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Want to make films that stay with people: Ari Aster

Before directing his debut feature film Hereditary (2018), Ari Aster made as many as seven short films, including The Strange Thing About the Johnsons and Munchausen.

By: PTI | Mumbai |
October 27, 2019 2:51:34 pm
Ari Aster Ari Aster’s latest film, Midsommar, was screened at the JIO MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star. (Photo: Mumbai Film Festival/Instagram)

American filmmaker Ari Aster is one of the most original voices in horror cinema but the director says people who love the genre aren’t fond of his movies as they don’t find his works scary enough.

Director of films like Hereditary and the current sensation, Midsommar, Aster doesn’t view his latest as a “horror” film.

“That’s certainly not how I am thinking. But a lot of people who love horror films don’t love my films because they feel the films are not scary enough, they’re not trying hard enough to be scary,” Aster told PTI in an interview.

The director says his films are largely devoid of any tropes, including jump scares, often used in horror films.

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“I want to make films that stay with people, that linger in the minds. I don’t really care whether you’re scared or not. I get that message by people who tell me ‘your movie wasn’t scary, it sucked’ and I’m like okay. I can read between the lines.

“The horror genre is difficult because people expect something very specific with that and I am not too concerned delivering on those expectations. It keeps you from going in the same path as everyone else.”

Before directing his debut feature film Hereditary (2018), Aster made as many as seven short films, including The Strange Thing About the Johnsons and Munchausen.

“When you’re first making shorts, you’re trying your hand at different styles and maybe aping filmmakers you admire and as you go along you find what works for you, what doesn’t. You slowly find your own style, signature. I’m still finding my voice, it’s still evolving,” he says.

His latest, Midsommar was screened at the JIO MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star.

Aster says, while making a film is a difficult process, he enjoys being under the performance pressure.

“It’s always difficult to make a film in the first place and to make something that works at all. You never know whether a film works or is going to work because you’re so close to it.

“You just wait for the release to see if people respond to what you’ve done. There was pressure and there’s pressure now on the next one. I think that’ll always be the case. I feel lucky to be under that pressure.”

The 33-year-old filmmaker says the best way to navigate the pressure is by making the film one believes in.

“The key element for any film is that it’s not made cynically and that it comes from a real place. If you are doing something as an exercise but ultimately if the movie isn’t coming from an essential place, the spectator will feel that.

“You feel when a film is personal, when it’s not. You can feel when a movie is coming from a cynical place or a place of actual passion and struggle,” he added.

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