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Isabel Coixet • Director

"I like cinema as an adventure and as a form of apprenticeship"


- The woman behind The Secret Life of Words (four Goya awards in 2006), Elegy and Map of the Sounds of Tokyo is presenting Yesterday Never Ends, her most bitter, critical and audacious film yet in Berlin.

Isabel Coixet • Director

Cineuropa: Was it nice to launch yourself into Yesterday Never Ends [+see also:
film review
interview: Isabel Coixet
interview: Isabel Coixet
interview: Javier Camara
film profile
, a smaller and more intimate project after Map of the Sounds of Tokyo [+see also:
film profile

Isabel Coixet: The truth is, it was. I am a person who adapts easily: I can make films with a mega team or with a smaller one, where everyone knows each other, because we have all already worked together and we have already talked many things over, so we know how each of us functions. I also wanted to affect the interpretive work of two actors (Candela Peña and Javier Cámara): that is what I really like. I just finished the filming for another film, a thriller called Panda eyes, which was the complete opposite and I am about to start another one set in the North Pole, which has nothing to do with the rest either. I am interested in cinema as an adventure and as a form of apprenticeship.

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Is that why you produced the film yourself: to be completely free?
Yes, I financed the shooting of the film through my production company Miss Wasabi. Coproduction company, A Contracorriente Films is taking care of an important part which directors often forget about: distribution, management and promotion. I get lost in this world of financing, banks and subsidies. For the kind of film it is and for what it talks about, it would have been contradictory to have a mega-production and subsidies. We didn’t ask for them.

Did you rehearse a lot one with both actors?
Yes, and it became a real psychodrama, in which each was defending their character in their own way and from their own point of view. We talked about key moments from the film in which fundamental and basic things are being said: what they think of life, pain, control over suffering. Shooting was a marathon that lasted three weeks.

Do you think that this is your most culturally critical, experimental film?
I didn’t want to stop thinking about what we were living through. Candela says: “We are in Gotham City and every day we wake up with worse news, hoping someone – like Batman – will save us.” What is going on is so awful that only an out-of-this-world force could save us: a hurricane of moral rebooting which would get us out of this mess. I don’t have any solutions, all I can offer is my perplexity, shared by many others. We are all zombies waiting to see who the next one will be.

Candela says another tremendous sentence: "I don’t know what is normal anymore."
If they had told us ten years ago what would be going on today, we would have thought it would be impossible. Anything can happen. I don’t know what is normal either.

Something else Candela points her finger at in this crisis is the loss of dreams and illusions.
Yes, we are immersed in thick fog and we don’t realize that if we got up on our tiptoes, we would be able to see the horizon again. Ok, we have less money and nothing is going well. But let’s see how we can turn our heads and go somewhere else. We are still swimming in darkness and fog though, and I am the first to admit to it.

The film also poses one of the biggest dilemmas to emerge from the crisis: to stay in Spain or to leave.
It is a choice. Some people can leave, they are prepared to do it and it doesn’t cost them a thing, others less so. I know one person who was at school with me and works in a publishing house, who lived in her car for three months. This is no parallel universe, we are all living in it. I also know people who are mobilizing with small actions and solidarity is coming to the fore. People are realising what is going on and asking themselves how they can change it.

Talking of changing things: you will also be taking part in a meeting for women directors in Berlin.
Yes, organized by EWA: the European Women’s Audiovsual association. I am its honorary president, or something like that. We will speak about what can be done, of visibility and everything which us women need to speak about, because otherwise no one else does it.

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