#SHORTVIEW: “Flesh and Blood”, by Merlin Camozzi

Synopsis:

When a sweeping pandemic threatens to turn her father into a violent monster, 18 year-old Max must lead both him and her younger sister through a rugged wilderness in search of a cure.


SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME


> Why did you decide to make this short film? Which were your inspirations?

I love genre films, and I wanted to tell a story about dealing with an uncontrollable parent in an unusual way. I myself grew up with a father who was a big-time alcoholic, while also having my grandmother -who I was very close with- succumb to dementia in the last years of her life.

Having an alcoholic parent obviously sucks in a lot of ways, but one of them is that your environment becomes totally unpredictable. Similarly, my grandmother became really paranoid and racist, and would have these really intense outbursts towards people, so you never knew what was to come. So, for me, zombies were only a way to display the results of when people’s worst impulses are given free reign, a way to represent this uncertainty.

> The “zombie” sub-genre has been explored on innumerable occasions within cinema. Why do you think this is the case?

As social creatures, I think that we’re afraid of social collapse, on a genetic level – and zombies tap into and activate that fear, and it makes people respond pretty strongly and makes them come back again and again to watch these stories.

Survival is the most fundamental human pursuit. It’s baked into us. We’re also really good at it, which is why there are so many millions of humans on the planet after all. But even though we’re the dominant species, and we’ve been so for a long time, there’s a part of our brains that will always remain in a kind of “survival” mode.

There’s another side to it, which is that “love” is another fundamental human pursuit, maybe the second most powerful one, something that happens on a hormonal level. So when you mix stories of survival with stories of love and community, you’re basically tapping into the two things that have driven us forward since the dawn of time.

> How was the general reception of the film? Do you think people understood the message?

I don’t think it fully connected with the audience, to be honest. From all the people that watched the film, only a few seemed to grasp what the idea was. It did happen, but I think that, generally speaking, the people who were genre fans saw something that was “not genre enough”, while the drama fans were turned off by the zombie stuff.

As I continue to progress as a filmmaker, I’d love to take another stab at this kind of themes, and maybe at some point I’ll manage to crack the code on how to make a serious drama within the forms of a genre film. I think it can be done.


At the point of the interview, Merlin was immersed in the production and direction of music videos for brands and artists like ARRI and Són, while also working towards the realization of his first feature, dealing with the New York “rave scene” of the 90s.


Written and directed by: Merlin Camozzi

Produced by: Tim Lewis, Linda Christina Riedmann, David Oh, Ben Haigh, Merlin Camozzi

Director of Photography: Julia Swain