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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Spain

Greta Fernández starring in Pessoas, el camino más corto

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- The actress is toplining this road movie together with Arturo Dueñas, who is also directing; the film was shot in Spain and Cuba, and is in the middle of post-production

Greta Fernández starring in Pessoas, el camino más corto
Arturo Dueñas and Greta Fernández in Pessoas, el camino más corto

Actress Greta Fernández is on a hot streak in Spain: after performing next to her father – Eduard Fernández – in A Thief’s Daughter [+see also:
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, she scooped the Best Actress Award for said movie at the most recent San Sebastián Film Festival and has not ceased to garner praise since then. In addition, she has emerged as one of the bookies’ favourites for the awards season that kicks off this Saturday 11 January with the presentation of the Forqué Awards in Madrid, where, naturally, she is a hopeful for the gong in the Best Actress category. But meanwhile, the Catalan thesp has had time to partake – albeit briefly – in the series Foodie Love by her friend Isabel Coixet and to shoot Pessoas, el camino más corto (lit. “Pessoas, the Shortest Path”), a road movie directed by Arturo Dueñas (2011’s Aficionados), who is also toplining the cast. The film unfolds in Valladolid (Spain) and Cuba, where the main characters head off to in search of a stranger.

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“On 1 May 2007, in Santiago de Cuba, I took a photograph of a woman who was taking part in the commemorative parade. Since then, her face has stayed with me, day after day, because there’s an enormous copy of it hanging on a wall in the living room in my house. I then asked myself what gave me the right to use that photo without her permission, and I decided to go off to look for her, without possessing a shred of information about her,” explains Dueñas. This is why Pessoas, el camino más corto bears the title of the exhibition that was staged in Valladolid’s defunct Impacto hall, about anonymous people from different countries, with an additional nod to the original Portuguese word and the surname of Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa. It is also a reference to Hermann Keyserling’s maxim: “The shortest path to oneself leads around the world.”

Besides raising the question of privacy and image rights, Pessoas… reflects the situation of the island of Cuba a few months after the death of Fidel Castro. Drawing its inspiration – according to the helmer – from films such as Journey to Italy (1954) by Roberto Rossellini and And Life Goes On (1992) by Abbas Kiarostami, the movie blends reality with fiction in such a way that the characters interact with the environment where the shoot took place and the situations that arose there, creating scenes that verge on documentary. The movie was shot with nothing more than the skeleton of a script, with no written dialogue, thus leaving the actors to improvise how the situations were resolved. New sequences not accounted for in the script were also filmed this way, arising spontaneously during the shoot, and this is something that the team had had in mind since the initial ideas for the movie. The denouement was also unplanned.

Pessoas, el camino más corto is an independent production being staged by Esgueva Films, and it has secured support from the Regional Government of Castile and León. Negotiations are ongoing to determine its distributor and sales agent, and to get musician Pedro Guerra on board to collaborate on the film’s soundtrack. Notable crew members are DoP Almudena Sánchez (Sacromonte, los sabios de la tribu), production manager María José Díez (Madre [+see also:
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interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
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) and assistant director Csilla Szigeti (Holy Camp! [+see also:
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).

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(Translated from Spanish)

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