FICCI: Interview with Rubén Mendoza

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Two days after his speeches and screening at the opening, we met Rubén Mendoza to talk about his film

FICCI: Interview with Rubén Mendoza

At the inauguration of the FICCI, the political facet took center stage. First, since the speeches began before the projection of Ruben Mendoza's Niña errante.

Leer en español: FICCI: Entrevista a Rubén Mendoza

The second event was led by the vice president of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, who after receiving applause, also received boos and signs of disapproval. Her speech spoke about how cinema is part of a cultural industry that, as part of the so-called orange economy promoted by the government, has become economically and politically profitable for the growth of a nation. She began first by greeting all the investors, politicians, her president -who was no there, it is worth clarifying it-, and only until the last one referred to the filmmakers and spectators.

Very different from the speech of Rubén Mendoza, after the invitation of Felipe Aljure to continue on stage, as he invested the hierarchy of greetings to thank his team, the attendees, the other filmmakers and finally "animals of the air, the sea, land, and subsoil, birds, lizards, important people, and politicians ". He did not stay there. Also, in response to the approach of Ramirez's speech, Mendoza defended that "yes, I wanted to tell you, Mrs. Ramirez, that it does not matter if the cinema is not a business or an industry. The cinema has to exist as a form of expression and thought of society."

He greeted the women, leading figures in his films, celebrated artists who formed his idea for the film and criticized the violence and institutional unrest in Colombia. Finally, he finished his speech amid applause and with the quick match of the politicians who were in the front row.

After the opening show, we are all ready for the movie. Two days later we met with Mendoza to talk about it. Here in LatinAmerican Post the interview.

LatinAmerican Post: How was the opening film of the FICCI?

Rubén Mendoza: Well, the FICCI is a capital of love for cinema and culture, and we have to take care of it and defend it and love it with all the gestures. This time there is also someone behind who has played it many times, even over their work, they have played their life for the cinema. It is a tremendous team that with all the right and all the authority is doing a FICCI that looks very vibrant and with people attending the halls, with great force.

LP: Before presenting here Niña Errante, which other festivals did you go through?

RM: I had been in San Sebastian, in a movie theater under construction, and just after finishing we wanted to enter the last Class A of the year that was Tallinn, the Black Night of Tallinn, in Estonia. With excellent reception, we won the best film award, the Golden Globe, and won the best music. It was presented in Havana, and it had a collateral prize too, it is being presented at this moment in the Miami festival, which has not ended, it is here in Cartagena, and it goes this month also for Malaga, Toulouse, and New York. So far, that goes.

Read also: FICCI 59: winds of change in this new edition of the festival

LP: Speaking of Niña errante, I would like to talk about shooting issues, I would like you to talk about technical difficulties, for example, it is a kind of Road Movie in which locations are moving, for art direction, to get all things …

RM: […] For example, the car: I did not want to film it with devices where everything was entirely stable and perfect, I did not want to shoot it from the air, nor did I want to film it if the equipment was noticed, I did not want to use small beds. The car of the film was adapted with runners that could be removed to the sides and put so that one could do as a human scale camera and with human movement around. In addition to that the roof was made a grill, let's say the roof could be removed, that's why the car we called "the express pot" […] Actually I think that the great technical key with which we made this film was like a human shield, like a human bubble, that surrounded and that took care of a shoot […].

I think we have to protect that cell, protect the four girls, protect when we have to film very hard content, respect and protect the conditions that each one put, because they said "we're going to do this, yes, but it can only be this way," and there was the first circle of protection and a second and when someone from those other circles was needed there was a protocol so that we could feel peaceful exploring, without ever feeling exposed, mistreated …

LP: What was it like to work on the theme of a 'femininity' and the relationship with the actresses and the whole process?

RM: It was wonderful, I approached as an apprentice and they accepted me, not only with the actresses, but with all the women consulted while writing the script, the interviews I did, when I looked for similar situations to each one to have an inspiration with much more weight and more accurate. Then listening, let's say, choosing above all to attend as a method. I have been asked if I wanted to give voice and I think that one can not assume such things so vainly and so narcissistically, or give that power that one is the one who provides the woman with the voice, I think that it is only to perpetuate the patriarchal model, and assigning yourself a thing that you do not own. But I was willing to listen to that voice they have and that naturally has many things to say.

LP: So, as you say, you were approaching that theme of a world of women, a feminine world, a fraternity between them, did you have a specific "method" or did many things come to you?

RM: Yes, I was paying attention to instinct. I think it was challenging to program, that it could come out genuine if it did not come from there inside. So, first I wanted to know those people who had written, but who still had no corporeity, and who came from the mixed genetics of many friends, or women known or heroines. So in the sketch is when I said "she's going to have this, and this and this," even when they took shape, that changes everything you've thought, and the gestures are no longer suspicious and become like traits and certainties. And so they went nurturing. 

But let's say that for me the key premise, rather than actually saying "this is being a woman" or I think that this is (because that is impossible to claim in a movie, and one is a man), was a meeting of women without a witness, how would they be if they were alone, if the camera were a piece of furniture and not the camera? How they talk alone, how they are alone, how this sisterhood begins to emerge with the rigor and wonder of the road and the implications of attention that travel has. Everyone looking to one side, unable to detach, share the inclination of a trip, how a bond arises, crossed by that real complicity.


LatinAmerican Post | Juan Gabriel Bocanegra

Translated from "FICCI: Entrevista a Rubén Mendoza"

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