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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Spain

Blanca Portillo to play Maixabel for Icíar Bollaín

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- Luis Tosar also stars in this film currently being shot in Northern Spain, which reconstructs the true story of the widow of a politician assassinated by terrorist group ETA

Blanca Portillo to play Maixabel for Icíar Bollaín
Blanca Portillo and Icíar Bollaín during the shoot for Maixabel

While this is the first time that Blanca Portillo (Volver [+see also:
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interview: Agustín Almodóvar
interview: Carmen Maura
interview: Pedro Almodóvar
interview: Pénélope Cruz
film profile
]
) has put herself in the capable hands of Icíar Bollaín, the same cannot be said of Luis Tosar, who previously worked with the Madrilenian filmmaker on Even the Rain [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Icíar Bollaín
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]
, Take My Eyes [+see also:
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and Flowers from Another World. Both actors now star in Maixabel, the new film by the director of Rosa’s Wedding [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, a comedy for which she is in the running for a Goya Award in a few weeks’ time. Filming for this new feature kicked off on 8 February in Guipúzcoa and Álava, and the cast is rounded off by thesps María Cerezuela and Urko Olazabal.

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With an original score composed by Alberto Iglesias (Julieta [+see also:
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Q&A: Pedro Almodóvar
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]
), cinematography by Javier Agirre (Giant [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño
film profile
]
) and editing courtesy of Nacho Ruiz Capillas (The Others), the movie tells of how Maixabel Lasa lost her husband, Juan María Jáuregui, when he was assassinated by ETA in the year 2000. Eleven years later, she receives an unusual request: one of the perpetrators has asked to talk to her in the Nanclares de la Oca prison (Álava), where he is serving his sentence after having severed his ties with the terrorist group. Despite her doubts and the immense pain it is bound to cause her, the woman agrees to meet face to face with the person who murdered the man who had been her partner since she was 16.

"Maixabel Lasa has become an exemplary role model on the road towards coexistence that the Basque Country is undertaking today. Her work as head of the Basque government’s Office for the Victims of Terrorism is well known, but her personal involvement in the 2011 restorative meetings not so much,” Bollaín stated in her introduction to the shoot. "There is something deeply human in what she does: standing up to her husband’s murderers to make sure they are fully aware of the pain they caused, to get responses to the questions that only they know the answers to, to hear them say they are sorry for the pain they have caused and determine whether they are sincere in their words.

“These are three lives that collide one day, united by horror – three paths that cross one another,” continues the Edinburgh-based Spanish director. “They will each go on a different journey, only to arrive at the same destination: hope and redress, in a face-to-face encounter during which they will cycle through anger, distress, shame and fear, but also elation, gratitude and the hope that they can sow the seed of something remotely positive amidst all the horror. For all these reasons, I would like to tell this story with feeling, honesty and, above all, respect for the protagonists.”

Maixabel is a production by Kowalski Films and FeelGood. It boasts the involvement of RTVE, EiTB and Movistar+, it has secured backing from the ICAA, the Basque government and the Gipuzkoa regional government, and it is being made in collaboration with San Sebastián – Gipuzkoa Film Commission. The movie will be distributed by Buena Vista International, and Film Factory Entertainment will take care of its international sales.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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