Bill Morrison in discussion with Michal Kosakowski


BM: So are you going to live with them?

MK: No, I’m not going to live with them. After New York I’m traveling to Warsaw, and we are doing three days of shooting there, and then we stay two weeks and come back again, and stay for one week together. So it’s about 5 days a month.

BM: Do you see a correlation between perhaps Zero Killed or Sleepers? A sort of a socialization of violence through normal, in this case acting, or in the case of Sleepers, video games?

MK: Sleepers was more something that I discovered, being there. I thought it was incredibly fascinating, because while you were there you couldn’t really see it. You couldn’t go deeper inside it and realize that the little persons were the children who were actually mostly fascinated by these weapons. That is why I chose the format, CinemaScope. I had to cut out the parents (laughs). It became a very strong image. Many people said these were images from somewhere in the United States, but no, it was Austria. I think it’s a common thing, that you go to every country and you have this kind of thing going on with weapons, in particular when the military is presenting it to the public. So I sought this playful idea to mix it with the video games, because it looked to me like that, while they were using guns. It was so surreal to me that I came up with this idea for the film.

This is probably not so much about fantasies (like Zero Killed) but more… well we can put them as their fantasies (the children’s). It is about the fantasies that I see in these children, but Zero Killed is more about the fantasies of the people that they really came up with.

BM: So I guess it’s a violence that’s lurking below, but hasn’t erupted yet. You see that in Holy War as well, in this sort of undercurrent. It seems to be also a visual motif that you use, these two planes that are cutting one above the other. You refer to it in this quote that it was a truth on top of falsehood, like one on one. With the last film Deep Water Horizon, there are two planes going over each other. We see how the heart of it begins and ends with these long crossovers that you use, like two realities that are sharing the same plane.

Audience Member #2: Actually I have a question about Just like the Movies. Like a lot of people who didn’t live in New York during 9/11, I watched it on the news. In those movies there must be scenes of anchors talking and footage being shown, but you didn’t use any footage of news person or journalists mediating the event to the public. I was wondering if that was a conscious choice?

MK: Yes, there are some shots where you see journalists looking at the jumping people. But I thought the idea of the whole movie Just like the Movies, was to make a silent movie. The piano music–mainly piano because there are also electronic sounds too– is the symbol of the origins of cinema. The idea was to use a topic from the 21st century and to connect it with the origins of cinema, with the idea of cinema, and to make a kind of bridge between these two centuries. This is why I didn’t want to use dialogue in it. I don’t really like dialogue as you can see it in my films (laughs). I’m more into music as a tool for dialogue.

BM: Thank you for sharing your work.


Watch Sleepers (2002), 3 min.