A few years ago, I had to go to the bank several times in a row. It became one of the strangest experiences in my life. Discussing personal matters with someone I hardly know felt weirdly wrong. I was expected to put my social and private being on the table and to translate my life into the language of finance and numbers.
An awkward closeness overshadowed the conversation that was held in a personal tone, 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 like one big blue elephant sitting right between us. Afterwards, out on the sidewalk, I felt so estranged from myself, as if I had been somebody else just a moment ago. It was a few days later that I decided to dedicate a film to this situation and the bizarre communication it entails. So I brought my camera into this impossible place to do a social recording of how we talk about money.
In my work I like to single out one aspect of communication in order to treat it within a certain cinematic perspective. For me, the physical screening room can be part of a film’s story as well. 7 Brothers and My Beautiful Life were already exploring this idea. With Talking Money I want to turn the actual space of the cinema into a bank consultation room with all its hauntingly false intimacy. With this series of strange encounters, I want to give room to the individual involvement and personal participation of the audience. To me, the most magical thing about documentary film is that each viewer develops a special relationship with the person on screen. As if you were engaging in a real conversation with people you just met: you are listening and watching, guessing their intentions – and getting ready for your reply.