A few years ago, I had to go to the bank several times in a row and 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. Shortly after I decided to make a film about this situation and the bizarre communication it entails. I wanted to bring my camera into this impossible place to do a social recording of how we talk about money.
More so, I was interested in how we seem to change, when we are talking money.
In approaching documentaries I’ve been much influenced by the work of Raymond Depardon, who I admire for stubbornly inventing new narratives and perspectives to explore “la condition humaine”. In my films I often like to single out one aspect of communication and treat it within a certain cinematic perspective. For me, the physical screening room can sometimes be part of the film’s story. 7 Brothers and My Beautiful Life (Don’t swallow everything) 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. Within the frame of these strange encounters, I want to make room for the individual involvement and personal participation of the audience. To me, the magical thing about documentary is that each viewer can develop a special relationship with any 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.