, to finally put into words and get to the Final Cut of THE 7 VICES. In 7 VICES there are several visual references to directors who are among others ,Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Greenaway, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Andrei Tarkovsky, Chris Marker , Dziga Vertov, Jean Luc Godard , but you will have to find them and some writers as Cortazar, Kafka, Borges, Hemingway, Oscar Wild, Léon Tolstoy, Arthur Rimbaud, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Bukowski.
CC: Certain stories shows an era which is in long past, how did you create the atmosphere to get into that mood to get the perfect shots and videos?
Gabriel: My film is the reflection of ghosts of all my dreams, I love to get lost swimming in my darkest dreams… I spent a lot of time to find the perfect locations for the film and only in a couple of times I had to recreate parts of the film in my studio.
CC: All the stories are very different from each other, yet somehow feel connected to each other, how did you come up with these different stories?
Gabriel: There are lots of little details and nods throughout the film, things you can see and things that come, back to us afterwards.
For example, the objects on the table at the start of the film represent the metaphorical introduction to the film. Cortazar’s hopscotch, Kafka’s metamorphosis and at the end, we end with the Borges labyrinth.
There is also in the passage on gluttony, the Sand Woman book by Hiroshi Teshigahara, a Japanese film released in 1964. In the poker scene, all the walls which are in fact mirrors, are covered with the pages of the Journal book 1970- 1986 by Andrei Tarkovsky. We can also see in the vice of LAZINESS with the writer, 2 books by Ana Maria Sugden: The Wandering Agreements and the Curse of the Essence. This character reads a book, the cursed memories of Patrick Mimouni. There is also a small spoiler in the writer’s scene when he shows a book that will hopefully become known, JE T’ATTENDS, MON AMOUR, which is in fact one of my works on violence against women. Women and which will be one of my next films.
There is still a plethora of literary nods in the dream scene for example next to little Tasha, is Oscar Wilde’s The Walk from the Reading Jail. In Sin of Greed, actress Jimena Buttiliengo reads Jorge Luis Borges’s book Aleph. In Wood Sheed we can catch a glimpse of the poster for our next film called ELEVEN, but I won’t tell you more, first you have to tell me what your favourite vice is.
CC: Who or what was your source of inspiration for the film?
Gabriel: Through my evolution as a Director, Inspiration comes from different sources and some come from history, my favourite directors, real personal experiences, books, dreams, imagination. But most of all I tried to look always for a particular aspect in the whole movie and different kind of approach as you can see it’s almost without dialogues. I really prefer to seduce the public with la poetry de mes images. Really, a difficult question since all of them have a part of my heart and soul on it “Dreams” have memories from one of the Etoiles dancers from Argentina where I was born, Raquel Mendez. I consider that the olfactory universe has an immense relationship with the image that one projects and your inner ghosts can project you beyond the image and the sound. There is an abyss between the reality of the spectator, the reality of the space-time of the little girl and the reality of the various short films, which has the effect of plunging the viewer into a surreal dimension.
CC: How much time did it take right from writing the story to getting it on the floor to finally getting the film done? Is there anyone you would like to mention who has helped and supported you throughout the project?
Gabriel: The idea of the Film started on 25 May 2017. The Script was finished in December 2017. Since then I started working on preproduction, storyboard, designing the costumes, building part of the set, Mood boards, looking for the perfects locations, planning schedules, casting and finding the crew, etc. I had to change twice the start of the movie for COVID Restrictions. First day of shooting was 21 June 2020 – Last Day of Shooting 15 December 2020 – THE 7 VICES FINAL CUT EN DCP 28 APRIL 2021.
Total Time: 3 years 11 months and 3 days – Total time in days 1434 days. The Best Sound Engineer in the world From Argentina, Ernesto Figge, my muse Katinka, Emilie Lang my associe Filipe Dos Santos. From Adrian Maglia’s pianist talent (Argentina), Juan Martin Medrano (Guitarist), Suzanne Ben Zakoum (pianist), Camille Raphael Berard (violinist) ,Franco Cinelli (DJ), Vera Baxter (Argentina), to the powerful Michel Moglia (Fire Organ), only musician in the world to make fire talk, Waterflower Fantastic artist that make music with flowers , and Patrice Lorion extraordinary Sound Designer. These sonorous voices, all of which have agreed to be part of this project, will give each scene a special atmosphere. Marioara Cheptene & Steeve Gaudet, world dance champions, gave me great pleasure to accept to play in Dreams,and with the talent of Chloe Rigal bringing their unique experience and grace. Among the actors who have done me the great honor to accept my proposal, I count with Guest Star Arielle Dombasle et Nicolas KER , Katinka , and Chihiro Niuya, Mary Dre Motena ,Keyline ,David Fuchs ,Tomoko Furukawa , Takako Ogazawara ,Patricia Khan ,Dominique Dupoux V. , Clara Ferrer & Anaïs Decoudun Boissy for the extraordinaire Make up and FX .
The sublime Costume Designer Stephanie Lambert ,Duo Style Bruno Petit et Corinne Pion , the German street-artist Konni Steading, Lea Rimaux, Julie Von Trash , Francois Xavier and the Argentine Jimena Buttigliengo. The talented stylist Nobuki Hizume, have also agreed to be part of this film, as Penelope et Philippe Rigal .
CC: As we see, you have induced neorealism, new wave, surrealism in the film; which genre do you prefer more? And who’s your favourite director and film?
Gabriel :As it is difficult and easy to answer, it is to explain it is a mix between nouvelle vague and experimental cinema. Nouvelle Vague with the soul of a surrealist experimentation. My director from whom I studied cinema is Chris Marker with his film LA JETEE.
CC: Among all the shorts, which one you enjoyed making the most?
Gabriel :The most amazing with Nyotaimori and of course Dreams …
CC: Any behind the scenes you would like to share from the sets while filming.
Gabriel :Thanks to all this magic team of THE 7 VICES to make this Dream Come True in one of the most difficult period of the word because of the COVID!!! I will really give my gratitude to all the artists that have been working on this film behind the scenes, that you will never see!
CC: What are your upcoming projects that we should be excited for?
Gabriel :At this moment I am working on my next two films
This film tells the story of 3 women fighting against nuclear contamination to save the planet. They were working with a professor expelled from the Chemistry Department of la Sorbone to create an antidote for this contamination. But they were tracked in an attempt to be silenced by Firms and corrupted politicians.
JE T’ATTENDS MON AMOUR (2025) – Is a film of violence against women.
CC: You started your career a long time ago. Achieved so many things, were there any obstacles while growing up on the ladder of success?
Gabriel : Of course, there’s always obstacles and I had them all as you can imagine and worst. But I survived trying to stay on focus, thinking about my next project trying to do my best, learning all the time and of course being confident on my work. You have to learn and stay away from fake people, Specially Producers.
CC: Any message for your fans and budding filmmakers who look up to you?
Gabriel : THE STARS ARE IN THE SKY!!!
Never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do! Follow your dreams. Never quit, fail, fail fail again, but learn from your mistakes but never give up!!! Try to find your own way that will make your signature and will differentiate you from the rest.