Ivan Lowenberg from Mexico on ‘No Quiero Ser Polvo’, seeing omens in thunderstorms, throwing his mother
In director Ivan Lowenberg’s second feature film, “I don’t want to be dust” (“No quiero ser polvo”), a middle-aged woman struggles to feel relevant to an indifferent husband, a shlub d ‘a son and, well, life in general.
She’s perceptive enough to see through the false mysticism of New Age gurus and the breezy platitudes of her yoga teacher, but she takes refuge in a cult that is mostly interested in selling gift shop staples and gifts. doomsday predictions which Bego greedily and almost happily embraces.
Growing up in a strangely New Age family that saw omens in thunderstorms, Lewenberg said, “I started to wonder: what is behind a person whose main motivation for being alive is a cataclysm of great proportions?
It’s a social phenomenon that has even infused politics in recent years.
But as Lowenberg explained to Variety when he took the time to answer a few questions at Guadalajara Film Festival, it is also a personal story. It even stars his mother.
It seems like a very fitting time to make a film about people in turmoil who become the victims of their expected saviors. It seems to be a global phenomenon right now. What prompted you to explore this?
The story is inspired by an actual event that happened to my family in the 90s. I was brought up in a very New Age environment, and at some point this three days of darkness theory began. to be very popular among my parents’ circle of friends and we totally bought it; suddenly everything around us started to seem like part of a transition to a new dimension, even a lightning storm turned into a “suspicious abnormal lightning storm”; we have adjusted our vision to fit our belief. Around 2010, I heard people talking with this eerie catastrophic excitement about the approach of three days of darkness and that’s when I started to ask myself more consciously: what is it? who could be hiding behind a person whose main motivation for being alive is a cataclysm of great proportions? Why do people choose to believe something and try so hard to convince people to believe it too? Many triggers that affected my family nucleus at the time are still in effect and perhaps in a more marked and generalized manner: Tensions of a formidable nature, the difficulty of distinguishing between reality and spectacle, economic and ecological crises obscene dimensions, loneliness in a hyper-connected world, so exposed and so consumerist … it’s easy to feel small and unimportant.
Did your visualization of the story start from a social perspective, and then did the main character emerge? Or was Bego, your protagonist, based on a real person?
When I started writing the script, it started from a character perspective. The main actress is actually my mother in real life who plays a fictional version of herself; I have adapted our experience to a likely conflict of a woman of her age in our time and in our context. This is her debut as an actress and I am very proud of her performance. We showed the movie to a few people in the industry, and they were surprised that this is her debut, they think she is a seasoned actress that they just don’t know.
This is your second feature film as a director. How did the experience go?
I don’t know how to describe the experience because it took us almost ten years to film it so we went through a lot of ups and downs. But if I limit myself to the filming experience, it was wonderful, I was surrounded by a small team and a very talented cast who helped me to finish filming in two and a half weeks with resources. very limited, at the height of the pandemic. We had no margin for error and it could have been a perfect situation for the fights and the tensions, but really the crew made it feel like it was a wonderful trip, everything went really well and I have only them to thank.
Do you think there is an international audience for this film?
While the story focuses on this group and this particular theory, I think it’s a very human thing to do to seek out some truth that can make us feel validated, with a purpose or a sense of belonging. To feel important to someone is a nice feeling, and to have certainty about the future even better, and we can do very absurd and even harmful things just to have that for a while. I think people all over the world can relate to this.
Credit: CHRISTOPHER NAVARRO / FICG
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