Michel van der Aa
Saw the film in a cinema here in Holland a few years even before I started thinking about the opera. It was a very sort of — I mean I think it’s a masterpiece, I mean I absolutely loved it, and thought about it quite a lot and talked to people about it. And when Netherlands Opera asked me to pitch an idea for an opera to them, this idea of doing After Life as an opera sort of came quite quickly.
What I like about the film is that it’s a very sort of universal story, and it’s a very humanistic story, so you can — there’s this bigger idea of this place between heaven and earth, the way station, but also there’s the individual stories of the people who have come to the way station, their life stories.1 I think that’s a very cool sort of entry point for an audience to connect to. I think as an audience you connect through these people, and you connect with these life stories, you engage with them. I thought it was a very poetic idea, and a very poetic framework. And I love the fact that in the film — the film is also about filmmaking, the crew on the way station there sort of recreating the moments on film, and you use all these stupid props and the cotton ball clouds. And that kind of gives you a really nice and human aspect as well.