SF movie available on Amazon Prime Video, Encounter follows a father who wants to save his children from a threat from elsewhere. Meet the director Michael Pearce and the actors Riz Ahmed, Aditya Geddada and Lucian-River Chauhan.
Available on Amazon Prime Video, Encounter is Michael Pearce’s new film, three years after Jersey Affair. For his second feature film, the British director calls on Riz Ahmed to play a former Navy veteran with a troubled past.
The latter will kidnap his two sons in the middle of the night and flee in an attempt to protect them from an inhuman threat. During this dangerous journey, the boys will have to confront hard truths and abandon their childhood. AlloCiné spoke with the filmmaker and the actors about what this film represents.
AlloCiné: What are your inspirations and references for this film in terms of science fiction?
Michael Pearce: It all started with a script by Joe Barton about ten years ago. Another director was on the project but he didn’t stay long. Then everyone wanted to direct this film and I wanted to take part in it, too. I really got hooked with the concept of this heartbreaking family.
The relationship between this father and his two children really touched me deep in my soul. In terms of science fiction references, it is for me a mix between The Invasion of the Profaners and Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders. There is in this feature film the promise of a sci-fi movie, but you never see the “invaders”.
The film is above all about the fear of the other. And this film is all the more topical since we live in a society where a virus has “invaded” us and where everyone looks at each other with a lot of mistrust and fear. But for me it’s also like in Paris, Texas, the intense relationship between a father and his children.
It is a film that gets lost in the gigantic and lunar landscapes of the United States. During the filming there was also the visual influence, which I shared with my cinematographer, of No Country for Old Men and even Thelma and Louise and with a touch of Sicario.
Riz Ahmed: For me, the inspiration was the work of Michael Pearce and his previous film Jersey Affair which I found very intense. I immediately understood that we were going to do more than a science fiction film.
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What do you think the movie is really about? Is this a warning of a chaotic future?
Michael Pearce: I really hope people will focus on the parent-child relationship. For me there is no future without a united and solid family. It is really a study on the evolution and degradation of this relationship. It is also about the loss of infantile innocence when we grow up and realize the difficult world in which we really live.
This is when children realize that their parents are not necessarily the supermen and superwomen they had an ideal image in their heads. It’s ironic for a film written over ten years ago to have such resonance given the current context in which we find ourselves with this pandemic which continues and which has really sowed chaos.
Without taking into account, that we turned in the heart of the pandemic and the great American division with the pre-elections of 2020. Add to that the various movements of rebellions like “Black lives matter” and “Me too” and we are in full swing in the paranoid and upside down universe of the film with police brutality and all the conspiracy theories spread everywhere. Once again, it is with a united family spirit that we will be able, together, to go through this crisis …
Lucian-River Chauhan: Whatever happens you should always protect your family. This is the message of this film for me.
Aditya Geddada: Yes, it’s a film about love, about the family. Whatever conflicts may be, they should always be resolved within the same family.
Riz Ahmed: it’s also a film about forgiveness. How difficult it is to forgive the faults of others. But without forgiveness there is no redemption and reparation.
What were the various challenges to overcome to make this film?
Michael Pearce: Obviously it started with the Covid crisis which slows you down so much in the filming process and the “fear” that always reigns in people’s heads. It is not easy to manage. Plus, the whole movie was shot on the road, in perpetual motion, and with two young children we can only put to work for a few hours per day.
We also avoided as much as possible the green backgrounds and everything turned into natural settings even when they are on the road in the car. So it was an epic and grueling shoot. But the result is there and I hope you will have a good time with us …