Salka Tiziana's For the Time Being is showing exclusively on MUBI starting February 4, 2021 in the series Festival Focus: Rotterdam.
There was a familiar but distant place: the air full of chirping sounds; faded colors; clouds of dust billowing behind a passing car. A thirsty tongue and the touch of the bright sun on our foreheads. My cousins’ voices echoing back from the exposed banks of an empty reservoir, burning concrete under our feet. We would find shelter in the umbría, the shady slopes of the hilly land. In the evenings the wind makes its appearance arriving everyday at the same hour, carrying distant smells, distant thoughts. In my mind I wander through this remembered place, at times drifting away from the beaten tracks, reappearing on a forest glade, with a subliminal notion that I had been there before. By mapping these memories, I became aware of their tangible texture: a distinct landscape of fibrous patterns and overlapping surfaces.
Years later, after returning to these places, the shape of my childhood notion began to dissolve into another kind of perception of a place in time. The more I moved physically through this seemingly wild and remote, yet surprisingly domesticated land (one divided in carefully controlled, privatized grounds), the more I had to question how I actually perceive, interact and communicate with these environments from my human perspective. Taking a closer look at the porous shape of a landscape and the ambiguity which often inhabits it, is for me one way of learning and understanding better how to relate to the world I live in. For the Time Being became a way to get closer to these thoughts and questions. It became a tool to engage with this particular place and to reflect about a growing sense of modern alienation from our surroundings.
The narrative and the ensemble of actors came to me throughout the course of my effort to bundle my experiences, observations, feelings and my imagination into a script. Amalia and Pilar I knew since I was a child, but more than a decade had passed since we saw each other for the last time. When we met again by chance during one of my family visits to the nearby city of Córdoba, I instantly felt that I might had found an anchor point for this film: a close familiarity with living in the plateau forests of the Sierra Morena and a self-conscious complicity in their relation as mother and daughter, which could withstand the notion of distance that I wanted to emphasize in the film. On the other side, Melanie, Jon and Ole, who came from Germany, had never been to these places before and therefore never experienced the extreme heat of the dry season that would define the rhythm of the shooting process and the final pace of the film. They brought a foreign gaze, the role of a visitor, a perspective that was crucial to me, as it resonates with my own position as another foreign body in this landscape.
In retrospect, I can only think of multiple experiences and encounters which led to different starting points for this film. Exploring memory and its different layers of time and perspective was part of it. In our attempt to grasp the remains of something past, memories will constantly slip away, changing their shape, become more and more interwoven with our current states of being. And sometimes they might even respond to what we are still about to encounter.