Roberto Doveris's Plants (2015) is showing exclusively on MUBI from February 20 - March 22, 2018 in most countries in the world.
Plants is my first feature film and I’m quite excited to share it on MUBI. You’ll find a visual and experimental approach to Florencia’s story, a 17-year-old girl who has to take care of her older brother, Sebastian, because he’s in a vegetative state. She will take the responsibility of the family house and all the daily duties with her brother: washing him, feeding him and changing his diapers, tasks that will overwhelm her teenage messy routine.
In these days of loneliness, she will wonder about his brother. Is he awake despite his condition or is he just a body without a soul? In the film, I wanted to explore the angst that she feels around this metaphysic question, at the same time that she gets obsessed with a comic book called “Plants,” a horror/sci-fi story about vegetative dark souls taking possession of human bodies during full moon. In this scenario, where the limit between her rough reality and the fantasy of the fiction falls down, her sexual awakening becomes the unknown energy that might explain all her questions.
This is a field which I was very interested in, portraying how teenagers explore sex from its boundaries, slowly, amorally, dangerously. Internet and the sex dating websites play an important role on this journey, where my character meets an anonymous man who come to her door to have a sexual encounter. I always knew that those scenes have to be told through the eyes of Florencia, which means that her female desire was leading all the mise en scène and the point of view of the camera. We see what she wants to see, even if it doesn’t fit the film industry standards on woman and man nudity.
That said, I guess Plants is also a huge exploration in cinematographic language. It was a very indie production, which means I had a lot of freedom in directing. I could play with different ways of storytelling, using sound and camera as vital parts of the narration, and jumping from one genre to another, letting Florencia’s story swim between horror, psycho thriller and, at some point, porn. These three different approaches help me to conceive a whole universe that seems very close to the youth in Chile according my own experience as a teenager in Santiago, where K-pop music, cyber-sex and cosplayers are part of a contemporary way of build identity.