Raúl Locatelli is an Uruguayan sound recordist, sound mixer, and sound editor. He is best known for his collaborations with several prominent Mexican auteurs, including Carlos Reygadas, Sebastian Hofmann, Matias Meyer, Guillermo Arriaga and Amat Escalante. He has won Best Sound at the Havana International Film Festival twice, for Silent Light (2007) and Yo (2015); in 2014 he won both Mexico's Ariel Award and Latin America's Fénix Award for Best Sound on La jaula de oro.
FLMTQ's Filmmaker Questionnaire derives from the Proust Questionnaire, designed to ascertain the thoughts and habits of filmmakers across disciplines.
What are five of your top films, and why?
RL: La jaula de oro, from Diego Quemada. For showing the drama of migration from Central America to the US with extreme realism. Ciro Guerra's Embrace of the Serpent, a genuinely beautiful picture of the rainforest and the native people and languages that live there, and the radical contrast of greed: one of the worst human values from the new world. Desde allá, from Lorenzo Vigas, a fantastic film depicting modern sex relations between gay men, involving love, money and fear. Everything Else, from Natalia Almada, which takes us into the universe of big city secretaries woking in public offices: loneliness, the oppression of gender violence. Ixcanul, from Jayro Bustamante, which portrays the particular gender habits, beliefs and customs of native families in Guatemala in the face of carelessness from the government and health institutions.
What region would you say has put out a consistent body of work in the past years?
RL: Mexican directors have been very active in social matters in the past years, trying to address actual human problems. Many Mexican films demonstrate a solid intent to make audiences think in a different way about what is happening around them. These social issues exist in other countries, wherever human beings experience social violence— gender violence, drug violence, racial violence, immigration violence.
I find this to be very brave of Mexican filmmakers, especially while other directors and powerful film corporations try to make obscene amounts of money from the entertaining use of human violence.
Who are you most excited to see make their second film?
RL: I can't wait for Tobias Nölle's second film, after his first feature Aloys.
Your favorite place to shoot a film, and why?
RL: My favorite place to shoot is Mexico, because of the humanity of the people who live here and the many cultural universes that exist inside the same country. Also for the technical level of film crews and facilities. Plus, there are so many directors trying to say something important, interesting, surprising. Mexico is a very inspiring place for filmmaking.
What do you consider the most important trait in a director?
I personally feel more motivated working with a director that wants to say something moving, carefully building a message to change a point of view, to give another perspective in a subject. To make the audience stop, think, and change their minds with a good objective.
What do you consider the most important trait in a sound artist?
RL: Recording an actor's performance with obsessive perfection.
The actor's work, dedication, effort, and sacrifice are values we must reproduce with sound recording, as part of a unique audiovisual experience for the audience.
Audio in a film is a dimension of photography, a dimension that builds the notion and sensation of truth in what our eyes see on screen. The voice tone, the way something is said, and a powerful line of dialogue are all elements that can trigger emotions in the audience.
Sound mixers must understand the importance and responsibility of capturing value in all the elements of an actor's performance to achieve the most powerful and faithful recording possible.
What are your main faults?
RL: I guess my main fault is my inability to find something I like as much as filmmaking. Sometimes I wish I had something I like as much as filmmaking, that gives me so much satisfaction.
What is your idea of happiness?
RL: For me and my family to be surrounded by a positive universe. In a world where humans are obsessed with differences, I feel most happy when I'm surrounded by human beings who embrace, celebrate, and provoke positive changes in social environments.
Happiness for me is feeling part of something positive, surrounded by positive people.
What is your idea of misery?
RL: Loneliness. Having no one around that cares about you, having no one that understands.
Loneliness is the deepest human misery.
If you could have a different profession, what would it be?
RL: A farmer. To grow food for oneself and one's family something is so noble. I believe that deep contact with nature fosters more valuable human motivations.