Best Director of Argentine Competition - Lukas Valenta Rinner, for «A Decent Woman»

A Decent Woman, by Lukas Valenta Rinner follows the days of a maid that comes to work in a house located in a gated neighborhood. There, along the property line, the nudists spend their days under the sun, as a community, without hiding or creating bonds of any kind. The monotonous life in the house and the aseptic wealth pushes Belén, the main character, to cross this wall, where "the door must remain closed in order magic cannot escape". Rinner displays a corrosive glance -with organic visual beauty- on human relations, sexuality and the latent animality in each of the social groups.

What was the starting point for the idea of A Decent Woman?
Some time ago, I discovered a nudist-swinger club in the province of Buenos Aires. The particularity of this club is that it is an outdoor camping with jungle vegetation, statues, roman baths and orgy rooms. In addition, it is on the edge of an exclusive private neighborhood. In a first scouting of investigation, I was told that the "decent” inhabitants of the private neighborhood were constantly trying to shut down the place, which I found an interesting conflict to explore in the film.

There is a very interesting narrative progression that shows how the human and the animal –the self-defense, the need to live in herds, the territoriality- has been amalgamating.
I am interested in exploring what happens when the social standards begin to corrupt. It is a theme already present in Parabellum. From the script we posed this progression through our main character Belén. She begins as a grey and oppressed character but along the film, with her liberation after going to this nudist club, the pressure at home also grows and begins to rebel through little sabotages until the balance explodes at some point.

The nudity is presented in all its naturalness. In which way did you work with the actors to achieve that the nudity could be something incorporated in the scene and not something focused, nor highlighted?
We rehearsed very little before the shooting, but always with the actors dressed. Then, the first day of filming in the nudist club, which was working during the entire shooting, actors and crew found ourselves in a brief state of shock. That did not last much and it was fun to find out how fast you naturalize nudity. We lived together for two weeks with the club fully functioning and some actors quickly decided to abandon their "textile shell” and hang out naked during the day. I think that naturalness was achieved also with this so organic cohabitation generated during the shooting at the club. Each day members of the club were more eager to participate as extras in the film.

The silences in your film are very eloquent. The words, or lack of them, were dosed so perfectly that generate stimulant and diverse environments. How was this particularity emerging?
My scenes begin generally after the action core. As the film tells several stories that talk about communication, or no-communication and disagreement, better to say, I think these anti-climatic moments could be very tragic and comical at the same time. But I think that even if there was some base in the script, much of what we see in the film was generated during the shooting with the actors. Between Mariano Sayavedra and Irdide Mockert a very special energy was created, that appeared every time we put the camera, and that needed no words.

You come from a path of international exhibitions of your film. Which were your expectations regarding the presentation and the response of the audience in the Mar del Plata International Film Festival?
I think the local premiere is a very special moment for a film, we are anxious to see what happens. Happily, A Decent Woman traveled to many festivals in these last months when we were able to meet different audiences from all around the world: Korea, Poland, Canada, Swiss and even India. It is very interesting to see how social tensions, class conflicts and taboos like nudity, are analyzed and received by diverse audiences; beyond understanding that these issues culturally touch everyone in a certain way-although maybe more differently in each society-, A Decent Woman essentially speaks about Argentine themes and explores here the same unknown world. I am very intrigued to see how it is received in Mar del Plata.

 

Agustina Salvador

 


 

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