'THE INNOCENTS' DIRECTOR ESKIL VOGT IS A 'BIG BRIAN DE PALMA FAN'
"The Norwegian screenwriter and filmmaker Eskil Vogt has long been one of the most intriguing and innovative writer-directors of the Scandi new wave," writes Vogue's Erik Morse in a profile interview article about Vogt. "Last year’s Cannes Film Festival screened not one but two of Vogt’s recent projects—The Worst Person in the World, written with longtime collaborator Joachim Trier (for which both men were nominated for best original screenplay at the Academy Awards) and his own film The Innocents. Part supernatural fable and part familial melodrama, The Innocents peeks into the enchanting and sometimes sinister world of children when parents are not watching."
During the interview portion of the article, Morse asks Vogt about the influence of other such films:
There was a glut of child-possession and telekinesis films during the late 1970s and early ’80s, like The Omen, The Fury, Carrie, The Shining, and The Twilight Zone film. Were these films and that period of filmmaking important to you?
I was, and still am, a big Brian De Palma fan. Carrie and The Fury—I don’t think The Fury is his best movie, but there are some really interesting sequences in it. At that time, as a teenager, I also read a lot of Stephen King, and that’s very much a part of what you are describing. When I started to work on The Innocents, I didn’t think much about it in that context until I was quite far along, and I was ready to speak about it to my collaborators and my producer. I said, “Well, it’s about these kids who have these powers…,” and suddenly, at that moment, I realized: “Oh, no, am I making one of those films?” Because there are so many movies and television series being made now about young people with supernatural powers. But then I started to think about it, and I realized that my movie was about childhood with a capital C. It’s really about being very young—about the magic of childhood and that secret parallel world kids live in. And there are those feelings of imagination that you lose as you get older. Most of those other movies and series are about puberty; instead, I watched a lot of classic movies about childhood because what I felt I was doing more than making a scary movie or a supernatural movie was making a movie about how it felt to be a child.
What sorts of childhood films?
There is a French film called Ponette, which has a four- or five-year-old lead. Jacques Doillon made it. I think [Victoire Thivisol] won best actress in Venice. It was so inspiring to see how difficult it was and how great the result was. Also, some of those Spanish classics like The Spirit of the Beehive. I watched the Peter Brook adaptation of Lord of the Flies. I was very impressed by the acting in that movie. These films just gave me confidence that I could pull off the child acting. There is nothing more cinematic than seeing the transparent face of a child going through emotions and thinking things. It’s such a wonderful thing to capture with a camera.