INSIDE THE ARCADE MACHINE with Bruno Gradaschi

by cultshorts 27/03/2021

How 80’s video games inspired a visually stunning sci-fi satire about our consumeristic society. Cult Critter talks to Argentinian filmmaker Bruno Gradaschi.

How did you get into filmmaking? What filmmakers have made an impact on you and shaped your taste and style?

I always loved the complexity of cinema as art to capture a narrative, how it assembles images and sounds and transforms them into something else. I studied at the Institute of Cinematographic Art (IDAC), but from a very young age, I was passionate about cinema. It is difficult for me to appoint directors, I look at everything. I like to see films from all periods and from different parts of the world.

What was the thematic inspiration for Consume?

Alienation at work within the current model of society, where we all run after a promise of something that they sell us in advertisements that never really comes. I feel that at times we are like the donkey that runs after a carrot that it will never reach and many of us seem capable of anything just to get closer to it.

What was the visual and conceptual inspiration for CONSUME?

CONSUME’s art concept has several origins: from the cinema, influences such as They Live, Matrix, Brazil, Zero Theorem, Delicatessen, Blade Runner, Soilent Green, Hardware, Tetsuo, Home Alone, Fifth Element.
From video games, I am 42 years old but I play video games since I was 7, games from the 80s and 90s are a very important reference. Comics, cartoonists like Juan Gimenez and Enki Bilal. And literature, Dick, Orwell, Huxley, Casares.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

How do you feel about the consumeristic ego driven society of today?

I think it is something that you have to try to build little by little, it seems to me that you have to start from empathy with the other in order to build a less selfish human being.

One of the reasons why I personally love sci-fi is that it gives you an insight into the world that we might be creating for the next generations. Having made a stunning satire with CONSUME, where do you believe humanity is headed?

I love that science fiction, and especially dystopias, because they are able to criticize certain aspects of society, from a political point of view, but without falling into the pamphlet. This is a genre that is usually overlooked and underestimated, despite its strong and committed stories.

Can you share some details about the creative process? Was there something that you found particularly challenging about Consume?

The development of CONSUME took approximately two and a half years. We did not have any financial help. We all work without charging our work because we liked the project, 90 percent of the elements that are seen in the scenography are items that we were getting from friends or in second-hand sales. The most important challenge, I think, was to convince the entire team that we were going to be able to carry out the project by achieving the technical level that we wanted to achieve. The production scheme was very tight, with a lot of work prior to filming to arrive with everything resolved and to be able to finish in the times we had planned. We are very proud of the result. Thank you, I love that you can see and in the best of cases enjoy CONSUME. Part of the concept of the project was to capture the narrative in such a way that it can be understood anywhere in the world, that is why I also decided to dispense with the dialogues and achieve that everything is understood from purely the audiovisual.

What are your plans and dreams for the future as a filmmaker?

I am working on the first drafts of a feature film project, inspired by the story of an Argentinian writer. A narrative that begins as a crime story (based on a real case) and ends as a fantastic tale of cosmic horror.

I really can’t wait to see that! Best of luck Bruno!

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