Pamplona, Aug 2 (EFE). The filmmaker Óliver Laxe will travel to Navarra this next week to teach at Estudios Melitón a course in which he will seek to grow together with his students with the conviction that “the best way to be generous with the viewer is to be dark,” he says in an interview. with Efe in which he affirms that “the spectator of today is forced to understand when art must be felt”.
Laxe (Paris, 1982) achieved international critical recognition with her latest film, “Lo que arde”, which last January won two Goya Awards (Best New Actress and Best Cinematography), in addition to being nominated for Best Film .
Q: The course with Estudios Melitón has had to be delayed by the coronavirus, has the pandemic greatly disrupted your plans?
A: It has upset them, but I could not say whether for better or for worse. Obviously some jobs are falling, but in general what I get is positive because it has forced me to make healthy changes in my habits. I have spent years preparing my life in the country and I am working in a rural development center and restoring my grandparents’ house, therefore I have been enjoying being close to the construction site and with fewer planes going up and down. They have been the happiest months of my life and, although it may seem unsupportive, I believe that an exercise in solidarity forces me to be happy and help.
Q: Tell me more about this project in the field.
A: I want to take care of the valley where my mother was born and I am working on agricultural and livestock orientation projects and I am clearing the site trying not to burn it. This project also seeks to bring young people closer, to stop this bloodletting that exists in rural areas, and has cultural activities for the people here and a mountain club.
Q: Many artists agree that in confinement they have had too much time but they have lacked inspiration, has the same thing happened to them or have they taken advantage of this solitude to create and seek new experiences?
A: Actually I have not been confined because I live in a village where I am the only neighbor. Now I am at a time when I did not need this inspiration because I live in a space of scandalous beauty, therefore I do not need to look for that beauty. It is a place where you empty yourself and that forces you to say to yourself: “Shut up and contemplate.”
Q: When you make movies, do you make them for yourself, for the public or just for the sake of creating?
A: There is a part of ego and another part of essence. There is a very self-centered part when it comes to making a movie, a way of saying to people: “Look what I do, love me.” At the same time I think that if there is liberation on my way I hope I can liberate someone. I make films to connect with my essence and in doing so, since the viewer’s essence is the same as mine, she can connect with her own essence. At the same time, in my cinema there is a clear and radical desire to serve, and I think that the best way to be generous with him is to be dark because nowadays he forces himself to understand, when at bottom art has to be felt.
Q: What is your opinion of the most commercial cinema, which would be the best seller in literature?
A: It seems garbage to me, it does not elevate people, but it numbs them. I’m not saying that these films don’t have to exist, but I find the people who invest their time and talent in making this type of cinema a bit irresponsible. I think that only if you really need to make a film is it healthy to do it, because it is a very schizophrenic process, very incisive, a borderline experience.
Q: When you choose an actor, are you looking for something specific?
A: I let myself be carried away by empathy. There are people who move me and make me very curious and this is one of the things that I like the most, wondering why I was moved, analyzing that person psychologically and spiritually, her injuries. Broken people tend to attract me a lot. It is said that since their hearts are broken through the fissures, light passes and that debate within them is very beautiful. You also have to measure all the factors because making a movie is very demanding physically and psychologically and maybe there is someone who moves me a lot but I know that they will not be able to bear the experience of filming.
Q: Is there much difference when directing a professional actor and another who is not dedicated to it?
A: Yes, in this country a professional actor has to do many different jobs on TV or the theater and they are acquiring vices, instead with a non-professional actor you start from scratch.
Q: Do you think that this situation we are experiencing will change people and their way of facing things or will it be something that will be quickly forgotten?
A: There is an element that I celebrate about this new scenario and that is the presence of death. This will cause people to grow up because they realize that they are small, but there will be other people for whom the presence of death makes them unable to control their anguishes and fears. I think we are going to attend a more polarized society between people who are going to light up and people who are going to go dark.
Leticia de las Heras
(c) EFE Agency