TIFF 2023 | The Human Surge 3 (Eduardo Williams, Argentina/Portugal/Brazil/Netherlands/Taiwan/Hong Kong/Sri Lanka/Peru) — Wavelengths 

By Blake Williams.

Published in Cinema Scope #96 (Fall 2023).

“…is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance. The tree imposes the verb ‘to be,’ but the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunction, ‘and…and…and…’ This conjunction carries enough force to shake and uproot the verb ‘to be.’ Where are you going? Where are you coming from? What are you heading for? These are totally useless questions.”

—Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus

By now, those familiar with the filmography of Argentinian filmmaker Eduardo “Teddy” Williams are aware of his wont to open his films in medias res. His narratives (to the limited extent to which they can be called that) invariably follow low-income twentysomethings from various parts of the world—usually in South America, Africa, and/or Asia—lazing with their friends between menial shift work and other odd jobs, and he drops viewers into these milieux mid-scene, mid-conversation, sometimes even mid-sentence, and immediately tasks us with catching (and keeping) up with his characters’ scattered actions and thoughts. Little surprise, then, that his second feature, The Human Surge 3, arrives after a non-existent sequel to his debut, The Human Surge (2016), and picks up where nothing left off. Born on the extreme margins of an industry that is still only barely interested in product that isn’t either a sequel, remake, or reboot, Williams’ Surge saga is a franchise befitting the current climate of arthouse filmmaking, wherein conventions of continuity, plot mechanics, and psychological clarity are increasingly being challenged, if not outright dismissed. We have no idea where we’re going, but we seem to be getting there fast.

Noting the differences between the two features ends up being part of the fun. There are no returning humans from the initial Surge in Surge 3, and the transitions connecting their respective locations—Argentina, Mozambique, and the Philippines in the first; Sri Lanka, Peru, and Taiwan in this one—have graduated from fluidly linear to spiritedly elliptical. Exe, Alf, Archie, and Canh are gone, and Williams now introduces us to Meera & Sharika, Livia & Abel, and Ri Ri & “BK.” Less erotic yet generally more queer, the new Surge feels more spontaneous, lighter, and considerably more playful. The acting is rougher, but at the same time the film is also less interested in grounding its scenes in straight realism. Characters are no longer confined to their home country, and pop up in each of the other locales as if they’ve passed through a wormhole, transcending time and space to be with others in the community this film has forged. We may one day see, in the nth episode of The Human Surge, Exe, Meera, Abel, and other future subjects spanning time in the multiverse. 3 suggests that any future permutation, every possible (re)organization of its particles, could come to fruition. 

From the opening view of a nondescript beach nestled beneath a sea of storm clouds, The Human Surge 3 destabilizes viewers with obscured information, beginning just as cryptically as the previous entry ended. (“You came back!” “No. I don’t believe you.”) The first lines of dialogue—“Didn’t you run away?” “We’ll wait until it becomes stronger,” followed by multiple screams—are uttered and emoted by people we cannot see, and are reactions to a situation we are not shown. Even after two subjects finally enter the frame, guiding the camera through the dunes, past some people sleeping while standing up (which we are alerted to, but never see) and around to another side of the beach, our engagement with the image is pervaded by mystery and doubts. Who are these individuals? What is the narrative importance of their actions and discussion? Who in the frame (if any of them) is speaking? As is often the case with Williams’ tracking shots, the camera is too distant from the action to match voices to mouths. Here, in particular, we’re made conscious of the potentiality that any given voice could be coming from any number of sources, whether it’s someone we see, a character just out of frame, or, hell, even the camera operator, who may well end up being one of the film’s principal characters. 

This manner of narrative withholding and misdirection, which evokes some of the obscurantist tactics seen in Godard’s work, extends across much of the rest of the film, and is largely facilitated by the filmmaker’s choice of camera. As he did for his 2019 short Parsi, Williams opted to shoot The Human Surge 3 with a 360 VR camera. The Insta360 Titan—a spherical device nearly equal in size and weight to a ten-pin bowling ball—captures 11K video via eight lenses surrounding its body, and allows for scenes to be framed during post-production. The distinctive ultra–wide angle lens distortion of 360 cameras, wherein the ground curls up into sky (and vice versa), is immediately recognizable to viewers who have ever seen flattened VR video before; once noticed, it recalibrates one’s spectatorship in profound ways. Every side of the camera is recorded—the “proper” scene in front of it, and also the entire field of visible negative space above, under, and behind it. Thus, to see any frame is to be made conscious of every other side we’re not seeing. Sometimes, Williams humours us and cranes over to reveal what is (or, often, isn’t) happening over there, and others we’re left to wonder.

Even though we’re experiencing the film in a non-VR mode of display, the sense of being inside the scene is palpable, and essentially transforms our encounter with the image into a form of Cartesian theatre. Scholar Alison McMahan developed the term “homunculus films” to describe the affective charge offered by VR work, likening its strangeness to a certain tendency in early cinema—namely, in select movies by Louis Lumière, Alice Guy, and Edwin S. Porter—wherein the film’s camera operator is included in the diegesis, so that the creator of the image became analogous to the movie spectator’s own vision. We see this effect in James Cameron’s Avatar films, when Earthlings virtually enter the bodies of the Na’vi (and, while we’re at it, it’s also the plot of Being John Malkovich [1999]). While watching The Human Surge 3, one can readily feel its maker entering the film’s body to reframe its already recorded image. Williams has used rephotography several times before in his work, usually to build up layers of format textures and artifacts—e.g., digital video rescanned off a laptop with Super 16mm film—but here he ups the ante: we are the spectator within the spectator, the body inside the machine, watching its gaze become our own.

In case it isn’t evident already, Williams doesn’t hesitate to take playful liberties with his workflow, and it’s remarkable that his experiment expresses an inclusive rather than exclusionary air. Any person, animal, or object present during the shoot was in play, and it’s his democratic willingness to direct our eyes toward anything, to leave nothing behind, that helps lend the film its utopian attitude. A motorcycle mishap becomes secondary to a pigeon that flaps up and over the camera, just as, later, the camera gets distracted from characters lounging in a jungle by a fly that appears to land on one of the camera lenses, then buzzes around to another side of the camera, to other lenses, before it darts off—every movement precisely tracked in close-up. Later, a static long take of a docked boat in an Amazonian swamp seems to finally reveal its subject several minutes into the take once a monkey enters the frame, only for the camera to then passively pan away, tilting upward and accelerating its spin as it zooms into the treetops, now a kaleidoscopic roof to the domed ceiling of the image.

An RPG fairy tale at heart, The Human Surge 3 ends with as close to a climax as one could expect from this filmmaker, siding with euphoria and silliness alike for an image that demands new heights to accommodate it. Narrative threads are, of course, left unresolved—Will a mega-millionaire get killed? Who are those blue starling eggs being taken to? Did they hatch and lend their wings?—yet this is a film of inversion, spiralling upward when narrative dictates, “go west.” Its gaps are there not to be bridged, but to help create more tunnels. Every dream told—and there are well over a dozen instances of a character sharing some dream, fantasy, or hallucination—refers to a scene that either has already occurred or will later on, in a faraway place much different than where they are now. In this oneiric axis, the Cloud effectively supplants the first film’s teleological march into digital nihilism, and one might call that progress.

Cinema Scope: I first met you in Mar del Plata in 2017, and I remember asking then if you were working on anything new. You said you were, but the only thing you knew about it was that it was going to be shot in six different countries. What is it about this nomadic way of working that you’re drawn to, to the point where it’s one of the primary decisions going into this project?

Eduardo Williams: Well, I don’t know what the primary impulse is, because there are many different ones that I thought about and then didn’t do. In the end, I mainly shot in only three countries—well, really it was four, because the last scene I shot in Brazil. But, yes, I forgot until you said this that initially I had this fantasy of six. It was just too complicated and expensive, because it was very important to me that the actors from each country would travel to all of the other ones. Just imagine! Six countries would have been impossible. 

These things that didn’t happen still always end up as part of the film somehow. Moving between what I want to do and what ends up being possible is an important part of how I work. This film actually had a few other different intentions that I was telling to friends early on. At one moment, the whole film was only going to be shot on islands, but that didn’t happen. Then I knew it would all only happen during the rain. Then that failed, too.

Scope: The weather didn’t cooperate?

Williams: Not at all. We made a whole rain-protection structure specifically for the camera, then we went to Sri Lanka during their rainy season. It was the first country we went to, and there was almost no rain. The forecast told us, “Yes, it is raining now, here, where you are standing,” and it wasn’t raining. The idea came to me when I was in Indonesia during a real rainy season. It rained all the time, non-stop, and I thought it would be great to make a film under the rain. I liked that it would be an everyday element used in a specific way, and made to feel very strange. If this rain situation happened all the time, it could provoke that type of thought. I was also wondering what would happen with the sound, listening to different types of rain all throughout the film. Would you stop hearing it because it’s always there? I had a lot of questions about the effect it would produce. I just couldn’t get it to happen.

Scope: Do you think of your work as ethnographic?

Williams: You know…well, first of all, tell me the way you mean “ethnographic.” I mean, I know what it means, but it’s a term that can be taken in many different ways.

Scope: Let’s say in a broad sense: observing another culture, and creating an image of that. 

Williams: Okay, yes, so it’s similar to how I think of it. For a while—maybe now, too—every time I saw something called “ethnographic,” there was a separation between the ethnographer and the people who were the subjects. For what I’m doing, I don’t feel that way at all. Yes, I’m going to other cultures, but I never feel separate from them. Of course, I don’t think everyone everywhere is all exactly the same. Before I started travelling to make my films, I imagined that, for example, Vietnam would be a totally different world, but when I went there I felt that wasn’t true. Maybe it’s just my way of seeing things. 

Part of this is because of globalization. There is a main culture—probably the United States’ culture—that goes everywhere. In my ignorant fantasy, I expected that people everywhere hate the US because of, I don’t know, the war and things like that. But the young people I meet love US culture. There is also a lot of shared culture that comes from the internet, and sharing is much faster, more fluid now. When I go to these places, I don’t feel the same way I felt when I watched those things that were being called ethnographic. Maybe the way people make ethnographic work has changed recently. I’m sure there are people labelling themselves as ethnographic who make things that are not separating themselves from their subjects, doing that “me here, you there” thing. I feel like I’m in a similar state of mind as the actors, and hopefully also similar to the one the spectators will be in—knowing and then not knowing; accepting confusion; feeling lost.

Scope: How do you select your films’ locations, and what are your strategies for integrating yourself into these places? 

Williams: Usually I’ll know about one specific element I want for the film that happens there, and then once I’m there I discover what I can or can’t do. For example, I had been to Sri Lanka before, and I remembered being on a bus that passed through a neighbourhood with spherical houses, which you see at the beginning of the film. I saw it for only two seconds, and seeing something like that in a rural area surprised me and left an impression on me. They were like these very futuristic spheres, not a normal shape for a house. I did a bit of research, and learned that they were constructed after a tsunami hit, because the shape is more resistant than a rectangular shape. Then when I got there, I went around, I met people, and being there helped me discover other places. But I like these types of places that may feel strange for certain viewers, and then totally normal for other viewers, like the people who live there. 

For Peru, I wanted to go to a flooded neighbourhood, a place where the land is very flat, where people are used to living in this situation. At that time, I still had the idea of the constant rain, and I thought having these people living over the water would be interesting. Indonesia was another possibility, but I wanted to go to the Amazon jungle, so I went to this neighbourhood near Iquitos in Peru. And then for Taiwan, it was a bit more arbitrary. There was a producer there that I wanted to work with, and I happened to be nearby at the time so I went and looked around for a while and thought it was interesting. I like to get out of my own mechanisms of how to choose, and try not to have too many specific reasons for going to a particular place. Instead, I can go and discover what’s interesting to me while I’m there rather than deciding based only on what I know about the place from a distance.

Scope: And are your performers people that you already knew before you travelled there, or did you meet them while you were there?

Williams: I always try different techniques. I like meeting people online, because it’s very helpful when I don’t speak the language. Speaking to someone through auto-translators is weird, but it helps me to meet people who only speak their native language; I won’t be limited to only people who speak English or Spanish. But I also go and meet people in the street by chance. We pass out small papers telling people about our casting call, or have people send us a video on WhatsApp. Some ways work better than others, but once I meet someone it’s very intuitive—I just see who I feel comfortable with, or who I’m still thinking about after a few days of speaking to them. Sometimes we’re friends, sometimes not. Sometimes it’s just details, you know? They’ll tell me something about their life that catches my attention and tells me something about them. 

The casting calls are very open—any age, any gender. However, for this film, we specified that we were looking for LGBTI people, because I thought that if I didn’t put that then they may not come, plus I was interested in knowing other LGBTI people from countries I don’t know so well. And there’s also a practical side to the decisions. The people with bigger roles are the ones who have more free time, or maybe more energy. Some of them don’t want to be actors—they’re curious, but don’t have the energy to participate in a full film.

Scope: Do you develop the narrative with the actors after you meet them? How collaborative was the process of writing their dialogue and developing their scenes?

Williams: There were some things that I wrote before casting and location scouting. Once I know the people and places, and after I realize what I can and can’t do or what the actors can and can’t relate to, everything in my cloud of options starts changing. Some things are totally written beforehand and that’s how you see it in the film, while others are totally improvised. They’re non-actors, so I always tell them to take the dialogue or ideas in their own way. I made sure I included things that were strange to them, to break their normal flow, and sometimes I would tell them to speak about whatever they wanted. We’d film for half an hour and see what happened. 

Scope: What is your directing process like with non-actors, especially when there is a language barrier between you?

Williams: When we spoke different languages, I would only discover what they said afterwards. For most of the scenes, I’d tell someone to walk from here to here, and to talk about whatever they want but try to say a specific phrase whenever they find a moment, or to say it when they pass by a particular flower, for example. I really like when something totally unexpected comes up and changes the dynamic. Sometimes a scene comes out of a conversation we all had when we were just hanging out together, and then the next day I’ll ask them to talk about the thing they said yesterday. I tell them that if they don’t know what to say then they should just use something from their own real life, or invent something. The most important thing is that I produce an environment for them to feel that they are safe or confident enough to improvise. It’s not so easy. When I started, I would tell people to just say what they want, but they just stuck to the script. It’s difficult to invent if you don’t feel comfortable or feel very nervous. They’re non-professionals, and they have this camera watching them—even if it feels like a very small team, there are all these people looking at them and walking around them. 

Scope: You shot Parsi with a 360-degree camera, too. At what point did you know that you also were going to use 360 for The Human Surge 3?

Williams: Since the beginning. After Parsi I was very curious to use the same system of framing the movie afterward using VR for a more narrative film. I never thought I would use a normal camera for this film. 

Scope: Was Parsi made as a kind of test run for The Human Surge 3, then?

Williams: Oh, no. When I started making Parsi, I wasn’t thinking about another film. The main reason for using the 360 camera in Parsi was that I wanted to give the camera to the actors—the actors could take it themselves and not think about the framing. It was during the editing, when I was framing the image by recording my movements in the VR headset, that I thought that I really wanted to use this for another, more narrative kind of film. 

Scope: Is it the same camera in both films?

Williams: No. For Parsi we used the GoPro Max, which has two lenses. This time we used the Insta360, which has eight. When we were deciding on the camera for The Human Surge 3, I wanted to find out what good-quality 360 cameras existed. I saw that RED has one, but it was huge and it would have been impossible for all my movements. And another idea I had, which relates to you in some ways, was that I would do the film in 3D. These cameras shoot in 3D, so actually I did shoot everything in 3D. Hypothetically, I could have done a 3D version.

Scope: You should have!

Williams: I would’ve loved to! You know more than me about this, but what discouraged me was the thought that it’s more difficult to screen. Is it really difficult to show 3D films?

Scope: Not if you’re open to showing the film in 2D when you have to. Then, the places that can do 3D projection can show it that way, and the places that can’t show 3D can still screen the flat version.

Williams: I was always super-curious about doing 3D films, and when I saw your film, PROTOTYPE (2017), I liked that it wasn’t, I don’t know, that very Hollywood type of 3D. It was homemade in the way that I would want to do it. “Independent 3D,” let’s say. I would have loved to do this film in 3D, but there were many things that were so technically difficult. But I’m still curious.

Scope: Did you know more or less which parts of the scene would end up in the frame while you were filming?

Williams: During the shoot we didn’t think about framing at all. When I made Parsi, it was the first time I wasn’t able to see the scenes while they were happening, and I had to trust what people were telling me about what happened so I could decide if we would do another take or not. It changes things. Usually you decide whether or not to do another take based on what you saw and heard, but in this case I didn’t see or hear anything, so communication became very important. 

The Human Surge 3 was a bit different. We constructed a backpack with an extension that would hold the camera above the head of the operator. I knew I wanted to have the entire 360 view available as an option, and that the framing would be decided afterward. The problem is that this time, I wanted to be there. But to be able to use any part of the frame, it would mean that I couldn’t follow the camera, and the sound person couldn’t be there either. It was one of the bigger problems we had to solve. When we first started, in Sri Lanka, this made it very difficult. There are many scenes with me there, so we didn’t have the whole 360 space available to work with. As the film progressed I cared less and less, and we actually have some scenes where I’m there, looking at the iPad. Maybe you saw me?

Scope: I did, yes.

Williams: It wasn’t so important, in the end. But during the shoot it changed how we prepared the scenes. It was quite an issue to figure out how to hide or not hide the sound person. We thought we could have them be a character, walking on the side so you don’t realize it’s the sound person. It was the same for the other parts of the technical team. Finally, though, in the film you can see the team sometimes, and I think it’s good. 

Scope: What was the process of framing and recording with the VR headset?

Williams: For Parsi I did it myself; it was very homemade. I discovered how to connect the headset to the computer and do a screen capture, and that’s what you see in the film. But that way we lost a lot of quality, and even lost some frames. This time I didn’t want to lose so much, maybe because I didn’t want the audience to always feel the presence of this weird camera. Of course, I know it’s very evident, and I want the spectator to think about it sometimes, to not know if this thing that is following the actors is a robot or a human or whatever. Other times, I wanted the spectator to just connect to the humans or the situation and forget about the camera. That’s why I didn’t want to lose too much quality during the framing, and to use a better camera. 

Scope: Did you frame the images before or after you completed the montage?

Williams: After. I finished the two-hour cut of the film on the computer, then I saw the footage in the VR headset and I recorded my movements to frame it. We got funding from Holland, which we used entirely to pay people at a post-production house in New Delhi to create an app that could record my movement while I was seeing the images. What I saw in the VR headset was only the key frames, because in the headset you cannot have, like, 11K resolution—it’s too much, you have to compress it down a lot. So I used the key frame information, and then stuck what I did on the high-quality images. 

The main thing for me was changing the moment when we think about the framing of the film—thinking about the framing afterwards instead of before or during the shooting. I realized I wanted to look at very different things when the movie was in the headset compared to when I was watching it on the computer. It changed a lot, because it’s so easy to look anywhere. 

Scope: Were you tempted to change the edit after you set the framing?

Williams: Not really, because I liked that I was framing the movie with the real duration of the film, rather than framing scene by scene. That was important for me. How I framed, for example, the last scene, came from the energy I felt after watching everything that came before it, just like the spectators will have done. I like this continuation of movement and duration during the film. This is something that can be done for many different things in many different ways.

I want to say, though, that I think it’s important to share how I made the film, but when I make a film I’m not doing it for people who know about cameras, or for people to think about how it was technically accomplished. I do it for people who don’t know anything about cinema, just for them to have this way of observing and to see what they will think about it. Even if you and I speak a lot about the technical things, it’s not what I want to share in the film. For me it’s more about observing, and feeling something strange from the image. 

Scope: When I think of your films, one of the hallmarks is the way they incorporate holes and orifices—people unexpectedly falling into pits, crawling into caves, or having the camera plunge into an ant hole. The Human Surge 3 doesn’t feature any holes, I believe—they’re replaced with a different kind of interiority, an emphasis on subjective experiences or “inner worlds.” I’m thinking of the moments when we see people sleeping, hallucinating, or speaking about their dreams. 

Williams: For the people that are sleeping, I don’t relate that so much to their dreaming. Of course, people in the film do speak about dreaming a lot, but the main reasons for showing people sleeping was to include a moment where they aren’t being productive, and also to show people sharing this unconscious moment together. Those were things that interested me most. There is also some dialogue in which someone says, “I dreamed that I saw you going into a party in a spherical house…” which makes you remember the scene we saw earlier with the spherical houses, even though it’s also different because now they’re going into a party. I thought about these variations as a way to make you not understand the level of reality that the situations exist in. I’m interested in this mix of reality and fantasy, when you see something and then see it again. It creates doubts about what is reality in the film. 

But it’s true, I don’t think there are holes. We still have people falling, which isn’t the same, but I think it has some relation to holes. One thing this film does have is circles. It’s not the same as a hole, but I think in this film, maybe because of the camera we used, there’s a feeling of wanting to look more around you, to make a circular movement with your gaze. In the film there is a lot of this circular panning, and there is even one moment when the camera looks up into the trees and it’s circling like crazy. I associate circles with holes in some way—not that holes need to be circular. 

Scope: Your piece in this year’s Berlinale Forum Expanded, A Very Long GIF, is also made up of circles. You’re in your circle phase.

Williams: I did A Very Long GIF at the same time that I was doing The Human Surge 3, so they kind of mixed together in a weird way. The camera we used for A Very Long GIF automatically gives the circle framing. I think all the circular things I was just talking about in The Human Surge 3 came from that piece, like how the circles look a little like floating planets. 

Scope: That piece was made specifically for watching in a gallery space. Did you consider making a VR version of The Human Surge 3 for galleries? 

Williams: I had a fantasy in the beginning of making a VR version, but the main thing was always to make a version for the cinema. For VR I would have had to decide before shooting the film. I haven’t seen a lot of VR work, but the ones I saw I didn’t like very much because I always felt there was only one place in the image I was being invited to look at. Of course, I could have chosen not to look there, but it was always very centred to this one place. If I had done a VR film, it would have to have different situations happening at the same time in the space, so you have to choose. Ultimately, it was too much. I couldn’t concentrate on making a film for both cinema and VR, so I chose the cinema. There are things that came out of thinking about making it for VR, though—like the parts with overlapping dialogue, where you hear more than one person speaking at once. I like these moments of losing your grip on what the people are saying because there’s too much to hear and pay attention to—too much to read in the subtitles. I think virtual reality relates to my interest in fakeness, too. When you see VR, it looks very fake, yet still real in a strange way. And I like the term: “virtual reality.” I think many things in my films can be described with that term. 

Scope: You’re credited not only with the editing, but also for the special and visual effects. What did the effects work for this film entail?

Williams: The only special effect was the floating people. 

Scope: Only that?

Williams: Yes, but also it wasn’t my intention to do the special effects myself. I always have such a difficult time with people who do special effects. For the ant scene in The Human Surge, I had to connect three different moments into one movement, so we needed to construct a special effect to create a feeling of continuity. It was quite hard, mainly because special effects are usually expensive, and the people who work on them are used to working for people who have a lot of money, which for me is not the case. It was difficult to create a dialogue with them. They work in a more industrial way, and that’s not how I work. I’m sure there are people who do special effects in less expensive ways, but I’ve never met them. 

So many people refused to do the flying people after we spoke about it with them. I think they were afraid because the image didn’t look proper or good. Many were afraid of the 360, thinking it would be too complicated to do effects to stick the image into the 360 space. In the end, after looking in many different countries, we found some people who accepted the job. We had a deadline to deliver a rough cut of the film for festivals, and two days before the deadline I asked them how it was going, and they replied telling me they weren’t going to do it. I was like, “Okay…?” Then I googled, “How to make people fly in a movie,” and did it myself.

Scope: Was it After Effects that you used?

Williams: I did it in the most basic way in Final Cut. I would have used After Effects, but I haven’t used it in a long time. In the end, there was a post-production house in Argentina who perfected it a little bit. I didn’t like how I had to do it all in two days to meet the first deadline, but it makes sense with my films. In the end, I don’t think it’s bad that I made flying people myself, that it looks homemade and not super-real. It relates to other things in the film, like the fakeness of the 360 image and some of the other digital craziness. 

Scope: There is a watery or wavy effect that happens a couple of times, usually on the edge of a person’s body. That’s not an effect that you added in?

Williams: Oh, now you made me remember. There’s another special effect—but it’s not that one. That’s just the bad automatic stitching the camera does, which I could have fixed afterward, but I didn’t want to. I remembered this effect from when I made Parsi, so I did this scene hoping this would happen, and it happened. Basically, if you want this to happen, you have to put people very close to the camera. It will be more difficult for the camera to properly stitch them together and it will look like that.

In the mountain scene at the end, there’s a part where one of the characters has a deformed face and everyone starts shouting, “Ahhh, I saw squares all around you!” That’s a special effect that was done at the post-production house in Argentina. The idea was that we’d have the first scene with the blurry stitching and not understand what’s happening; the friend speaking to her doesn’t address it, so we think it’s a digital artifact in the camera. But when it happens again later the people can see it, so then we don’t know. Again, I like the relations that come when things happen twice, and it makes you think about the first time in a different way.