Produced by photo and video collective NONsense in collaboration with Mexican womenswear brand, Simple by Trista, Old Times is a touching piece of filmmaking which focusses on themes of love, time and loss. Expressed through a dream-like state with poetic phrasing, the film evokes feelings of nostalgia and explores how the decisions you make in life now can have a profound effect on your future. I delved into the creative mind of Director Kevin Speight to discover how he took inspiration from an Argentinian novelist and created a film that celebrates the beauty of the past, whilst reminding us of our vulnerability to the overruling potency of love.
You “dug deeper into the values of the brand to reflect Simple by Trista’s emotional aesthetic and personality.” How did that intention manifest itself in this project?
Gio, owner of the brand, and I have a very good relationship and our ways of relating and understanding the world are very similar. We find emotions are the only thing that we all have in common and it’s our main source of communication and understanding.
For Old Times you came up with the theme of “celebrating beauty through an appreciation of the past”, can you describe your creative journey from realising this concept to your final narrative?
Tarkovsky mentioned a Japanese concept in his book Sculpting in Time: “Saba”. And explained “Saba” as the inimitable filth and charm of time, the seal, the time patina. I was totally seduced by this idea because it was something I’ve always been chasing but without knowing what this texture really meant. By giving this a name, the Japanese invented an element through which we can appropriate time as an artistic material. And this is what I’ve tried to use to help me understand love and time.
How did you manipulate the equipment to achieve your goal of having the imagery of the film echo that of novel The Past by Argentine writer Alan Pauls?
I read The Past because I was in search of other ways of understanding love patterns. Old Times was just a way of screaming out my way of understanding passion, time and mistakes.
All our imagery metaphors were quite artisan. We were always looking for effects and visuals that wouldn’t involve digital effects. We were in search of real abstract textures to build a different visual experience, so we played with splinters of glass and magnifying glass mixed with Cooke lenses. And we wanted to build up a metaphor about love and sex through fluids, so we used the textures of tea, water and sand to get some real textures that would take us to a visual experience and understanding. All this was quite fun to do actually. Finally, the handheld camera work from Lluís Martí gave the piece the tension it needed.
We were always looking for effects and visuals that wouldn’t involve digital effects. We were in search of real abstract textures to build a different visual experience.
The narration sounds like a poem.
I thought the narration should be in a crossroad between a poem and a letter. The intention of the text itself is to search for a contradiction and a reaction with the images and dig into the certain incongruity of life.
Old Times focusses on love, time and loss, and is the second in a trilogy for the brand – the first being Simple By Trista – Movement 1 about a crucial moment in life, a moment of transformation. What can we expect from part three? And how did you approach the planning of this trilogy?
At the beginning, I only thought about the trilogy as a vague possibility and now it has become an exciting challenge. Transformation leitmotif and we’re investigating on how to bind our main subject with new ways of narration and perception. We’re on a search of a new and exciting challenge, and this makes us very happy.