Director Juan Solanas Upside Down

Director Juan Solanas Talks About His Gravitational Pull In ‘Upside Down’ [Exclusive]

Argentinian director/writer Juan Solanas hasn’t made a feature film since 2005, but you wouldn’t know it while viewing his latest film Upside Down, an ambitious sci fi that explores a modern day version of Romeo and Juliet. The film, which stars Kirsten Dunst (Bachelorette), and Jim Sturgess (Cloud Atlas), centers on the gravitational force pulling two lovers apart. Much like any forbidden love, Adam and Eden are drawn together despite knowing their planets are forbidden to interact with one another.

Although the story of the lovers itself is cemented with symbolism we’re all familiar with, Solanas spins the idea on its head by offering up a different concept. In turn, the filmmaker builds layers by creating a dystopian cocktail in his visual landscape that sees the lovers pinned to two different planets with polar gravities. Eden, coming from an affluent planet is framed “Up Top” while Adam is pulled “Down Below” to a shanty, dickens-esque working class planet. While the visuals are lush and grandiose, the conflicts derailing these two from being together are universal, dealing in socioeconomic differences, politics, and class.

The idea for Upside Down is so refreshing, and the visuals so striking, The Inquisitr’s Niki Cruz decided to have a chat with director/writer Juan Solanas to find out the inception behind his forbidden love story.


THE INQUSITR: There’s so much to be said about this film. Which thematic element came first for you as a writer?

JUAN SOLANAS: The thing that really seduced me seven years ago was the possibility to speak about the reality of the world in a very metaphorical way. I love to put a very simple story in a very crazy world. There was a lot of technical stuff to discover. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do another movie, so when the idea came I got so excited. I had a vision one morning. I thought of a guy on a mountain, and the girl upside down on the top of another mountain. I started to understand the story, and then I wrote it. For me the idea came as a whole thing; as a bundle. The package was this incredibly double gravity world, a metaphorical world, and also the simple love story that drives the audience.

THE INQUISITR: The visual landscape is stunning. Technically what did you have to do to achieve the look of the two worlds?

SOLANAS: It came from my imagination. I’m really just describing what I see in my brain. I’m very specific. After that I found references. I’m really bad at drawing so it’s a challenge for me to explain exactly what we need to do. I am from Buenos Aires in Argentina, and that was the vision for shooting “Down Below.” I took a lot of pictures from Buenos Aires to find the spirit. After that, for “Up Top” I had romantic paintings for the inspiration. I wanted to be sure that everyone understand what I wanted. A movie like that, if you lose your sensibility you kill the movie.

THE INQUISITR: As a screenwriter did you find yourself sacrificing material to achieve the vision of the film?

SOLANAS: Making a film is always about dealing with reality. When you make a movie, it’s a dream, and then you need to ground it with a reality. Reality is everything. Money is a big reality. When you have unlimited money to shoot, well that’s good, but that did not exist. So you have to ground your script to the reality because we were independent. For me one of my key thoughts was, “I wanted to escape my financial problems with creativity.” I wanted to widen my imagination. It’s normal to take out what’s not necessary. We tend to add sequences that are cool but aren’t vital for the movie. I really made the movie with no confessions. We shot the movie in 54 days and that’s not that much for a movie like that.

Juan Solanas