Noticias Festival
Director’s interview : Elena López Riera

Her first short-movie, Pueblo, arrived until Cannes Festival. With her second, Las vísceras, she rubs with Locarno. A telluric piece, deeply linked with her natal village Orihuela, where poets win on conventional narration.

Cannes, Locarno, your short-movies has been selected in the best international film festivals. What do you feel and what are the repercussions after those prestigious recognition? 

Wow ! What can I say ? I am living it very well (Laugh) . To be honest, I take it with serenity. Those festivals’ selection depend on various reasons that we can’t have a hand on and I think it is also about to be at the right place at the right moment. Those selections surprised me a lot in the past too whereas I work in this industry, and programming, for a while now. Also, I am aware it is ephemeral.

To whom belong those guts about you make reference in the movie title (Las vísceras means The guts) and during your last short-movie’s narration  ? 

Mmm, it is quite intimate … Guts are here and they are always presents. They could be mine – and probably they are – but they also could belong to another person who is not here anymore.

And the woman in the center…

Well, I don’t know if I did it on purpose but yes, voice is mine. The story is at the first person and the guide is a woman. So yes, the woman is in the center.

As in your job as in Pueblo, you use experiences and known elements to build your story. Until which point it is biographical ? 

Everything is biographical because everything had been done from my soul more than with my head. I think it would be harder to make something which is not a part of me, I don’t have that much imagination … What I don’t know is if everything in those two works are true. I think when you progress you meet new form of expression, new ways to confront to the world. Mine is to start from things I lived, which shook my guts, and from there everything is possible.

Facing to those more conventional propositions which imitate commercial cinema, it is interesting to see how you choose rejected daily spaces of our culture as if they didn’t have any aesthetic values. Could you say there is art around us if we can have the right look ? 

Well, it is hard to say what is art and what is not … And even harder to define what could be an artistic support or not. I won’t risk to do it … From my own personal point of view, the important is not what we are looking but but how. I am interested in – as I said – what I live, what I lived and especially in Orihuela, where I was born and grow. I am not saying what this the only way to do it, but this the only way I can work and I really believe the interest is in this proximity.

There is an interest in your work for the rituals and customs. In Pueblo, a procession marks the character’s environment. In Las vísceras, this element is repeated and extended by the rabbit’s death, killed for food. This is it ?  
Yes of course. Either in Pueblo or in Las vísceras, ritual is a daily life element as it was something inherent of the day. I always been fascinated by rituals in due to they put something exceptional in the daily life whereas they are the same every year, we know what to expect from them but every time they are regarding as exceptional. From centuries, the same movements the same mechanism had been doing ,but we still taking them as extraordinary. 
The idea of Return, to yourself, to the origin, is another common element. It was Pueblo‘s axis and it also appears in Las vísceras. What importance does it have for you ?
Returning to myself is the most important thing. And leaving too. I am living in this perpetual movement, and whereas I thought it was punctual, I fit to this way of life, as a drug which feeds me and that I need to continue.   

After seeing Las vísceras, we would like you to give us some clues about pictures association process you use, or inspire yourself to create your stories. 

As I said, it is really hard to provide clues and trying to explain your own pieces. In Las vísceras in particular, I didn’t have any plans in particular. I arrived with  plenty of ideas after an afternoon passed with Fina, a very longtime friend of my family who is also playing in this movie. Some plans from Easter hasn’t been used and other came later, orange trees combustion for example. My editor, came to me, running or close to : ” we are doing it without any views” he told me. After few days we were like : “What if we continue to do it like this ?”. Nobody wasn’t expected something from this short-movie so we went on and worst, we tried new forms…

Documentary moment has been used and so they stopped to have a purely descriptive value to evolve into something higher. How have you thought about this ?  

We didn’t have any ideas of what we were doing and something in rituals was fascinating me since my childhood. For many children who grew there, killing the rabbit meant the first contact with death. The most interesting part of this process was to start from a basic idea and to look it as exceptional, and from there exploring new forms of cine.

In Las vísceras you do an important choice, I don’t know if it is temporary or permanent, to do without any characters. Why this decision ? 

As I said, it wasn’t a formal decision or very thinking, it was just materials and we tried to give them a shape. Our idea was more about to start from raw materials we shot without knowing what we would like to do with and then, during the edition, “listen” to them. The truth I don’t consider what I am doing as just a way to go somewhere else, or something which going to change something. I just do things. Maybe Las vísceras is the last project I do, but idea to do it because you want to do it, and not thinking them as a way to go somewhere else. 

I think to know you have a project on the way. Could you tell us what are your plans ? 

Eeh, it is bad for me to speak about my next projects in general. My first project is to live and to keep my dignity, but it is not easy with cinematographic institutions of this country.