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VENICE 2019 Orizzonti

Rodrigo Sorogoyen • Director of Madre

“As soon as you see a woman in her forties and a young boy, there’s something that doesn't work”

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- VENICE 2019: Cineuropa chatted with Spanish helmer Rodrigo Sorogoyen about his feature Madre, playing in the Orizzonti section

Rodrigo Sorogoyen  • Director of Madre

Rodrigo Sorogoyen studied scriptwriting at the Madrid School of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts. At the age of 25, he co-directed 8 Dates. In 2011, he co-founded Caballo Films with three partners, also writing and directing Stockholm [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. May God Save Us [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
film profile
]
, Sorogoyen's third feature, was nominated for seven Goyas, while his short film Madre was nominated for an Oscar. He now expands on that short with the feature-length Madre [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
film profile
]
, screening in Orizzonti at the Venice Film Festival.

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Cineuropa: You show your Academy Award-nominated short Madre in its entirety at the start of the film. You then jump forward a decade. Why?
Rodrigo Sorogoyen: The short started out as an exercise in film that ended up being a great success. We wanted to carry on with the story of this mother who has gone through such a profound tragedy.

When you arrive ten years later, the camera moves like a wave; was that the idea?
Of course: the use of the camera was critical, and I didn't want to be aggressive in the style of the film. Every single movement had to be soft because the story was already aggressive enough.

The film brought to mind Harold and Maude – was that an inspiration?
I can understand that comparison. We were thinking about films, and when you think about a relationship like this, an older lady with a child, that film comes to mind. Perhaps we only like that movie because we are cinephiles – it's not an inspiration for this specific film. It did stay in our minds, though.

Would you say it's a traditional coming-of-age story for a teenager if we look at it from the perspective of the young man?
The archetype of a young person who becomes a man is very interesting. You can play with the actor. In the beginning, we wrote the script in two parts – one part from the boy's point of view, and the other from the mother's perspective. In the edit, we took out all the scenes of the boy with his family because the character of the boy only needed a few scenes to portray him clearly, while her character was much more complicated.

We don't know what happens to the six-year-old. We presume it's violent, but is it more violent and uncomfortable these days to show a taboo relationship?
Totally. You’re right, because it does feel much more violent. Two people love each other, so what is so wrong with that? Western society doesn't like this; as soon as you see a woman in her forties and a young boy, there’s something that doesn't work. We wanted to show that and make people reflect on it.

The woman in a secluded house, the forest, the beach… What was the idea behind using these locations?
Well, the setting and the locations stem from the short film. Maybe if we had gone to Biarritz and we didn't like it, we would have changed the locations. But they were fantastic and fascinating, and at the same time, they could be like a wasteland. They could be two things at the same time, so I think it was the perfect location for the film. There is such power in that beach and the ocean, and all of these things come together to create this beauty.

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