A few years ago, I went to the bank several times in a row. It became one of the strangest experiences in my life: Discussing private matters with someone I hardly know, translating my personal life into the language of finance and numbers.
I was both intrigued and appalled by the awkward closeness that overshadowed the conversation, yet all the while there wasn’t any trust at play. Our opposite agendas were just too obvious. The elusive language we both used, pretending to understand each other, was sitting like one big blue elephant between us.
How is it possible that we become somebody else when we start to talk about money?
Shortly after I decided to make a film about this bizarre situation and the communication it entails. I wanted to bring my camera in to this impossible space to do a social recording of how we fight with our bank consultants.
My approach is related to the one of Raymond Depardon, who I admire for stubbornly inventing new ways to explore “la condition humaine”. My films are attempts to single out one aspect of communication and treat them within a certain cinematic perspective, so that the physical screening room can eventually become a part of the film’s narrative. 7 Brothers and My Beautiful Life (Don’t swallow everything) were already exploring this idea.
With Talking Money I turn the actual space of the cinema into a bank consultation room with all its hauntingly false intimacy. Within the frame of these strange encounters, I give room to the individual involvement and personal participation of the audience. To me, the magic of documentary film is that each viewer can develop a relationship with the person on screen. Through the film, you engage in a dialogue –listening and watching, guessing their intentions – and getting ready for your reply.