The album and its title song Flore can be seen as Gabriel Rios’ hommage to his father, who filled his youth in Puerto Rico with music. When he made the record, his dad was already very far in the depths of Alzheimer’s disease and never had the chance to truly hear what his son composed. This music video takes this experience as a starting point, exploring the way a father and son keep connecting through all the changes this disease enforces.
Credits / Collaborators / Cast
Directors: Pien van Grinsven and Thomas Szacka-Marier
Actors: Kénor Ospina, Ruben Aranda
Producer: Les Films de la Recré
DoP: Thomas Szacka-Marier
Editor: Anna Savchenko
1st AD: Clara Brandt
1st AC: Constance Piketty
2nd AC: Camile Alves
Choreography, acting coach: Salomé Genès
Art director: Florence Laprat
Producer: Boris Baum
Production manager: Félix Lambot
Color grader: Laura Perera San Martin
Set photography: Eka Tsotsoria, Nico Forero Parra
Thanks to: Youssef Kaddar, Simon Perotti, the volleyball community of Parc de Forest (Brussels), Résidence Porte de Hal, Mariana Cadenas, Amelia Nanni, Simon Asencio
Made with the support of: La Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
Behind the scenes
It was clear from the very beginning that we wanted to work with the theme of Alzheimer’s disease, since it was so connected to the album and the artist’s personal experience. Together with Gabriel Rios, we decided on this setting of a (grand)father and son, after which he basically gave us carte blanche to make the video.
When we started to develop the story, we realised we had to fight many stereotypes that come to mind when we think of old age and the process of forgetting – it’s all grey tones and suffering, basically. Yet from speaking to professionals working in care homes, we came to see that this disease is about rupture, but also about finding new ways to connect. Ways that are perhaps more about sensation, about the present, about the senses, and less about a common narrative. This is why we chose to build the clip around one element – connection – instead of trying to create a story.
It was very important for us to work with non-actors, looking specifically for people that could bring their own experience of loss and connection into the story. We did many street castings, running behind people in the streets of Charleroi, Liège and Forest, but finally found our characters right around the corner in Brussels. We were incredibly lucky to encounter two non-actors that are in fact incredibly talented and sensitive actors: art student Kénor Ospina and vintage furniture expert Ruben Aranda. While Kénor has a grandfather in Colombia, Ruben has a grandson exactly the same age as Kénor in Argentina. They could find each other in their own story, and brought that into the video.
Since the two main characters had no previous experience, we did a series of workshops with them under the lead of Salomé Genès, a choreographer and acting coach. There, we experimented with ways for them to connect, movements and incorporating the character. We as directors also participated in these workshops and exercises, being as open and vulnerable as we were asking them to be.
As our crew speaks French, Ruben only speaks Spanish, Thomas is from Québec and Pien is Dutch, the rehearsal and shooting was a head-spinning mix of different languages and heavy accents in all directions. Adding in the fact that Gabriel Rios is Puerto-Rican/Flemish and the song is Spanish, but the whole video was completely filmed in Brussels, it feels like a truly Belgian production: one that does justice to the diversity and complexity of this wonderful place.