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Luis Marías • Director

“There’s nothing more fun than directing a movie”


- Fuego, the second movie by the Basque director, is a dramatic thriller about the violence caused by terrorism; the only Spanish movie in competition in Gijón

Luis Marías  • Director

Fuego [+see also:
film review
interview: Luis Marías
film profile
, Luis Marías’ second movie is a dramatic thriller about the violence caused by terrorism; the only Spanish movie in competition in the Official Section of the 52nd Gijón International Film Festival. We spoke with the Basque director.

Cineuropa: You have a prolific career as a screenwriter, something that combines well with directing...
Luis Marías: The logicalcareer path for any screenwriter is to end up directing: the former develops the plot and the characters, and the director translates all of that into images, but whom better than the screenwriter to do so? Whether you fancy being a director or not, that’s another kettle of fish... but I don’t know of anything more fun than directing a movie: this way, the screenwriter gets on swimmingly with the director (laughs). I’ve been writing scripts for years and it’s really a treat when you come across a director who improves what you’ve written; it rarely happens to be honest, it’s usually the opposite.

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Where did the need to tell such a powerful story like Fuego come from?
I was born in 1962, the same year as ETA, so it’s been part of my life ever since: it’s inevitable that I think about it and that I want to tell the tale, because there was so much violence and it was all so cruel... Fuego is not about ETA, rather it’s about violence and its effects; it takes place in the Basque Country because that’s my reality and I can offer a specific vision of that, but it could easily take place in the Balkans or in Israel. There’s been a great deal of social resentment in the Basque Country. Those who have suffered and those who felt attacked can never fully heal and forget. 

Was it difficult to obtain support to mount a project based on this topic?
At the moment it’s difficult to make any kind of movie, but it has been relatively easy, I realize as a producer (I’ve had to become a producer in order to make the movie) that when the script has punch, it’s easier than it may seem. It’s not an expensive film, there’s less money from the institutions and TV broadcasters, but the Basque Country has its own tax system and via the tax deductions you can secure private investment. It’s interesting for both investors and producers. The same occurs in the Canary Islands, the US, Italy, Germany and the UK: it’s a means of financing and of bringing production to our homeland. What’s more, it generates a lot of direct and indirect employment, as well as showing our culture and heritage on screen. 

Which TV broadcasters participated?
The Basque and Catalan ones; we’re trying to sell it to TVE and Canal+. The budget is the current average for a Spanish film: 1,300,000 euro. It’s tight, we have to stay within the budget: it was filmed in five weeks, it’s a small and affordable actors’ movie. It was well financed, hassle-free and we’re screening the movie in theatres this Friday, 28 November, with no debts: it must be my beginner’s luck as a producer. I had the support of Gerardo Herrero (Tornasol) and his experience in production; I don’t want to be a producer, I did it out of pure necessity.

Rather than a thriller, Fuego is an actors’ film.
Certainly, it’s an emotional movie: the beginning is a thriller, but it makes you cry. That was my main concern: the first time that I saw how someone cried watching it, I understood that I had done it. And, if it makes you reflect afterwards too, all the better.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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