Sebastian Lelio returns to the director’s chair for his latest movie Gloria: a movie that sees him team up with actress Paulina Garcia.
We caught up with the filmmaker to chat about the film, casting Paulina Garcia and what lies ahead for him.
- Gloria is the latest film, so can you tell me a little bit about the movie?
Gloria is a film about a fifty eight-year-old woman who is quite alone in life: however, she is quite optimistic. Nobody has much time for here, and so she regularly goes to these single adult's parties where she is looking for someone.
By the end of the film, she doesn’t necessarily find love, but she does find something else. In many ways, it is a coming of age film that is centred on a fifty eight-year-old woman.
- We have seen quite many films - independent and Hollywood mainstream - focus on middle-aged relationships - movies such as Love Is All You Need and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. What do you think it is that has sparked this new interest?
It is interesting. You realise who alert cinema is to the cycles. I guess it has to do with the fact that life is longer and now there is a completely new chapter. We live longer, and getting close to sixty doesn’t mean that you have to retire from life - not at all.
I guess, cinema is sensing that and analysing that. In addition, I think that there is a need for less childish representation of older people.
There has been too much silliness and cliché when looking at older people: I think that hides a fear of death that we have as a society. We are obsessed with youth and denying death.
- You have teamed up with Gonzalo Maza to pen the screenplay, so where did the idea for the story come from?
We were wondering what to write about, and I said ‘I would like to make a film about our mother’s generation’. Then we were very excited by the idea; it does not sound super appealing, but it has always been appealing to me.
The story is centred in a character that perhaps does not deserve a film: however, there was always this energy around the character of Gloria.
When we had the first glimpse of the script and the idea, I immediately thought of the actress Paulina Garcia. So I called her, and I asked her if we could write the film for her: she was always another reason to make the film.
- I was going to ask you about Paulina. What were you looking for when you were looking to cast the central role of Gloria?
She is a mature actress, and she is at her peak. She has never been cast for a main role in a movie: I always thought she was great, and I have always wondered why no one calls her.
There are some people, when you see them, you can sense their complexities and their strength: she had that but in a very tender way.
- How did you find working with her? And how collaborative a process was it between the two of you?
It took two years from the first time I called her to when we started shooting - I made another film in between. When she came, the script was waiting for her. I don’t believe in closed scripts; I think that they should be open.
She brought many things from herself to the character - since I don’t do written dialogue, it is impossible that the person doesn’t pop up.
In a way, I am more interested in the human being that is there instead of the character: the character is like an accident that happens after consistent observation of someone making a film.
- How are you finding the response to the film so far?
I have been surprised. It has been unexpected and so unanimous, in a way. It is going to be seen by so many people in so many places, and that is more than I ever thought. It is just fantastic.
- How are you finding you London Film festival experience?
I am excited to be here as it is not easy for Spanish-speaking films to get into the London Film Festival: also, to get distribution in the UK is very complicated. It is very exciting, and it is a great opportunity to show the film off at an event like the London Film Festival, as it is one of the most important film festivals of the year.
- Finally, what is next for you?
Well, I still have to take Gloria out of my system, but I am working on a few scripts. However, I will shoot a masculine response to Gloria first.
Gloria is released 1st November.
Tagged in BFI London Film Festival