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January 2016

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Page 31 of 53 28 POST JANUARY 2016 O S C A R buzz guy and has very good taste, which is also very important in an editor. And we work well together. That's very important when you spend so much time together in a small room — more than with my wife sometimes (laughs). You get to know someone very well and what each of you likes and doesn't like. We always agree about the real meaning of a scene and what's valuable to save in a performance. And that's crucial, I feel. You hear stories about directors and editors who fight a lot, and I will not even consider that. I edit- ed Amores Perros myself, and it took me eight long months and it was very difficult and lonely and torturous, even though I love editing. So for me, I find it far more enjoyable when I can share that time with someone else in a dark room and all my thoughts about how to put it all togeth- er — all the infinite possibilities. I was so relieved to find Mirrione, who's also very calm and pragmatic. It's not easy to find someone with all his qualities." Tell us about the visual effects and how you used them, especially in the soon- to-be-famous bear mauling scene? "That sequence was definitely one of the hardest to do and get right, as it had to look completely realistic or it'd take you out of the whole movie, so we used a mix of visual effects and special effects. I don't want to give away all our secrets, but we applied all the available technol- ogy — it wasn't just one thing. And a lot of it was real — the real thing, which we combined with a lot of other elements, including stunt men, prosthetics and make up, and CGI. And we wanted it to be like one unbroken shot, which makes it even more intense. [VFX producer] Richard McBride, who did Gravity, was also on the set all the time, which helped a lot. ILM, Cinesite, MPC and others worked on it and we did a lot of clean up for snow, and lots of little stuff to do with the animals that had to be held. My aim was always to use any VFX for as much rigorous realism as possible, and the fact is, using VFX for realism is far more difficult than when you use them for fantasy. Then you have a license to create anything you can imagine. But when it's something like this, audiences know what reality looks like and how it behaves." It has a great score by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nikolai. How important are sound and music to you? "The music was crucial and they've col- laborated for a long time as a team doing electronica, and we used sounds of nature blending with electronic sounds and with strings and silence. I love the score, but the Academy just announced that they've denied Ryuichi eligibility for an award, as they cannot allow two composers to do the score, which is outrageous, as they've done six albums together. I think they should reconsider the rules. It's a real shame. Anyway, for me it's hard to overestimate just how important music and sound are to my films. I think there's a dictatorship of the image in all films, and I really like to challenge that. For me, sound is even more important than what you see on screen, in the way that it hits you. The emotional chords are much more sensitive to sounds than images, because they're more abstract, and like smells they can trigger a much deeper understanding of things. When you see images, they're very concrete. When you hear them, they're abstract in the way they trigger your own emotional baggage. So I spend a lot of time looking for just the right sounds and textures for my films, and again I worked with sound designer and editor Martin Hernandez who's designed all my films since we were at college and then the radio station together. So he knows exactly what I like and want, and in this case we really pushed the sound de- sign even more — and we always push it." Where did you do the DI? "At Technicolor in LA, with Steve Scott. I'm involved, but it's mostly Chivo. He's the master of light and the DI's a very delicate thing as you can go crazy with it, so you must control yourself and not overuse it, as then you can lose the natural look of light. And they did an amazing job." Did the film turn out the way you hoped? "I have to say it did, and I'm very proud of it. Every time I see it I get a kind of post-traumatic syndrome and remem- ber just how hard it was. It was a hugely ambitious film with a lot of risk of failing on every level, but thanks to the efforts of 300 people for nearly a year, I feel we succeeded." What's next? The Revenant — Part 2? "(Laughs hard) No! Never again. I'm a little crazy, but I'm not totally stupid. I'm going to go to my cave like a bear and sleep for six months. I want my life back." Technicolor handled the DI. The film was mixed at Universal.

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