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Are you tired of people asking about misogyny?
My one problem is that it’s so difficult to pronounce that I try to avoid the word. No. To me it’s like deciding to hate elephants. That’s kind of ridiculous, you know. You can hate the elephant that’s after you, but hating elephants in general is silly. I’ve made many films with women and about women, and I think that the female characters in my films are more believable than the male characters. The male characters just tend to be idiots, all of them doing something completely wrong. Whereas the women tend to follow their nature.

One thing about this film that I find more disturbing than the genital mutilation is the notion that existence itself is evil. Do you think that's true?
Yes, I believe I do. We all have this idea of an ideal fantastic, romantic place being a forest, but in fact the place represents ultimate pain and struggle.

The talking fox in the forest that says "chaos reigns" — is it true he came to you in a shamanistic trance?
[Laughs.] That’s right. I did from time to time these shamanistic things. It’s a very long story, but someone from my family was dying, and then I read somewhere that by means of these shamans in some Brazilian tribes, you could kind of travel for another person. And that is what I did for my family member, who was very fond of foxes. So I went to talk to some foxes. And then there was this interesting thing that was not in the film. The first fox I met behaved like the one in the movie. But afterward, I met some other foxes, and they said, “Never trust the first fox you meet.”

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