Thomas Nuijten directs ‘ Hanging Around Isn’t Going to Make Anything Happen’.
Words from Thomas below:
Thomas, shooting a film with many scenes such as this, how conscious are you of the cut while shooting?
I’m always conscious of the edit while writing out the script, but during shooting, I allow the scenes to develop. I gave space to the actors after the scripted scenes ended, letting the shot linger for a while longer.
The most space I gave was to the actress in the theatre scene. Originally, I’d written this to have lots of switches in emotions and so I needed to create space for the actress to go through all of these changes – no matter how long it took.
Can you tell us about the collaboration with your DOP?
Stef Kwinten and I have worked together many times before, and this felt like our chance to really go for something we both love. In terms of lighting, we wanted to create a realistic setting while always having a slight hyper-realistic/otherworldly touch – a hint of subjectivity.
Colour also played a very important role. From the beginning, we decided to give each scene its own main color that we would use as our starting point. In some scenes, this can be seen clearly, for example, the green scene with the singing man.
If we felt a shot was too plain, clear, or straightforward, we wouldn’t shoot it.
Did you set yourself any rules/guidelines for the visual style?
One of our main inspirations was large format photography, hence the ratio of the film’s image. Besides that, we decided to frame our main actions or characters in the exact middle.
The slightly surreal touch, the otherworldly, was also something that we needed to see in each and every frame. If we felt a shot was too plain, clear, or straightforward, we wouldn’t shoot it.
Can you name any filmmakers that you attribute as an influence on your own style?
It’s quite a long list.
My favourite filmmakers include Chantal Akerman, Ingmar Bergman, Kenneth Anger, Yorgos Lanthimos and Agnes Varda. All of these filmmakers (and with them many other films and makers that have inspired me) have left a significant impression and attributed to my personal style. All of these makers have a strong visual language that they combine with an uncommon or open approach to narration.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading ‘Flights’ by Olga Tokarcuk; ‘Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life’ by Adam Greenfield and a book by Lieven Decauter about the modern hunger for experiences, of which I’m not sure if there’s an English translation.