Drawing from the non-linear narrative sensibility of Christopher Nolan and the visceral lightning of Dario Argento, Dario Bocchini weaves a short story of paranoia and deception. When a woman awakens in the backseat of a car, she is confronted by a figure from her past. When that figure helps her understand how she ended up there, she wishes she never found out. Bocchini’s short is seductive exercise in misdirection, and the director isn’t afraid to embrace his stylistic side as his protagonist’s inner turmoil is vividly portrayed in her descending surroundings. Twelve Cabins is excited to bring Ride With The Guilt online today, and spoke with Bocchini about the creation of his grisly thriller.
Where did the story for Ride With The Guilt begin?
Ride With The Guilt’s concept was born in early 2019. After producing and being involved in the production of many indie short films, I finally decided to bring my voice into the mix and to write, to direct and to co-produce a short story with an intriguing crime plot and a surreal, visceral and mysterious scenario. The screenplay was born out of necessity to create a film, which could be visually stunning, even with a very limited budget.
What made you decide on telling the story in a non-linear fashion?
I decided to focus on non-linear fiction due to budget and running time constraints, but also to enhance the feeling of being lost and in a dream, or in this case into a nightmare. Not having to follow a linear narrative helped me to fully embrace my creativity and to actually think outside the box. During post-production was definitely when we reshaped the events of the story, together with Editor Tiago Teixeira; we shaped the vision of the film into a slow pacing painful hidden memory of our main character, Monica Caravan, played by Cecile Sinclair.
How much of a challenge was it to write a narrative in that way?
I actually didn’t find it difficult and I truly enjoyed it. I’ve always been very interested in unusual narrative styles, since my teenage years in Italy I spent so much time trying to figure out the timelines of Memento and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and other cult gems. I definitely think that sometimes it can be easier to write a non-linear story as far as you know visually what you want to achieve. As a director and writer, for me it’s about sharing with the audience a personal aesthetic need in my film work, even when the plot is non-linear or very loose.
How did you work with your cinematographer Archie on creating the film’s visual palette?
To achieve that visceral aesthetic Archie Guinchard and I started with a set colour palette, composed mostly by different tones of red and yellows, in order to create the street lighting for the entire car scene. Researching was the most important part of our collaboration, it really helped a lot to understand what type of film we were making. Especially for all the indoor scenes, we pushed our creativity to find lighting and framing that would fit the emotional journey of our characters, such as the door scene, a dreamy balance of red and blue, and the dinner scene, a dutch angle that enhances the acting performance.
That lighting feels akin to Giallo too, did you take inspiration from any of those film or directors?
Ride With The Guilt has a long list of film inspirations, some of them very subtle and some other really clear. Only one Giallo film really provoked a reaction in me and then helped me create my short film, obviously Suspiria by Dario Argento; the colours of that film still haunt me like a recurring nightmare, the same way I wish the audience of my short film will be haunted by. As an international filmmaker, my biggest inspirations were the works from David Fincher, from Fight Club to Gone Girl. In addition, my short film was highly influenced by Taxi Driver with the iconic rearview mirror shot, which contributes to creating a mysterious approach to the characters, especially for ‘The Guilt’, played by Rebecca Calienda.
How was the shoot? Did constructing the vivid lighting or rain prove challenging? Had you worked with those elements before?
Due to budget constraints, the shoot was divided in two days apart over three months. Overall, it was really enjoyable, I had the chance and pleasure to collaborate again on producing this film with the talented Victor De Almeida from PhoenixWorksFilms. The experience from previous productions guided me into experimenting with rain, which I had been researching since collaborating on a music video with visionary Director Jay Green. It was definitely challenging to combine all the elements of rain and vivid lighting, at the end we achieved a moving picture soaked in liquid painting, exactly what we had in mind during pre-production talk with Archie Guinchard.
What projects are you working on now?
Even if the future is very unpredictable at the moment, I’m collaborating with a multitude of young emerging filmmakers for future releases, such as for Venus by Andrew McGee, a thought-provoking cyberpunk short story with modern-day relevance. I’m also producing a new short film called Azrael with PhoenixWorksFilms, which will later next year also produce a new project written and directed by me: my next short film will be Gasoline, a thriller story about troubled punkheads, set in London, 1999. I’m still currently looking for anyone who would like to be involved in the production and art department, and to make another dark short film come to life under my vision.