1703923957 Arantxa Echevarria film director Life is a tragicomedy and sometimes

Arantxa Echevarría, film director: “Life is a tragicomedy, and sometimes we forget the comedic part”

Arantxa Echevarría (Bilbao, 55 years old) always seems to be on the verge of laughing and escaping. In the Lavapiés district of Madrid, near his home, he talks about his Aita and his Amatxu, but says that he happened to be born in Bilbao. “He was a surveyor for the construction company that built the Columbus Towers. They lived in Malaga, but when she became pregnant again he said, “To Bilbao.” And then he went with the party gang.” He says that his father didn’t speak Spanish until he was 18 years old. “We grew up as Basques. But my mother is from Burgos. They met because my grandmother had a bar on Siete Calles in Bilbao and my mother worked as a waitress. They fell in love… When he died, she made cards that said “Widow of Echevarría.”

Quite the opposite to you, who became independent at 18 and a filmmaker at 50. Can you change your life at 50?

It's due… at eighty. You have to change, especially for fear of disappointing yourself. I wanted to direct since I was a kid, but I got caught up in the dynamic of working for the survival of others. I was very afraid of not doing well. I was terrified of ruining myself!

But self-produced Carmen and Lola.

I had done everything: assistant director, cameraman, make-up artist…

But she doesn't wear makeup!

I looked at a course and took it. I was an art director, an extra – which is nice because you see how the older ones shoot – … I did everything because I loved cinema. And when I became production manager, I said, “There is no money, but if we shoot this sequence like this…”. And they told me: now direct your film. I did it because of the greatest fear of all: the fear of not trying. When I started there were few references for female directors: Coixet, who I will always admire, or Gracia Querejeta.

Did I need the speakers to be female?

I needed to know that Spanish women were capable of making other types of cinema. Navarrese director Ana Díez's first film, Ander eta Yul, was about ETA, a very difficult topic at the time. [1989]. Pilar Miró, on the other hand, was a male reference: she stamped her feet with masculine tools.

The authority?

Just. I'm against it. Coixet or Iciar Bollain don't have to masculinize to direct. To me, masculinizing means “I force.” That's why I defend positive discrimination.

What has changed?

There are almost no cameramen, which is a position of power on a shoot, but, and this is terrible, there are a lot of photo editors. The reason goes back to Hollywood: it was edited in the basements and the silver nitrate in the film was full of gases. It was dangerous and could burn. The women did this work. Things change. But change is fragile. I wouldn't relax.

If you had made your first film earlier, would it have turned out worse?

It would have been different. I feel like I have had a rich but diverse background in life at every age. Experience provides closure, but as you get older, self-censorship also decreases.

What gave you the courage to persevere until you turned 50?

I knew I had to tell a story. I didn't know which one. I have one in mind every two months. China came to my mind 15 years ago.

In Chinese addresses the paternalism in dealing with immigrants, but leaves room for interpretation.

I couldn't do that with Carmen and Lola. I needed a good ending to the love story of two gypsy girls because I was tired of watching movies where they either got kicked out of the house or committed suicide. At many festivals I was asked to change the ending to get into the official part. But it remained that way: it was the ending that those who saw the film deserved. I thought to myself: If I don't make this film, I don't know if anyone will make it.

After Carmen and Lola filmed The perfect family, which is about how women change when they turn 50. But the script wasn't his.

No. It was an assignment.

Are there A and B films?

I have films that I write and films that come from a production company and I try to make them my own. I really want to reach a lot of people and believe that making comedy is a formative exercise.

Is it harder to work with well-known actors?

Much more with Belén Rueda and Coronado than with people without experience! But the most interesting thing is working with media. Requiring a capacity of 300 people for a wedding is a luxury. This film was watched by 50 million people on Netflix.

Film director Arantxa Echevarría at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid.The film director Arantxa Echevarría in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid. Gianfranco Tripodo

He is obsessed with reaching many people.

It's not enough for me to claim something. I want what I claim to resonate. I am empathetic. Ever since I was little, everything that happens to a person has seemed very interesting to me. I never want to lose this interest. One day I hear screaming from home. I don't know, you're on the subway and you notice a guy getting too close to a girl and you tell him: Come here.


A little bit. At school, she was the one who protected people from bullying.

And who protects you?

I think the education I received at home. My family, my friends. Culture. I think I take care of myself too.

The education you received from your film buff father?

My father introduced us to Eva. But I got my education from my older brother, a man who had a music show on the radio and played ice hockey. He took me to the cinema for the first time to see 2001: A Space Odyssey.

What an inauguration!

He asked me, “What did you think?” I had no opinion and said, “What about you?” “I liked it,” he said. “Well, me too,” I said. And he didn't understand anything. He started taking me to the Griffiths' double sessions. I saw Kurosawa films when I was 12 years old.

She could have been very repulsive as a director…

Very much. But I'm more interested in people than cinephilia.

His films are not autobiographical, but They deal with themes that define them: lesbianism, social struggle…

Everything I do is autobiographical, even though I mark it. I care about those who suffer because I don't take anything for granted. I have money for Netflix and rent, but I wonder how long I'll have it. That may be because I've done it all: waitress, fortune teller… Making a living is a school. I haven't asked for money since I was 18. I lived precariously. I stayed with friends for up to five months.

Do you keep these friends?

Yes. And I get to know new people. Sometimes I sit on a bench next to a woman and ask her, “How are we?”

Do you have time for that?

Less each time. But I'm interested in what happens to people.

It raises conflicts but tends to have a happy ending…

I'm not interested in harsh and sad realism. It's easy to tell a story from a dramatic perspective. But life has good things in the midst of drama. A friend recently told me that she had gotten involved with someone whose teeth had fallen out. Life is a tragicomedy. And sometimes we forget the comedy part.

Is there more self-oppression than social oppression?

Oppression is social. Self-censorship comes from fear. It is painful not to be able to freely express what you think for fear of being judged. The other day a girl on the street said to a boy: “I’m not a feminist, but about Rubiales…”. I said to her: “Forgive my objection: yes, you are a feminist. “They defend equality.”

Do they never hit him?

My partner always tells me he will give it to me. But I see that social media creates group dynamics. And packs scare me because they can change the life of a society. That's why I claim to be the black sheep in every pack. Those who swim against the tide are the ones who are truly inclined to change the world.

Did you feel that way too?

Always. She was the left-wing Baskin in a posh right-wing school. In class, I was the one who didn't experience a sexual awakening until I realized I liked girls. When I was able to tell my best friend, I was 18 years old. I wanted to be like everyone else and it was obvious that I wasn't. It's not easy to know who you are. I fell in love with one of the class. I got his name tattooed! And when they all started losing their virginity, I thought… I just don't have any sexual interest in the boy I like. That's when I started thinking about things. Being different is annoying, but when you accept it, doors open.

Were there problems at home?

No. My mother says I'm the luckiest of all: “The only one who gave me grandchildren!” And you… all separated, useless…”

“Should you only talk about gypsies if you are a gypsy?  About abuse only if you were abused?  No.  “You can talk about anything with respect and precision,” says Arantxa Echevarría. “Should you only talk about gypsies if you are a gypsy? About abuse only if you were abused? No. “You can talk about anything with respect and precision,” says Arantxa Echevarría. Gianfranco Tripodo

He has been with his partner for 22 years.

She is the mother of our children Max and Álex. And she is a cameraman.

Children always want to be like others. How were they raised?

Thanks to these wonderful laws, those who did not agree to accept another life were forced to do so. They might think, “Oh, those two!” But they can’t tell. Of course I feel the same way about money. I know that everything is very fragile: a change of government, four decrees and we return to the basement. I always think about Iran: one of the most westernized countries in the East and see how they are doing now. You have to be careful…

Carmen and Lola It was dropped from the Pamplona festival program and eggs were thrown at the screen at the Islazul cinema in Madrid.

It's the wrong concept of cultural appropriation: Should you only talk about gypsies if you're a gypsy? About abuse only if you were abused? No. You can talk about anything with respect and consistency.

Why did you want your protagonists to be gypsies?

I wanted to talk about the first love of two women. Mine was so naive that he kept the discarded cigarette butts in a small box. Sex was far away. First I had to realize that it was a homosexual first love. The dike thing was tough. I was insulted and spat on while holding hands with a couple. Now they don't dare anymore, that's why I insist on the laws. The fact is that I hadn't seen this first lesbian love on film. I read the news of the first marriage of two gypsy girls. In this community, the wedding lasts four days. And they got married alone in the courthouse. I thought about the pain they must have felt.

Rosy Rodríguez, one of the actresses, thanked her husband for letting her make the film.

This is true. There are social changes that do not exist in some communities in Spain. I think making films like this makes people think about how far parental responsibility can go in determining their lives. In the film I asked the 400 gypsy extras not to take part if they didn't agree with the topic. Half of it is gone.

Nobody in the film was an actor.

Except Carolina Yuste, who did theater.

In Chinese He also didn't work with professional actresses.

Yehu, the eldest, had dreamed of becoming one. But he worked in a bazaar.

How do you find them?

Seek. I go into the neighborhoods. We did this with Carmen and Lola in a cultural center and hung posters on the street. On the first day, not even Tato showed up. The second, an older gypsy: “You pay.” I was with my six-month-old son and left him with him because he made me pee. There we started talking about the problem of rent… in the end he told me: “You're not bad for being a paya.” I told her: “You're not a gypsy either.” Then he started to bring people. I also went to the market and told them, “You’re so pretty, I’m going to make a film here.”

“You're beautiful”. Do you suffer from pheophobia?

Oh really? Rosy has a big nose; Lucía, her teeth are tight… They're not that pretty. What they are is attractive.

That's what he worked for Pour a year.

I spent my savings.

He had made money making documentaries like him Question of balls in which he denounced the precarious situation of first division football players in 2007.

I don't know anything about football. I scream “punishment!” as soon as I see someone fall. But they commissioned it for me and I saw the story. The Jaén players traveled to Girona, played and returned, so they did not have to pay for hotel accommodation. I went on the bus with them and found out that Rosita is a pianist; Vero, administrative assistant… Others were registered as cleaners or masseuses. And if they were injured… on the street. In the Federation I was told: “Women are already doctors. Do you want to make a living from football too?” Then I said: “My balls. “I’m going to make sure they make a living from damn football.”

Arantxa Echevarría reportFilm director Arantxa Echevarría.Gianfranco Tripodo

We believe we have made great progress.

I think they wanted to win the World Cup to claim their rights. And… Rubiales made it easy for him. They're so used to not thinking… Rubiales makes me angry. But I think: thank God you saw it.

Is there a machismo that has not been overcome?

We always say the same thing because the machismo is still there. We have it very clearly. They are the ones who have to give us the cable. The work is with men. They also need to abolish their education. When I was little they told me, “Make your brother’s bed.” There have been changes. But I'm still scared when I come home at night. I don't want to feel that. And I know some great people who also want to change things.

“What I want to try has nothing to do with you.” says Belén Rueda.

We must learn to love ourselves. I wasn't the girl that everyone falls in love with. I was little… I had to learn to find what was cool about me: I was treated like someone wonderful at home. They told me I was special. That's why I never tire of telling my children.

What if this isn't the case?

They will think they are, and in the end they will be. The other person's gaze creates identity. But it is something that is constantly under construction. You change throughout your life.

Why are we so afraid of change?

We like solid. Same spot in bed! We are animals with boring habits.

Do you change sides of the bed?

Not because of the light. Because it bothers them.

Start rolling Infiltrated.

A 22-year-old girl, national police, infiltrated ETA until she was 30 years old. She even lived with two ETA members. She alone defeated the Donosti commando. Nobody knows what it's called. A brave one.

Where do you find joy in this story?

I got it. It was go-go in a nightclub. There is always joy.

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