Academy award-winning Spanish Director Mateo Gil astounds with his new science fiction drama Realive, which follows a terminally ill man named Marc as he decides to have his body cryogenically preserved so that he might have a chance to experience the life he missed out on in the future. Gil took some time to answer questions about his latest film for Borrowing Tape in a phone interview.
In addition to directing Realive, you also wrote the script. What inspired you to pen the story?
My inspiration for the story first came many years ago when I wrote the movie Open Your Eyes (1997), which was directed by Alejandro Amenábar. In that film, the plot involved a character being cryogenically preserved. And that was a disturbing concept for me at the time because I wondered why people would want to be resurrected in the future. What kind of life could you have? How would you feel? I also heard a story about how a rat heart had been brought to life for a few seconds through the use of stem cells, which is what actually appears in the movie. I wanted to make a movie about the first resurrected human.
Filming took place in Spain, but Realive is set in North America. Why did you decide to change the location in the story?
We filmed in Spain, but the events in Realive are supposed to happen in California and there are two reasons for this. We needed the film to be in English to finance it, but the more important reason was that there are not many cryogenic places in Europe. We needed to set the story in a country where that kind of technology could take place, and Spain doesn’t have those warehouses. So we made our own place, in a way.
The film is divided into different chapters. What was your reason for doing this?
It’s not an easy question. I was mostly just following my instincts, but the main reason was that I wanted viewers to really think about what the story was about. I wanted the audience to stop and think, “Okay, what is this about? Where is this going? What does this film want me to think about?” When I was with the film editor, I came to the realization that the movie is not a story, but rather a long speech about a single idea. That’s when I knew we needed chapters to give it more order.
What was your favorite part of filming Realive?
That’s difficult to answer because you suffer in the same stages [laughs]. I like to shoot because shooting is difficult in the sense that you have a limited amount of time to do things well, but I also enjoyed writing Realive because it is a very different process.
How are the processes of shooting and writing different?
They are very different processes because when you are directing, you are like a general of an army— giving out orders and that sort of thing. You play the role of a leader. But when you are writing, you can be yourself. But the pressure is still there because you are fully revealing yourself and your ideas.
Realive begins showing in theaters this Friday, September 29th
and on VOD and Digital HD on October 3rd.