Daniel Kulle: Shooting Experimental Fictional Film

It doesn’t happen too often that the border between experimental and fictional film is torn down. Of course, there are a lot of people who started in experimental film making and progressed towards fictional film, or even continue to switch between the two. But there aren’t too many cases of filmmakers, who try to combine both worlds in equal measures, the emotional impact of a well told fictional story and the visual and auditory impact of experimental aesthetics,. Peter Greenaway, Philippe Grandrieux or Guy Maddin might come to mind, as disparate as they might be; the wonderfully affecting Belgian film L’étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani that combines giallo references with a tactile aesthetics that gives you more than goose bumps; or the amazing Like Cattle Towards Glow by Dennis Cooper and Zac Farley.

But why the hell would I, with no experience in fictional film making, next to no experience in experimental film, no money and no film school or business contacts, venture out to make such a movie myself, especially if I already lined up all those role models I would never be able to stand up to. Why not make a simpler movie, a more conventional one that has a greater chance of being selected for a festival, getting money and so on? Why not go the regular way, straight and narrow?

Well, call it defiance, call it impatience, call it even willful ignorance about the matter of facts. But let’s face it: If we hadn’t done Under Your Skin that way, with nearly no money and much too few people, it would have never been done. It wouldn’t have been done this way, it wouldn’t have been done “better”, it would not have been done at all. And considering the circumstances, it really was a miracle we got it done: shooting was in December (with several outside scenes), we had two straight protagonists playing a very open sex scene, several VFX shots, and we had much too much equipment for us to carry around all the time. So, you can see that Under Your Skin is not my film, it’s our film.

It’s a cinema that doesn’t care too much about how it’s done. Or, to put it more precisely, that doesn’t care enough to lay off it just because we don’t have the money to do what our imagination leads us to. It’s a kind of cinema povera, a cinema of defiance, that tries to go as far as one can go with the means you have, ignoring all regards of professionalism and rules of propriety. It’s a cinema that embraces and undermines kitsch and theatricality, that tries to find its poetics in and beyond the image and the skin of their protagonists. But first of all it’s a cinema of stubborn imagination that fight its way into reality against all odds. It brings together a group of people that don’t care about how it’s being done, about mainstream standards or the rules of the (gay film) market, and that work together to search for an aesthetic that’s new, fresh and awkward.

Daniel Kulle’s film In deiner Haut (translation: Under Your Skin) is being shown as part of SQIFF Shorts: Look At Me at the CCA Glasgow on Sunday 1st October at 6.45-8.00pm. In a dystopian future world of surveillance and work, Max compensates for his isolation by programming his very own virtual world, a campy safe haven. Technological LGBTQ+ themes are probed in this cyber-collection of shorts.

ACCESS: Level access at entrance of CCA with Cinema space on ground floor. Accessible toilets available. Various languages with English subtitles/captions. Hearing loop.

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