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What you Should Watch Before "Spencer", the New Film by Pablo Larraín

A mature Pablo Larraín reimagines Lady Di in "Spencer" following his tendency to create films with women's stories.

Still from the film 'Spencer' by Pablo Larraín.

We present you two other Larraín films where women's stories are the main theme and that you must see before Spencer. Photo: YT-Neon

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: Lo que debes ver antes de "Spencer", el nuevo filme de Pablo Larraín

In the filmography of the award-winning Chilean director Pablo Larraín, his films in which women occupy a central role stand out, the same tendency he showed in his new film: Spencer. In it, the filmmaker portrays a moment in the life of Lady Di, one of the most famous and controversial women, not only in the United Kingdom, but in the world.

The Venice Film Festival was the setting where the film was presented, a product full of challenges as it is a different approach to the life of Diana of Wales that adds to the numerous representations that exist in film and television. Here we present you two other Larraín films where women's stories are the main theme and that you must see before Spencer.

Spencer, reimagining Lady Di

Diana of Wales, Lady Di or Diana Spencer was a charismatic woman who managed to transcend the cold protocol and the traditional secrecy of royalty, especially in the United Kingdom. The sensation her life caused and her relationship with the British monarchy have been the subject of debate and raw material for books, television series and films. This makes Pablo Larraín's work a challenge: how to approach a woman about whom, apparently, everything is known, especially at a delicate moment, in which the relationship of the royal family with Meghan Markle, wife of Prince Harry, has recalled the stresses of the Diana era.

Instead of joining this dynamic of sensationalism and in search of "the truth", Larraín chooses to enter Diana's mind to imagine what was going through her mind during the 1990 Christmas parties at Sandringham's house. What happens inside is a mystery for most, that is the starting point, in Spencer we can see an imaginative and also anxious Diana, a kind of soliloquy that fictionalizes the princess's thought on the eve of her break with her husband Carlos and with the British royal family. Kristen Stewart gives life to Diana Spencer with the job of showing a surreal woman at the gates of decisions that to this day continue to cause a sensation. In addition to the direction of Larraín, the script features the pen of Steven Knight, creator of Peaky Blinders.

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Jackie, dealing with the weight of being a Kennedy

In a similar vein, focused on a historical woman, Jackie (2016) is a film that brings to the screen the days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy but focusing on Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of the former US president. Again, instead of speculating on conspiracies or the political climate of the time, Larraín follows the new life of Jackie as widow at a moment in which she loses her husband from one moment to the next and at the same time she is no longer the first lady of one of the two superpowers of the time. In a prolific year for Larraín, he also created "Neruda". The director worked to show Mrs. Kennedy in detail and gracefully, thanks to the performance of Natalie Portman. In a tendency to create series and biographical films about men, finding works like this allows one to wish, as a spectator, that the trend is the other way around.

Ema, idyllic moments

Larraín has proven to be a talented director who, over time, has earned his place, not only in the industry, but as a relevant author for his visual language and discourse in his works. Ema (2019) is one of his most interesting works, the pair of the Mexican Gael García Bernal with the Chilean Mariana di Girolamo make the latter's work stand out notably. Ema is a dreamlike character, who discovers herself from a negative experience of frustrated parenthood, from that moment on everything seems like a journey of color, of experiences and of a character with great chiaroscuro showing a mature Larraín in the direction. With Ema, the Chilean seeks to portray the just exploration of women towards a longed for freedom, the protagonist finds in dance, in experiences beyond marriage and common life a way of self-realization, a catharsis that she also seems to portray in Spencer.