Cayne: Similarly for me, she asks these questions really early on, and quite directly: “Does God exist?” “Can you hear God, does that prove that He exists or doesn’t exist? I think that when she’s talking, in the voiceovers throughout: “It feels like water, it feels like electricity, it sounds like a humming fridge,” and she continues over the course of the film to say many things it feels like or doesn’t feel like. I think that it’s her interpretation of death or her interpretation of God; what He feels like, or who He is. If you place them on different themes, they take on a whole new light.
I love it when artists integrate themes, and they forego this x + y = unquestionable answer approach to art. The constant flow of philosophical and theological questions is not only welcome, but presented in an open ended way. It’s the biggest part of what worked in the film conceptually.
Andrew: I feel as though there are no explicit or clear answers in life. There are a lot of questions and hints, and we experience a lot, but we never seem to get concrete answers. So it didn’t seem appropriate to make a film that was like “this is this” or “this + this = this.” We can say a few things, but we can’t say it all.
Another thing that I loved was the conception of memory and time that you played with in Violent. I really enjoyed the other voiceover, not the cryptic ones, but when Dagny is reminiscing about her past. You chose to play that over a montage; but unlike other films, where it’s often just matching the images with exactly what’s heard in the voice over, you chose to use very universal, yet personal, imagery. Why did you take this approach?
Andrew: We wanted to keep it ambiguous, because then it allows the viewer to attach themselves to it.
Josh: This, funnily enough, is what we did too. We attached ourselves to it, since a lot of those images are things from our lives, we put ourselves into it.
Andrew: Yeah, we didn’t want to have Dagny say, “I remember this” and then show that image or memory directly. Because it’s more difficult for the viewer to connect with it personally.
Cayne: I find that’s the scene I find to be the most interesting, conceptually, in the whole film. Because all of the shots are places where we were. My childhood house is in that montage, so is Joe’s, and some of Dagny’s real life memories were written into the script. If you were to pause and we could talk about every memory, about whose memory it belongs to, it’s really fascinating.
You’ve mentioned before that you’re already working on future films. Any hints as to what your current project is?
Andrew: We’re going to keep it under wraps. But we definitely all want to continue to experiment with film and do something that is new for us, and packaged in a digestible, palatable way for most audiences. But you never know. We thought we made a sci-fi film with Violent, or at least one which gave an obvious answer to Dagny’s death, but the audience didn’t quite see it that way, so who knows? We’ll see where we go.