'Cassavetes is an example of a work and philosophy on life', by Nacho R. Piedra

By Nacho R. Piedra. January 18, 2013


Since Nacho R. Piedra left university, he has written scripts, edited and directed music videos. His first piece was produced for Migala –he was part of the band– and it was awarded a prize at the 3rd Mieres Short Film Festival. He has directed over 20 music videos at Acuarela label for musicians like The Zeprys or Sr. Chinarro. As collaborator of La2's Carta Blanca TV program, he has worked with figures such as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Isabel Coixet or Alaska. He is currently finishing a video for the band Cosmen Adelaida and works as a freelance writer for MSN.es, where he talks about music, cinema and television.

John Cassavetes and love

What fascinates me the most is how he worked with his wife and his friends with very little money, just the bare minimum and nothing else. Of course, his friends included Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara and Seymour Cassel. I see it as an example of a work and philosophy on life. An actor in Rosemary's Baby and The Dirty Dozen, he was also a great director, scriptwriter, producer and editor. To me that represents independence: doing what you want, with or without support, and with whom you want (if you can).

'JFK' - Oliver Stone

made me become interested in films from a different perspective. I was bowled over by the editing. Oliver Stone has not been as on the ball or mixed as many formats with such skill since. It glides effortlessly from colour to black and white, from a grainy to a defined image, from a reconstruction to the real footage recorded by Zapruder on a Super 8mm. This film is a masterpiece and it drove me to read absolutely everything that fell into my lap about Kennedy. Conspiranoia and good film-making - what could be better? His style has been copied repeatedly as has the music by John Williams with that kind of a military vibe to it that has been used frequently since then in any reports about Kennedy. One of the first short films I wrote was in fact called, Atrás y a la izquierda ("back and to the left"). It was a silent film and all of the action took place in that frame. I never filmed it.

'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' - Philip Kaufman

If you still haven't seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers, then it's about time you did. This scene and the following one, when the protagonists are having dinner, are my favourites in the film. They have a special chemistry. An extra-terrestrial invasion, paranoia, love, suspicion, the herd mentality, dehumanisation...The 1956 original by Don Siegel is just as amazing but I'm sticking with this one. Other literary adaptations such as The Thing run along the same lines and ask who is human and who isn't? - a topic that fascinates me. I won't say where this film echoes in my work but there are many examples. For many years I kept a VHS copy in a cloth. I treated it like gold. It had an enormous Telecinco logo on it and featured some mama-chicho-style adverts. The recording always stopped at the adverts, I never understood what happened that day and I had to keep asking myself for years until I could buy it on DVD.

'West Side Story' - Jerome Robbins

My favourite musical. I think I've seen it as many times as I've seen Star Wars. It starts off perfectly and hooks you in right from the beginning. Robert Wise was just as comfortable directing this marvel as he was starting the Star Trek saga, or making a horror film such as The Haunting. Choreography by Jerome Robbins and perfect music by Leonard Bernstein. Masters, every one of them. I still want to do something related to dance, I had one project that was at quite an advanced stage but it never made it any further forward in the end. I'll try again. Dance!

'Close to me' - The Cure (by Tim Pope)

The Cure
, the lifelong band. Tim Pope was the first video director I knew the name of. I love those hairstyles, that claustrophobia, the simplicity of the idea of the wardrobe sinking. The Cure, the heights and the cliffs, which would also make an appearance in the video for Just like heaven. It conveys the band's humour and that's really cool. In the remix they did for Mixed Up, they built on the idea from the video and went crazy with it.

'Amadeus' - Milos Forman

describing Mozart's music. This scene shows how you can come to perceive, feel and love music, or even become obsessed with it. I think that a lot of us can identify. Aside from that, it's another great film.

'Goodfellas' - Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese
and gangsters. The Sopranos and countless other films wouldn't exist if it hadn't been for him and this film. Joe Pesci is incredible in it. The editing is classic film school material and I love the use of music. I used this fragment as a sampler in a song I made at home with a friend. It sounded so good.

'El bosque animado' - José Luis Cuerda

I watched this film when I was little with my family in our living room and I've got very good memories. It was one of those occasions where it didn't matter if the film was good or not, just the memory makes you smile. On top of all that though, the film is hysterically funny. José Luis Cuerda is another maestro. I'm sure Faemino and Cansado are fans; this scene reminds me of them a lot. No shortage of humour here!

'Alien' - Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott
changed science fiction and horror with Alien - another of my obsessions. Blade Runner would never have existed without this film. A supporting actress becomes the protagonist and heroine for life. The atmosphere is incredible and no words can describe the designs by H.R. Giger. I could say so much about this film that I'll get tongue-tied so I'd rather stop myself.

'Postcard From 1952' - Explosions in the sky (by Peter Simonite and Annie Gunn)

On top of it being by one of my favourite groups, I think this video is beautiful. I don't tend to focus enough on the photography in a video to the extent that it can touch me. In fact, I tend to avoid what seems like an advert but the photography is used so elegantly and tenderly here that I wanted to include it in this top ten list. I met the band years ago and with time I've lost contact but I follow them on Instagram and all those kinds of places and see how they’ve been getting married and having children. Something that awakens sensitivity and different priorities, something that I see reflected in this video. Life.

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