In Venice, Victor Irriarte dazzles with an authorial look at stolen babies and the wounds of Francoism.

Sometimes a single image contains a movie. For example, two women on the river bank. They have red nails and they are sleeping. In those two people, still nameless and without a past, Victor Iriarte knew there was a story. You just have to figure out which one. The image was born four years ago and stuck in my head. Around the same time, he began “a series of readings and conversations with friends about recent Spanish history and the case of the stolen babies.”

This “open wound” from Spain’s recent past became the engine of the nameless women who would not disappear. Both stimuli were crossed. These two people were two mothers. One, biological. Second, the adoptive mother and they were embryos especially at night, one of the most surprising Spanish films of the year, which launched its career at the Giornate degli Autore in Venice. These faces now have the features of Ana Torrent and Lola Duenas, two of the most enigmatic actresses in Spanish cinema, perfectly suited to this political, auteur film that combines historical story, heist film and free and unclassifiable form drama. .

Iriarte, the programmer of the San Sebastián festival, believes that this film also responds to “recent history, the crimes of Spain, historical memory and how cinema not only addresses the subject, but also how it relates from there. There is also something that the leader has to offer.” Form value to get to the bottom. or how form is political. That’s why it appeals to the codes of Hollywood film noir or French polar film, added in archival images and elements of melodrama.

A film that is unlike anything else and that questions the paradigm shift that has been sold for so long. “I think that our generation, fortunately, is in the review of this memory and, of course, we understand the generation of our parents and that difficult moment when they signed with enthusiasm and voted with enthusiasm. But now, 40 years later, when you see these images, which are also archived in our film, you see them from a different place, because a lot has happened and now we relate it to a precise political moment in Spain. , which now we are again talking about what we are, what model territories we are…”.

especially at night “It makes a very direct claim to reconsider what the wound is.” “The case of stolen babies is still in a very serious legal limbo, and we see close examples in the film. I have this little connection, a bit emotional, with Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Our film argues that you have to think again, but from a creative place, because I think it also suggests that in these two very different characters who share a sacrifice and try to understand each other. And I think from there I can make the claim that we need to look at our memory, that there is justice, reparation and look at who we are,” he adds.

We must revise our memory for justice, reparation and reconsider who we are

Victor Iriarte
Film director

“Cinema and popular cinema” is important for this. We must approach this historical memory both from what is said and how it is said. “from the form”. “I attach great importance to the ‘how’.” There’s a line from the movie that says, ‘The only thing they couldn’t take away is my story and the way I tell it,’ and I think that’s the point.”

There are also echoes of Hitchcock in the two women who dyed themselves blonde in order to strike, which is about Marni the Thief. “There’s something beautiful about that film noir gesture, which is that even though she’s dyed blonde and she’s a brunette at the beginning of the film, she’s still the same woman. There’s something we can relate to Bolaño and a lot of things related to spies, like international connections, mystery, a character in one city, then another, the call in the night… It’s all imaginary that’s for me. Very literary, in the Spanish case with Villa Mata, when he was writing so much about spies at the time, when there were anagram novels,” he says of other influences on the film. A costume that is also “a bit of a performance act.” A kind of “ritual, as if you painted yourself and were already a different person”. “I think we do that a little bit. I’m going to Venice and I’m going to get a haircut… or shave after COVID. Changes that I think are part of us.”

In the union of these women, who help and find each other, is the future of healing the open wounds of Francoism. It could have been a film about enemies and revenge, but for Iriarte, their friendship is what drives everything forward, although as in good noir films, there must always be tragedy. Also because “history is tragic and reality is very harsh”. But despite this, there is a claim to “that space for mutual understanding and dialogue” in a film that combines content and form to offer one of the most original insights into Spain’s historical memory.

Source: El Diario

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