Esther Rots and Dan Geesin (BSS #278)

Esther Rots is the writer, director, editor, and producer of is most recently the director of Can Go Through Skin. Dan Geesin is the sound designer and music composer of the film. The film is presently playing at the New Directors/New Films series, which is running between March 25 and April 5 at MOMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.


Condition of Mr. Segundo: Eschewing intuitive sensibilities.

Guests: Esther Rots and Dan Geesin

Subjects Discussed: The importance of skin to Can Go Through Skin‘s heroine, private thoughts and feelings, vocational criteria, how story becomes stronger with ambiguity, living and loneliness outside of work, making a film that’s 100% intuitive, making decisions on gut, actors having to adapt to shifting material, working intensely with Rifka Lodeizen, working with a small crew where everybody had a say, settling on a crew of five, random painting of walls, the trust and concentration that comes with a small crew, sound designs and seasons, ambient percussion, jarring disconnects between visuals and sounds, parallel stories that come from creativity, reproducing the odors of mud through sound, wrangling rats, how a pre-existing kitchen changed the script, the difficulties of financing a loose film production, and Dutch artistic support.


Correspondent: This leads me to wonder then how the house was located. Did you, in fact, try to find a house that had the stinkiest possible odor? Or something that was possibly in disuse? And the rat. How did you wrangle the rat in the course of the shower scene? It could not have been easy to do. Since it is vermin, you know.

Rots: It’s a shame this is radio. I’m poking out my thumb now and it’s got white lines all over it. That was directing the rat.

Correspondent: Really?

Rots: He nibbled the middle bit of my thumb. It was hanging there for quite some time and biting away.

Correspondent: Wow.

Rots: That was me directing a rat. I’m not good. (laughs)

Correspondent: Did you have to see a doctor? Get shots?

Rots: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was too chewed up.

Geesin: Tetanus jab.

Rots: No, rats are not directable. They just do their own way. But that might be a natural talent as well.

Correspondent: They say that kids and animals are the toughest to direct.

Rots: Yeah.

Correspondent: But you would say that a rat is even tougher.

Rots: Yeah. And boats. Boats are also a cliche.

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