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“I find continuing to make this kind of film hard”

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Luis Miñarro ­• Director


- Producer Luis Miñarro jumps to directing a feature length fiction film, Falling Star, which offers an original and disinhibited vision of Spanish history. In competition in Rotterdam

Luis Miñarro ­• Director

After producing films by big directors such as José Luis Guerin, Manoel de Oliveira and Apichatpong Weersethakul, the Catalan producer Luis Miñarro has jumped over to the director’s seat with a fiction film, Falling Star [+see also:
film review
interview: Luis Miñarro ­
festival scope
film profile
, which offers an unexpected and broken vision of Amedeo of Savoy’s ruling over Spain in 1870. The film is in the running for a Tiger award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, where Cineuropa met the director.

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Cineuropa: Why Amedeo I?
Luis Miñarro: After doing a little research, I realised the subject had potential. A historical character about which very little is known. This meant there was a possibility to imagine or even invent a great deal of detail about him. And in a certain sense, Amedeo lived through a time period very similar to what we are going through today: the beginning of a crisis in Spain.

The current crisis is one of the reasons you chose the character?
That is how the character becomes important. Some will say my film is frivolous, an ode to unabashed aestheticism, but there are many other things apart from that: many artists, painters and musicians. And we cannot forget that history is founded on political elements. 

Some of your choices are intriguing, for example that of language. Is this a political or a stylistic choice?
Behind my linguistic choices lies the will to respect the language in which my actors felt the most comfortable. I like the idea of cohabitating. Who says a film should be filmed in a certain language? I took this liberty, without seeking to prove anything.

Going from being a producer to a director is another such liberty?
This film is very personal, even if I did it to express my cinematographic priorities. It is like a summary. In a certain way, the film recaps what my function as a producer is, even if I do not know whether I will be able to live up to that expectation. Not because I do not want to, but because of the situation. I now find it difficult to continue making this type of film.

How do you perceive the current situation?
It seems extremely complicated to me. We were a company of six people in my case, and we have gone to being half of that. I am lucky that I was able to make a film that I wanted to make, but I will probably also get taken off the scene too. In order to start again under a new kind of legislation, or a new situation, maybe abroad, who knows. I definitely feel a bit rejected by my own country. I have been pouring so much effort into making films in the last 18 years, films that have met enviable degrees of success across the world, but when I try and distribute them in my own country, all I find are closed doors. I have to find ways of distributing them anyway, through smaller entities, or creating my own distribution mechanisms. 

What are your next projects?
I am currently producing Naomi Kawase’s (Still the Water) next film, a project I have been working on for a while and which I have managed to push forward. Unfortunately, I cannot start any other production efforts right now, even if I wanted to. I have another very personal project as director: a reinterpretation of the classic Salomé legend, based on takes by Oscar Wilde and Richard Strauss, but transported into the present among the American troops in Iraq. It is a difficult project, but it is my next step as a director. Frankly, I don’t know when I will be able to get the project going. Either in 2015 or in 2017. 

(Translated from Spanish)

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