The process of bringing another life into the world

After his second feature Anchor and Hope screened here last year, Spanish filmmaker Carlos Marqués-Marcet is back at IFFR. This time in the Tiger Competition with Els dies que vindran, an intimate portrayal of the emotional rollercoaster facing a real young couple who suddenly find themselves expecting a child.

Written by Mark Baker

“We made this film because we really wanted to investigate the process of bringing another life into the world”, Carlos Marqués-Marcet says ahead of the world premiere of Els dies que vindran on 31 January. “This is one of the most common experiences any human can go through, but it’s also an ever-changing experience.”

The pregnancy in Els dies que vindran is very unexpected, and the film closely follows the real pregnancy of its protagonists, who are also a real-life couple. So how planned was the film? “In a way, the film is like the close of an unplanned trilogy on the subject of having kids”, Marqués-Marcet explains. “The couple in my first feature, 10.000 Km (2014), were having a baby – and pregnancy cropped up again in Anchor and Hope (IFFR 2018). Then, while we were shooting the latter, actor David Verdaguer and his partner, Maria Rodriguez found out they were pregnant!” It made sense for Marqués-Marcet and the actors to keep going. “Whilst shooting a film about the decision to have a kid, this other, new movie appeared in front of us – not about the decision, but about the process.”

Els dies que vindran is like the close of an unplanned trilogy.” – Carlos Marqués-Marcet

Fiction vs reality

“It was such a rush to make Els dies que vindran. We knew we only had nine months,” the filmmaker recalls. “A lot of decisions were made on the spot. The writing, shooting and editing were all mixed up – we didn’t follow the classic order of writing-shooting-editing. We didn’t start with a script, the only thing I gave Maria and David at the beginning was their characters’ professions.”

However close to reality, Marqués-Marcet explains he didn’t want to make a ‘reality show’ of the lives of the actors. “We took the real situation - the pregnancy - and asked, how would these characters respond? We improvised scenes and recorded these as the basis for scripted scenes.”

The end result is no reality show, but an fascinating mix of fiction and reality. “You could say this film is the documentary of a process and the fiction of a relationship”, is how Marqués-Marcet sees it. “Any fiction film is a documentary of its actors. Putting a camera in front of someone shows them and the passage of time – shooting anyone is shooting someone dying – or growing up, if you take the more optimistic view.”

Any fiction film is a documentary of its actors.” – Carlos Marqués-Marcet

Tiger Competition

“I’m very happy to be in this line-up, at this festival”, Marqués-Marcet says of the film’s selection for the Tiger competition. “IFFR was one of the first film festivals I went to and I was lucky to come here with a movie I edited (It Felt Like Love) in 2012, also in competition. Then we came back with Anchor and Hope, so this festival is very dear to me.”

Photo in header: Carlos Marqués-Marcet