Malmös very own low-budget, classic cult movie! AND exclusive new interview with the director below…
FiMö asked …
The obvious question, what does LFO stand for?
Antonio Tublén: It stands for “Low-Frequency Oscillation”. Wiki says: “Low-frequency oscillation (LFO) is an electronic frequency which is usually below 20 Hz and creates a rhythmic pulse or sweep. This pulse or sweep is used to modulate musical equipment such as synthesizers to create audio effects such as vibrato, tremolo and phasing”
FiMö: How early in the process of the filmmaking did you have the whole story in mind?
Tublén: It all happened pretty fast. The whole project was sort of like a challenge. To make something quick with a modest budget. So I had this basic idea of giving this odd character more power then he could handle. Then I just placed him in a normal house and followed his actions, like a peeping Tom – even I was flabbergasted by his actions and choices. And actually, with LFO we went from idea to finished feature film in 6 months.
FiMö: There is a lot of emerging scientific evidence and of course historical precedence (in ritualistic rites) that sounds and rhythms have directly physical and even physiological effects. But I wonder, do you believe that sounds could ultimately be as directly hypnotic as they are presented? Is it important that you believe this to some extent when you are writing it?
Tublén: For me, it doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, but I do feel it somehow needs to be plausible. And when it comes to sound there’s a lot of amazing things that can be done. Some of it is pure Sci-Fi. There are even sound-weapons. Most famous is probably “the brown note” – an “infrasonic frequency that would cause humans to lose control”. And even when it comes to music, there are mad discussions about what frequency an “A” should be tuned too. Usually, it’s 440 Hz, but some experiment with 432 Hz and 444 Hz, as it’s supposed to be more pleasing and some even claim it has healing abilities (?). Flower power stuff.
FiMö: The audience is asked to suspend their disbelief and accept that Robert has invented this super weapon. When you introduce this world-changing element to a story which is otherwise like the real, normal world, what kind of things do you feel you need to keep in mind?
Tublén: For me, it’s to explore Robert’s world and his mindset. He knows, I don’t. I just follow along, writing his messed up journal/diary. So for me, it’s not to try to explain, accept or interpret his view or knowledge. For me, it’s Robert’s actions that are fascinating, not how he does it. But with that said, there is always a balance to be aware of on many levels. But I tend to go with the characters placed in a “what if” scenario when I’m writing.
FiMö: (Spoiler alert) Ok, here comes the hard journalism. We discover pretty early on the main character is far from being a person that anyone would want to emulate. That said, the sex scenes are next-level discomforting. Can you tell me a something about your experience writing and shooting these scenes?
Tublén: I knew that those scenes would alter the audience perception about the main character. So to be honest, I had my doubts about it. I knew it would make him a some kind of monster – but that is what he becomes. He can’t handle the power he discovers. He’s a cynical man with a brilliant mind but in a totally wrong way. His brain isn’t wired the way it’s supposed to be. And even when he tries to “do good”, it just goes to the extreme. Maybe I’m also cynical about this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some people would probably do the same if given his power.
As for shooting the scenes, I think we went onto them with a dark sense of humour. The whole cuckold thing etc. I guess that was our best approach to deal with the scenes at the time. We all knew what it meant, but our mission was to explore it from Robert’s point of view, not ours.
FiMö: Considering 2020 has been a game-changing year on a lot of fronts, what is something you would like to see changed in the post-pandemic “normal”?
Tublén: I genuinely hope mankind will learn something from all this, but if I put on Robert’s cynical goggles, probably not. The end game still seems to be to kickstart massive consuming again and going back to “business as usual”. Economics rules the world, not common sense. But I guess I agree with standard beauty pageant answer and hope for “world peace”. And while we’re at it, just kill all this populism and polarisation crap.