The portrayal of love in film often comes in the form of shallow entertainment, featuring mindless rom-coms and predictable happy-ever-afters. NONsense, a collaborative photo and video collective, however, chose to dig a little deeper. Their most recent film, “Old Times,” poignantly captures the sorrowful beauty of love, regret and lost time. The characters’ catharsis and suffering paints a touching narrative, an emotional experience that feels all too familiar. Before its release on October 3rd, we discussed more about the film with the director, Kevin Speight.
(A Nasty Boy): Tell me a little about NONsense, and what inspired you to start this photo/video collective.
(Kevin Speight): NONsense was born out of a circle of collaboration and that’s what it’s meant to be: a collaborative collective. We believe that we need each other to grow as artists, so we started with this idea whose main objective is to grow through action, never stop creating and continue to investigate. Sharing ideas takes us to new and different places.
(ANB): “Movement 1” won several accolades, receiving a total of six awards in 2016. Why do you think it connected so well with people the way that it did, and how does Old Times add on to or diverge from “Movement 1”?
(K.S.): Our main objective is to create a bond between what we feel and think, and the ways we find to express it. For that reason, we try hard to be honest with ourselves in order to get to the truth. What Movement 1 and Old Times do have in common is that both pieces were conceived as emotional, cathartic experiences, something people can relate to.
(ANB): What was it like working with Simple by Trista, and how did one inspire the other throughout the collaboration? What drew you to get inspiration from Alan Paul’s The Past?
(K.S.): Gio, the designer, is a very sensible person who has a very special perception of life. I think he wanted to get his brand involved on a different level and, rather than just showing the clothing, he wanted to portray the brand’s message and aesthetic. I find it a very interesting approach. The Past by Alan Pauls was probably the main reference as a way of understanding relationships and the vicious circles that we sometimes fall into.
(ANB): The beginning quote says, “Creativity requires courage to let go of certainties. Same as love.” What made you pick this quote to start the video, and why pick creativity as the analogy to love?
(K.S.): Very good question! I think we’re all quite conservative in our ways of understanding love and we need to let go of what we understand as certainties. We need to question everything bravely to reach new conclusions, and this way of understanding life is also something necessary to be able to create. We must always abandon certainties in search for new questions.
(ANB): How have your experiences and perspectives on love and loss shaped the creation of this film?
(K.S.): Old Times is the result of questions and doubts that I overcame at some point. The nice part of making the film was that I never had the answers to any question. I wasn’t even conscious that those questions were shaping my own life. It has all been part of one main search.
(ANB): Why did you decide to portray love and relationships through the lens of pain and regret? Is there something that we can find in the tribute to love’s sorrows that can’t be found in a tribute to love’s joy?
(K.S.): I don’t reject the concept of love as a joyful experience; this is only one point of view. I think we should examine love as a tool for living and understanding life, but pain is part of it too. Pain is an important part of life, it’s a reaction to life and transformation. Pain is the only chance we have to confront ourselves at some point. Old Times is a tribute to this opportunity.
(ANB): In this film, we see the couple exploring the actions and feelings of their younger selves. What would be your message to youth today navigating love, loss and relationships?
(K.S.): We always make the same mistakes over and over again, and that’s what we try to reflect on in Old Times. But we need to make mistakes in order to learn, so my advice would be: go ahead, take risks, it’s always beautiful to try. I suppose this is what life is about.