«The idea was to show the character’s inner conflicts»

 

 Diego Lublinsky and Alvaro Urtizberea presents Hortensia in the Argentine Competition 

"Goals to be happy: marry a blonde guy like my father and design the most beautiful shoe in the world”. In the middle of a crisis, desires written long ago vigorously come back. In this stylistic fable, based on subtle and intelligent humor, Hortensia will rediscover not only her true desires but also her real strength.

Where the idea of Hortensiacome from?

We were looking for a story to shoot and we came across Hortensia, a comedy written by Alicia Giménez Guspí, and we loved it. We told Alicia we wanted to rewrite the script with her in order to develop and go deep into the things we were more interested in. When we got to a version we felt our own, we agreed on a way of narrating that was interesting for both of us. The sum of the agreements we got to resulted in this interpretation of Alicia’s work.

How did you work from the script the use of humor, a crucial aspect in Hortensia?

During the adaptation process we built a world that, apart from being unconventional, should be interesting, substantial and with humor as the main protagonist. In that infrequent universe, the story with transparent and straightforward characters had to be the driving forces of that humor. We wanted the audience to start discovering that world until they plunged themselves into it, in order to share and enjoy our type of humor. But it’s true that the sequence of events Hortensia goes through can be illogical outside the context of the film. For this reason, if the audience resist the code, the might be left "out”, that’s the risk, since in Hortensia, though there’s constant humor, there are no gags or direct jokes.

What we tried to do was to alter a series of elements we accept as "normal” in everyday life in order to, somehow, question that normality. This already causes certain strangeness and sets a particular humor, but we basically wanted the audience to enter into a peculiar universe which we hope keeps reverberating in them after the screening.

There’s a peculiar stylistic quest. What were your references for creating such an almost surreal underworld?

From the very beginning we tried to expand and enrich this world we were talking about, set by Alicia’s script, deciding which things to include and which ones to leave out of Hortensia’s universe. For example: we decided that all of the shoes were going to be black, until Hortensia started designing her own models and discovered they can be of many different colors. We also decided that the time and place where the story takes place was not going to be clear and the language of television and songs would be a strange language, swajili. We made many decisions like these ones and, being two directors, we discussed things and enriched the context of what we wanted to tell. We fed back on each other and we both added new things. That’s why it’s difficult to identify influences but I’m sure there’s a lot of our own experiences, either by films we’ve watched or by personal experiences throughout our lives, consciously or not. We also resorted to the films we’ve made, together or individually. Regarding referents from cinema, we can mention Kaurismaki, Kitano, Rejtman, Wes Anderson, Ming Lian, Tati, Étaix and others who work with unconventional types of humor. From there, we got to art, performances, cinematography, music, sound, all things which added a lot to the film. At this point we must mention the participation of David Bisbano in the different creative processes.

 

The performances are in the right tone to tell this story. How was the casting process and how did you work with the direction of actors?

When we got to the casting stage, as we said earlier, we already knew which things to include and which things to leave out of Hortensia’s universe, and the same regarding the tone and style of the performances we wanted. So we arranged a very small casting with a few actors we already knew or who, according to references or previous works we had seen, we felt shared our code. We wanted minimal expressions, like the case of Hortensia, the protagonist, who is going through a tremendous crisis but hardly shows it. The expression is minimal, but it’s always there. The idea was to show the character’s inner conflicts, but to make them visible, so that the audience could discover them, though maybe not the entire audience.

One of the most remarkable things in the story is the outline of the different characters. Each of them has a universe and they all could be protagonists of their own films. How did those details that define them appear?

We wanted humor to be present at all times; therefore, each element of a scene was present only if it served that purpose, being the story and the characters the main components. That’s why we worked on the features of each character, in order to give them certain strangeness, personality and make them real within this specific world. First we did it on the script, then during rehearsals and finally during shooting. But, above all, we have to point out the talent and great work of the actors.

 

 

 

THU 5, 10.20 am, ALD 5
THU 5, 9.40 pm, ALD 5
FRI 6, 4.00 pm, ALD 5

 

 

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