Duvenage – The foreign path through Woodwind

Woodwind sound designer Marcel Duvenage is one of the few members of the crew who worked on the final cut of the film.

Duvenage talks about how the film is not a typical South African work, as well as the foreign culture and mythical inspiration to the story.

QUESTION: You’re one of the few South Africans in the team. With your work on the sound design after seeing the visual edit, how do you think Woodwind fits into SA cinema, if at all?

Marcel Duvenage: What strikes me about the film is that it does not have the typical South African content. The film instead reminds me more of a classic, foreign, cinema nouveau film, which is fantastic!

Q: How do you mean that in terms of the style of the movie?

MD: Most films tend to follow some kind of generic formula, and although the setting or characters of those movies sometimes might be different, the underlying plot and even the dialogue used is very similar. There’s often clichés in cinema, and I end up thinking to myself, “Why can’t someone write a story which hasn’t been done? Please!”

Today, there are a few excellent contemporary films out there but true originality is rare. This is where Woodwind veers off the path and takes an original approach to film form and story.

Q: What about the Indian influence on the culture of the story?

MD: Growing up in Durban, South Africa which has the largest Indian population outside of India, I have always had an appreciation for the culture. Musically, I have enjoyed eastern music in the larger sense from the more classical Sitar and Tabla to even some mainstream  Indian music for its rich, colourful sound and beautiful voices. The main location in the film, India seems like the perfect place to find oneself, within its diverse landscape, culture and mythology.

Q: How did you fit in with the international crew having members from Europe, the Americas and Asia?

MD: Everything just fell into place and flowed really easily. The group was so diverse and it was just a pleasure to work with everyone. (The lead actor from Argentina) Leandro Taub is quite a character in real life and kept things entertaining on and off the set. Each actor added something extra of value and it was a joy to meet and work with the international actors. It was the most fun I have had in ages and it really did not feel like work at all. I was doing what I love with great people!

Q: Before meeting the team, what drew you to join the film?

MD: The final piece of the puzzle was that I was researching a specific audio recorder and microphone setup a week earlier. Then director Fin Manjoo contacted me with a sound gear list for Woodwind and it was the exact same gear I was looking at. I took this as a sign.

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