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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Camera Catalonia at Cambridge Film Festival 2014 Part III : Informal interview and punting with Jesús Monllaó, director of Son of Cain (Fill de Caín) (2013)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (28 August to 7 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

4 October (updated 15 November)

Jesús Monllaó brought his first feature, Son of Cain (Fill de Caín) (2013), to Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (@Camfilmfest / #CamFF) on Day 9 (Friday 5 September 2014) as part of this year’s Camera Catalonia strand - on the following morning, @THEAGENTAPSLEY and he met again, and ended up going punting...

The Q&A in Screen 2 at Festival Central : Jesús Monllaó (left), Director of Son of Cain (2013), Ramon Lamarca (centre), curator of Camera Catalonia, and composer Ethan Lewis Malby (right) (please see below) - image by, and courtesy of, David Riley

* Contains spoilers *

This is a follow-up piece to an account of the previous night's Q&A

Middle game (continued)

As we walked to Clare to take the punt out, we talked a little further about a point that had arisen during the Q&A the previous night, when Jesús had said that Nico would next be seen in charge of a huge corporation – which was the suggestion that some people are just ruthless and evil, whereas calling that behaviour psychopathic or sociopathic invokes illness.

In commenting for this account of our chat, Jesús has written : What I tried to convey was that Nico appals us, whereas I consider him a perfectly adapted being to an utterly aggressive and competitive society. Calling him ILL just diverts the real debate.

The chat went along the lines of whether with other conditions, such as bi-polar disorder, it is justifiable to speak of them in those ways, and there was found to be common ground in experience that it is, leaving just how helpful it is, when, even if many people who have a psychopathic condition do not kill, there is no treatment, except perhaps in the very much longer term, for those who do.

For Jesús, at any rate, it helps to ask this question, and to resist a world that seeks to pathologize everything (and so the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, DSM-V, was mentioned). For his part, Jesús was not aware of the rather ambiguous novel Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, which was briefly described to him, and he, in turn, referred to a novel in Spanish, Los Renglones Torcidos de Dios by Torcuato Luca de Tena (seemingly not available in English translation).

Fluid, transitional stage

After equipping the vessel with crew, cushions, paddle and punt-pole, the following images are all by, and courtesy of, Vicky Monllaó...

Not quite the classic view of Clare Old Court,
as King's College Chapel is not visible next door

The punting guests were unavoidably told the old, old story about Queens' Mathematical Bridge - of the gift, of taking it apart to see how it worked, and not being able to put it back together (as it had been)

(Insulting, of course, to undergraduate engineers, and appropriating the word 'mathematical', when, if anything, it should be non-mathematical...)

At The Mill Pond, Jesús and his family were told how the building, now occupied by a faux-Italian restaurant-chain, used to have the working water-wheel from this former mill as a feature

(Anyone remember Sweeney Todd's there in the early 1980s, with its line of descriptions of items on the menu that ripped off and insulted the patrons over the years ?)

Heading the other way from Clare Bridge*, towards Trinity Hall and Trinity

The Bridge of Sighs - a name that connects the otherwise unrelated way into The Ducal Prison (Venezia), one route into St John's cloister-style nineteenth-century accommodation (the college uniquely boasts two bridges, for no obvious reason), and a bridge over a road, so not even over water (Oxford)

The atmospheric - if slightly dead ? - little stretch of water (as just sides of buildings within John's on either side, and barely a plant clinging on) between those bridges...


All too soon, the pleasant time on the Cam was over, and thoughts turned to directing the guests to the station for their onward journey…

Jesús does not play chess profesionally, only sometimes as an aficionado, but, when asked about how real the positions in the games were, he said that a chess master had worked with them as an adviser, and they are all famous matches – except in mirror form, because (curiously) there would otherwise have been some form of copyright for reproducing them, requiring payment of a fee.

On the right, composer of Son of Cain (2013), Ethan Lewis Malby (ELM, as he calls himself on his web-site), who has written compositions from DrumChasers to anthems for the FA and for UEFA - image by, and courtesy of, David Riley

Fighting for Ethan Lewis Maltby to score the film had been on the level of someone known to him whom he wanted to write the music, but who was not in the sphere of the backers. As Jesús himself achieves success with Son of Cain, and works on his next film in pre-production, it is clear that he is proud of Ethan’s work, and that fighting for his artistic vision should become easier…


* The oldest bridge on the river, dating back to 1641.

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

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