El Cadaver Exquisito began as a seed of an idea but once it was given birth it seemed we could only run to keep alongside its momentum.
I did a lot of writing for the film in the beginning as Victor was shooting. We spoke of using a voice over, a narrator who might tells its story like a fable. As the visuals and footage piled up however, it was clear they wanted to be their own narrator.
The in studio footage we shot was also an aspect of the film that took its own course. It served less as the ritual catharsis of the documentary footage as we were planning to include - and more as a ritual catharsis for us possibly as we worked through the project trying to see it and digest its becoming, what it would be, who it would be and how. Rossemberg embodied the rebirth in those studio shoots. He worked beautifully and intensely within the sets. The film became itself in the editing room, where it put all of its pieces back together again, another rebirth of a splintered body.
As Elric made giant strides in the editing room and the film siphoned down I reviewed it several times, watching its form becoming. With each session in front of the footage, more stories revealed themselves and more of the substance of the film surfaced. It seemed every time i re-watched it, it gave more and more and asked more of me. As the film entered into post production Victor and I worked to find the right words for the synopsis and to convey how it became by walking backwards from where we were then to its inception and our trip to El Salvador in 2008.
For the piano recordings I had footage of the film that i set up next to the piano. Sometimes I played and recorded while i watched. Other times I would watch and then shut it off, think about its tone and then record. The piano music wanted to be a bit discordant, repetitive and often simple. The visuals are so powerful in themselves, the idea of musical accompaniment seemed competitive or worse, a flourish that would detract, therefore it felt like the footage asked for a minimal tone it could vibrate within.
by Sarah Walko