Synopsis: A man tries to track down a potential love interest on a crowded train using a smartphone app.
What does this film say about how love and technology intersect? Is it a good thing or a bad thing, in your opinion?
The answer is probably somewhere in between. Of course, technology is great because people get connected more easily. When I was young, if you met somebody on the train or bus, you could write a small letter in the local newspaper in the hope of finding the potential big love that got away. On the other hand, phones and apps can blind us from what is actually right in front of us. That’s what the film is about.
Shooting a film on a train must have been challenging. What sort of difficulties did you encounter?
When we started production, we knew that shooting on a subway train would be the hardest thing to secure. When we first contacted the Amsterdam Transport Department (GVB) they immediately said NO. After that, we put in a request in another other city but again without any luck. Then we spoke to a colleague who had made a television series in and about Amsterdam and had a good connection with the director of the GVB. He gave us her contact and the next day we got a very easy YES!
But then, just a week before shooting, we received a letter from the GVB that we could only shoot in a subway train that is open to the general public and we could only take seven people with us. This was a big problem because we needed a lot of extra’s, story wise and continuity wise. That’s when we thought: Fuck it! We are going to take our +30 extras with us secretly. So we gave the extras a day pass for the subway and told them that if someone asked them what they were doing, “they were going home.” We shot like this for over three nights.
One of the attractions of this film is that the leading actor has an “everyman” quality about him. How did you find him?
The lead actor, Bert Hana, is a great actor that I had seen before in a great Dutch short a couple of years ago. So when we started casting, I told the producers, if Bert is not available, we aren’t going to shoot the film. He had to be it. After screenings of the film, women tend to comment that they love him and can really sympathize with him because he is not a total moron that looks dorky, but he also isn’t a superman. And what he can do with the expression on his face! I love him!
There is no dialogue in this film. Was that a conscious decision?
It wasn’t a conscious decision at first in that we didn’t start with the idea: “Let’s make a short without dialogue.” But when we started writing, it immediately turned out without dialogue. That really made me happy because telling a story without dialogue is the essence of what film is all about for me. But then again, to be honest, my next film is going to be full of dialogue because as a director, it really makes me happy to direct a good dialogue.
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