Théo Court's White on White is exclusively showing on MUBI in many countries in the series Debuts.
The inspiration behind the film Blanco en Blanco came from coming across, and later researching, a series of photographs, by an anonymous photographer, which chronicled and staged the massacres of the Selknam people, perpetuated by Julius Popper, a Romanian colonizer, and his entourage, at the end of the 19th century in Tierra del Fuego. These images, and their historical context, led me to ask myself a series of questions that resonated with deeper themes that I wished to interrogate in my film. Shortly after I came across another series of photographs, this time those of the writer Lewis Carroll who staged photos of various young girls, all framed in an erotic setting. This parallel between a gaze that captures the horrors of colonialism on the one hand, and an obsession to capture a girl’s innocent purity before becoming tainted, on the other, was the starting point for this project. It formed the context and the inner desire of its protagonist, Pedro. It also led me to sketch out the arc made up of three emblematic acts: beauty, desire and death. A story where Pedro is manipulated, debased and distorted, where events are disguised and estheticized to the point that their truth becomes hidden.
I was interested in the images of the Selknam massacres because of their portrayal, the way they are represented. These photos were staged, the exposure times of the photographic emulsion of that time made an instant snapshot impossible to capture. Therefore, they had to re-stage the act, a posteriori of the real action, in this case, a mass killing. I felt that there was a real analogy to the role of cinema itself, we create a representation, we lie, we twist reality towards a certain emotion or meaning. In the case of those photographs of the massacres, they attempt to transform a despicable act into a heroic action therefore modifying its moral charge. All this, in my opinion, is still present in today's media, images are constantly distorting what is really happening, photographs and video are manipulated as a tool of power.
In this way, Blanco en Blanco, little by little, unveils what is hidden beneath the virgin, white snow that covers everything, showing, as it melts away, the origins of our society, the foundations on which our civilizations have been built. The acts of that continuously are repeated on a blank page over and over again as we look on. The film lays bare this final moment when the gaze of the film camera, the photographic camera, the spectator and the main character blend together into a single image as absent yet complicit witnesses of the crimes exposed before them. A place where horror becomes free of guilt.