Gracia Querejeta • Director of The Invisible
"These days making films is harder than making TV shows"
- Gracia Querejeta presents The Invisible, where three mature actresses stroll through a park chatting about mid-life crises, a theme not much explored in film
In The Invisibles [+see also:
interview: Gracia Querejeta
film profile] – a film by women, starring women and about women (even if men do crop up in the feature) - Gracia Querejeta (Madrid, 1962) tackles the delicate question of hitting fifty in a society and at a time where old age and experience are vastly undervalued. Starring Emma Suárez, Nathalie Poza and Adriana Ozores, the film will be released in Spanish cinemas on 6 March via Wanda Visión. Here, the director gives us a few tips on how to read the movie.
Cineuropa: This is a film with a lot of dialogue. How do you design a script such as this one?
Gracia Querejeta: It takes a lot of attention, time and meticulousness, in the knowledge that there will have to be a few cuts during the editing process. It was a huge job: it looks easy when you watch it, but The Invisible is one of the most difficult films I’ve shot… Because it’s very strange having three characters walking almost constantly in a park. We had to plan out the routes they would take, and we rehearsed with the actresses right there, in situ.
The picture harks back to a form of cinema composed solely of dialogue, such as French director Éric Rohmer’s films, or the American trilogy Before Sunset...
There are films which do rely heavily on dialogue and actors. In my work, words have always been a mainstay. For me, they’re an important weapon for communication, just like certain looks and silences, which are often quite powerful; they are in this film too. The Invisible is a dialogue-based film and that’s why I ran the enormous risk of never showing what was actually happening; everything takes place off-camera. You don’t see the things the central characters talk about. It was a huge challenge, but we managed to make it flow. At a certain point during rehearsals, Emma Suárez asked me "Which actor is playing my boss?". Because she was already imagining the scenes with her boss, who is mentioned by name, but who never appears on screen.
You wrote the screenplay with Antonio Mercero?
We’ve been working together for over ten years. The fact that the screenwriter is a man isn’t a problem for me, quite the opposite: I was interested in seeing just how far he could identify with all these issues and create these stories with me. And it wasn’t difficult, because even though the film’s target audience does seem to be women around fifty years of age, all of the movie’s producers are men… I think that men also feel invisible from a certain age; we do have problems in common.
It’s a brave and uncomfortable film, because it tackles subjects that aren’t often talked about.
Of course, it’s uncomfortable, because it’s difficult. I’ve already made a film about powerful women, Siete mesas (de billar francés), which revolved around two women who go their own way, following their paths against all odds; despite their tumultuous personal circumstances, they’re able to build up a complicated business from nothing. Now I’m at a different age: I’m interested in exploring other issues. And I don’t want to talk about powerful fifty-somethings, top managers of big companies, but more everyday women whose reality is more similar to my own, whom I see around me and in my friends. This is what I wanted to explore, and it’s not comfortable. I don’t think all women of a similar age will identify with the film, but I think some obviously will.
No-one warns you about the conflicts we see in The Invisible...
For my part, Mercedes Sampietro warned me, when she was 50 years old and I was 30. We were filming By My Side Again and she said to me: “You don’t know this yet, but there comes an age and a time in life when you become invisible as a woman or anything else". And I said to her: “Come on, don’t be paranoid. What are you saying? You’re beautiful and an actress too”, but I think she was right.
Now that you’re ready to release of The Invisible, what are you currently working on?
On a series for TVE and DeAplaneta, with German support, based on the novel Ana by Roberto Santiago, who wrote the screenplay with Ángela Armero. Salvador García Ruiz and I will direct it. Maribel Verdú will play the lead. When we can, we shoot films, but these days making films is harder than making TV shows, due to the many digital platforms commissioning TV content.
(Translated from Spanish)
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