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 Inès Chtouki - On Balance and Cinematic Languages

Inès Chtouki - On Balance and Cinematic Languages

Inès Chtouki is a filmmaker and photographer. She works as an art director in the film industry.

Currently, she lives in France, and spends a lot of time in Morocco. She’s also looking forward to spending some time in Asia in the future.

She describes her creative process as “something that is cultivated every day, even when you're not doing anything, you're doing something.”

Inès explains that she stopped feeling guilty when nothing materialized immediately, because she realized that things are built a little every day, “by observing, by imbibing things that fascinate us and reminds us why we create things, whatever its medium.”

“Social networks,” says Inès, “make us lose this moment of reflection, the one that guides the purpose and which is not animated by the trend. The creative process is something that can’t be grasped, it’s a mass of personal reflection, doubts, inspirations and disillusionment. And when all of this becomes too intense, it takes the form of a movie, a photo or a piece of music or whatever else which express someone’s interiority.”

For Inès, the creative process takes time and, indeed, needs time to allow your ideas to grow: “I have a lot of trivial questions in my notebook and projects start to take shape by accident and make sense over time but I feel deep inside it’s the result of something I questioned months or years ago.” 

Speaking about the values she sees as essential to an artist, Inès tells us that, although it may seem cliché, she believes that staying true to yourself is essential. “Making things because of the trend, thinking your art with and for the other’s expectations and not with your inner speech. Being in balance with your values and desires, not becoming the things we hate to suffer, becoming the person and the industry we would like to meet - It’s all about being a decent human being after all.”

On what inspired her to take up photography, Inès explains that it was her frustration at not being able to make films, “or rather not being mature enough to tell stories with a cinematic language that is much more complex to master than to create a universe with frozen images.”

Her photography is inspired by the Far East, by stories, by cinema and by people with a strong identity. “I would like to give my photos the same feeling that a video game gives me when I have to choose my character,” says Inès.

She’s used the camera for years now, a Canon 5D with a 14mm for transforming reality and a 35mm for portraits. 

Speaking of the artists who inspire her, Inès lists Wong Kar Wai; Möbius; Katsuhiro Ōtomo; Hirokazu Kore-eda; Benjamin (Zhang Bin); Kentaro Miura. Satoshi Kon, “and all the unknown artists who create incredible things with the same passion for years.”

In closing, we asked Inès about the themes her work focuses on:

“I consider the only project that I have achieved so far, even if it is constantly changing and takes different forms, but at least the one that brought me the most, humanly and technically, is the project ‘We Come From Another Universe 我哋嚟自另外一個世界。’ ”

“It's a stylistic exercise which explores a fantasy from Far East. The challenge was to create a purely aesthetic universe, I can’t say that there’s a political speech behind this project, but I realized with time that my photos gave off a great loneliness. The protagonists are often alone, their gaze in a vacuum, a stranger in their own city, a sort of nocturnal wandering where the inner demons are awakened.”

Inès Chtouki’s top 3 albums:

  • Beach House - Bloom

  • Epik High - We’ve done something wonderful (and all Epik High albums actually) 

  • The Bilinda Butchers - Regret, Love, Guilt, Dreams 


Interviewed by Amy Braaf | Edited by Ciaran R. Maidwell

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