Lunch with Mujer Sin Hijo [Woman Without a Child]
How did you go about creating Mujer Sin Hijo? Can you talk us through the filming processes a little?
I think the hardest part of the process was seeing myself as a director. I’m a screenwriter, Mujer Sin Hijo is the only project I’ve directed. I wrote the script when I was still studying at film school and then I left it. It happens all the time, you write something and then forget about it for a while. I came back to the story because of the insistence of the producer. It was a seemingly simple project, a unique location, few actors. We shot at my grandmother’s house because the script was actually designed and inspired in that space. I guess the charm of the short film is that we were a group of friends working from trust and love trying to do something personal but professional.
What did you want to explore in the relationship between Tere and the young boy?
I don’t like to theorize about the characters. I think the stories have to speak for themselves and not for what the authors say about them. The audience sees what it wants, what people project from themselves from what I am showing to them. For me, this story was an opportunity to explore loneliness from two different places. Two solitudes that embrace and keep company to each other.
Your film avoid pathos, and convey an interesting portray of woman. What do you hope the audience will get out of it?
Actually, I don’t expect anything from the audience. My work is already done and everyone is free to think what they want about it. I don’t intend to do activism with my short film, nor teach a lesson about anything. I’ve tried to portray a woman from the dignity that always confers normality. Normalize certain issues that are normal for me. My look on loneliness, sex, youth. That the short film is so appealing to such a diverse audience (from older women to teenagers) makes me think that society is prepared to speak with respect and naturalness of certain issues without falling into a cliché or mockery.
Would you say that the short film format has given you any particular freedom?
Yes. In Spain we don’t have a strong short film industry. When we shoot a short film, we know that we won’t make money with it (very few recover it). We also don’t have the pressure of the audience liking it or do well at the box office, because our work will not be shown in theaters like a film. We made the short film we wanted to do, without thinking about anything else. The project that we imagined when we closed our eyes, because everything else was uncertain.
What do you consider your cinematographic references?
When you dedicate yourself to this I believe that everything you see is a reference, if only as an example of something you don’t want to look like. I’ve heard that you learn more from cinema that you don’t like and I think it’s true. I like cinema in general and see everything. For Mujer Sin Hijo I paid special attention to the work of filmmakers who obsess me like Miranda July (the treatment of the space of The Future), Alice Rohrwacher (the frames of the characters in Le meraviglie), the tone of Ulrich Seidl and the Victor Erize light narrative (El sol del membrillo).