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“The Tape, and His Action of Tying Himself Up, Is Emblematic to Me of Something at the Heart of the Story”: Romola Garai | Amulet

Carla Juri and Alec Secareanu appear in Amulet by Romola Garai (courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Whether capturing or creating a world, the objects onscreen tell as much of a story as the people within it. Whether sourced or accidental, insert shot or background detail, what prop or piece of set decoration do you find particularly integral to your film? What story does it tell?

A roll of black duct tape.

The lead character in my film, Tomaz, is a man beset with recurrent nightmares. These are so bad that he is forced to strap his hands together to prevent him from injuring himself in the night. The tape, and his action of tying himself up, is emblematic to me of something at the heart of the story; what should we forgive ourselves for, and what is unforgivable? Does the Christian idea that nothing is unforgivable really hold when the perpetrator has not accepted responsibility or punishment? Or can forgiveness only be given when someone has paid for their sins? What does it mean to “move on” now that we understand more about our trauma, how it can rest in our subconscious and even be passed down through our genes?

Also I chose this item because it taught me an important lesson. I wrote in the screenplay that Tomaz ties his own hands with tape. When we got to prep it was Alec, who played Tomaz, who pointed out to me that it is basically impossible to tape your own hands together! Thankfully we found a way but it was a good lesson for me in remembering to ground your scripts in reality, even if they deal with the most far-fetched, extreme fantasy…you’ve still got to make it true.

Sundance Responses 2020 

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