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Mario Hernández • Director of Tregua(s)

"Humour is the most important thing in life"


- The Spanish director makes his feature directing debut with his friend Salva Reina, an actor who stars in his atypical romantic comedy alongside Bruna Cusí

Mario Hernández  • Director of Tregua(s)

Mario Hernández, 34, from La Mancha, has entered the official competition section of the 26th Malaga Film Festival with Tregua(s) [+see also:
film review
interview: Mario Hernández
film profile
, his first feature film after making the shorts Salvo el crepúsculo, Vientos del pueblo Sirio, A los ojos and Por Sifo, where he worked with Salva Reina, starring alongside Bruna Cusí in this romantic comedy that is not so romantic. We talked to him.

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Cineuropa: Your first film takes place right here: in this hotel and this event.
Mario Hernández:
I wrote the first version of the script in 2018 for Salva Reina and, as both protagonists are involved in film, it was natural for the action to take place during a film festival.

Do you have a bromance with Salva, also co-producer?
I would like to think so, I don't know what he thinks.... The film also addresses the fact that terminology sometimes falls short of defining feelings, despite us living in an age of excessive terminology. For me, he is one of the best actors in Spain because he has everything I like in my favourite actors, such as José Luis López Vázquez, Alberto Sordi, Jack Lemmon and Vittorio Gassman. You laugh with them and suddenly, with just a look, they bring you to tears. Salva has that too, I wrote thinking about him and when Bruna Cusí appeared it was a gift because I admire her and she has an absolute truth...

Are comedians valued enough?
The most important thing in life is humour. The best film in history is The Apartment, a romantic comedy where the main characters don't even kiss. Tregua(s) is a romantic comedy where when the protagonists say "I love you" the conflict begins.

Love is not always the best option then?
In my film it’s a complication, because we discuss what we each understand by love. We take what we need from what others offer us, and sometimes what we need is complex. And the problem with terminologies is that they force you to choose concepts such as marriage, couple, children, etc. and the world is full of greys and from there, from questioning, art evolves. The problem lies, in any relationship, in demanding someone to give you everything and in demanding, for example, that you should be happy because you’re married... but, maybe not. I’m interested in the need we have to define things, perhaps to convince ourselves that if we put a label on it we now know what it is and we’re afraid of not knowing what we’re feeling.

In the film, we see a truce in the life of the couple: an escape from reality, a fantasy...
We all need truces, here it is romantic, but it can also be a solitary journey, for example. And the best partner is the one who gives you that space to be yourself, and you need to know how to give it to the other person. There’s a line from my film that I like: "I don't believe in fidelity, but I do believe in jealousy and possession", because our biggest problem is not so much what we want, but that we resent what other people want and are unable to give it to them. We have to be more honest in saying to ourselves: we cannot be the centre of everything and we cannot solve anyone's life, because we don't even know what we want.

In some of your short films and in Tregua(s) we barely see two people in conversation.
I’m interested in relationships, but not necessarily sentimental ones. We complete ourselves in our relationships with others, defining ourselves by what our relationship with others is like. I’ve done a lot of theatre; I like the word and the actor who bring it to life.

Watching Tregua(s), it inevitably reminds you of films that take place in hotels, like Room in Rome [+see also:
film review
interview: Julio Medem
film profile
, or where people talk a lot, like the trilogy that began with Before Sunrise.
Yes, Matías Bize is also in the official section with El castigo, and I think his En la cama is a reference and opened up a world, as Medem's is a kind of remake. We have the language to try to express ourselves and we deal with words on a daily basis. That's why I focused the film on this, because I feel comfortable there and it was also a challenge to maintain the tension and fun for 90 minutes and with only two actors on screen.

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(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)

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