Luis Martinez

Updated Wednesday, February 21, 2024-21:29

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Any physical reaction that denotes loss of control is condemned.

And cry, more.

Laughter distances, de-dramatizes and, therefore, helps right judgment.

Tears, on the other hand, point to the weak, the vulnerable, the one who is unable to remain firm in the face of adversity.

And yet, it is the latter that, in their evident nakedness, facilitate life in common, that push towards empathy, understanding and recognition of the other.

This is how one could summarize the style book of director

Andrew Haigh

(Harrogate, 1973) in general and his latest film,


, in particular.

The director of intense and raw works such as


(2011) and

45 Años

(2015) now returns with one of the sensations of the year that begins: the story of reconciliation between children and parents, living and dead, realities and fantasies.

The story of a man (

Andrew Scott

) who discovers in another man (

Paul Mescal

) the distant possibility of affection is essentially a sad story, but of a disconsolate sadness that only admits tears as a standard of measurement and even understanding.

Without a doubt, the most intense demonstration that, pay attention, crying hurts, but it heals.

And be careful, this is a masterpiece.

Several chronicles highlight the fact that people will cry at his film.

Do you take it as a compliment? I imagine that is one of the functions of cinema: to excite.

I take it as a responsibility to make people react that way and accept to cry on the shoulder of the person next to them.

There is something very special about crying silently with other people in a dark room.

More cinema

Sofia Coppola.

"I don't believe in cancellation, artists have conflicts and fight against themselves"

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"I don't believe in cancellation, artists have conflicts and fight against themselves"


Adam Pearson, the different actor who makes the Berlinale different

  • Editor: LUIS MARTÍNEZ Berlin

Adam Pearson, the different actor who makes the Berlinale different

'Unknowns' is an adaptation of the novel by Taichi Yamada, but, on the other hand, he has stated on several occasions that it is a deeply personal story.

How are the two extremes reconciled? I would say that the central plot of the novel is quite universal and it is easy to recognize oneself in it.

It is the story of a man who returns to his parents' house when they are no longer there and that trip helps him get to know himself better.

The novel is about a heterosexual relationship and takes place in Japan.

On the other hand, the book is more of a traditional ghost story.

Many times what you need to construct a film is simply a starting point.

And that is what Taichi Yamada's story offered me.

I had been thinking about making a film about our relationship with family from a queer context for some time.

And I couldn't find the right story.

Until I get here. When I was referring to a personal story, I was thinking that it was filmed in his own childhood home... It was very strange.

He hadn't returned for 40 years.

We left that area a long time ago.

Now, I returned and asked permission from the neighbors who currently occupy the house.

Then we did a very meticulous job of reconstructing it exactly as I remembered everything.

It was a ghostly experience.

Very rare.

But, somehow, I felt like I had to go through that to give the film reality and truth.

It was even very useful for the actors, because they reflected and saw themselves in my involvement.

Suddenly, at one point during filming, the entire team, including the cast, found ourselves talking to each other about our childhood.

The ghosts were there because childhood is basically the territory of ghosts.

Childhood itself is nothing more than a ghost that haunts us all our lives. Time is a recurring issue in his cinema.

And always from the side of suffering.

In this case, the 'queer' experience determines that the memory of the past is associated with the pain suffered, with the accumulated incomprehension...I can say that I am obsessed with the nature of time.

Queer people live, we live, time with another type of scale.

The transition periods that we all experience, in the case of homosexuals, are usually associated with trauma, a difficult moment of misunderstanding and recriminations.

And that is always a struggle.

It is not the same to live the past as a progression adorned by the recognition of family, of colleagues, of everything that surrounds you, than to do so with the memory of affronts, of not knowing who to ask, of believing that what What happens to you could be bad.

On the other hand, linear time is a fallacy.

Nobody lives time as a forward progression.

Everything we experience returns us to the past again and again: a song, a smell... The present is nothing more than the past.

Neither psychologically nor emotionally the linear idea of ​​time makes sense.

Understanding that, in part,

It is the main task of art or of my way of seeing cinema.

A two-day relationship can determine an entire life and remain frozen in time.

Much more than, perhaps, a relationship of years.

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, in Unknowns.SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Pain makes life endless, stretches life.

The truth is that one year of depression is equivalent to a century

Would you say then that suffering slows down time? Yes, that's right.

Pain makes life endless, pain stretches life.

The truth is that one year of depression is equivalent to a century.

Periods of mourning interrupt life. Don't you find it a limitation that we talk about specifically 'queer' cinema?

Nobody talks about straight cinema... Well, a little yes, really. If you dedicate yourself to making vocationally personal cinema, as is my case, it is inevitable that certain experiences end up coinciding with other colleagues who have gone through something similar.

There must necessarily be similarities.

Pain, as I said, unites a lot.

But this definition of cinema is not something I spend a lot of time on.

I'm just trying to be honest. At one point in 'Unknowns', the characters talk to each other about using the word gay or 'queer.'

It's almost a generational discussion.

What importance do you give to the correct use of one word or another? There have always been discussions in the community about which word to use.

But I don't think it's relevant.

In the film, that conversation figures to show that things change, they progress.

It is not good to create debates where there are none. Nobody talks on the phone in 'Unknowns'.

There are no mobiles. In reality, you realize that sometimes by moving a small piece you achieve an incredible result.

I was looking for a timeless aspect, which is why we were talking about refuting the most obvious idea of ​​time.

And after thinking about it a lot, it was enough to banish the cell phones.

Today's world is incomprehensible without them.

Paul Mescal, in Unknowns.SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

If we scratch the surface, we are all scared children trapped in adult bodies

His characters are eminently vulnerable, fragile.

I wonder if there isn't almost a political statement against the constant extravagance in which we live of effort, of winning, of the dictatorship of invulnerable heroes. If we scratch the surface, we are all scared children trapped in adult bodies.

And here it doesn't matter if you are a man, a woman, gay or straight.

Honestly, I think we would all get along better if instead of talking about our triumphs and achievements we talked about our fears, our insecurities... Our weaknesses unite us, strengths separate us.

I imagine that is why the film is so emotional. Recently a Spanish politician lamented on television that it is very sad for today's comedians that they can no longer make gay jokes... Of course they can be made gay jokes

What is relevant is not the what but the how.

If it's funny, I'll be the first to laugh.

The problem is if you want to offend.

I imagine it all depends on the intention.

There are many pretend jokes that all they want is to point the finger to feel better or superior.

That's obviously not a joke, it's not funny.