Laura Citarella: “Today the taste for experience has been lost”

I wanted to film in Trenque Lauquen, my family is from there. The space quickly commands, and builds a logic and circuit of things that are happening, which are what finally build the film “he says Laura Citarellaand the film she is talking about is her new accomplishment as director and producer: Lauquen Train. The film follows the line of the first feature by one of the founders of El Pampero, the production company that mutated the DNA of Argentine cinema through films like La Flor and Historias extraordinarias, among many others. That is to say, it follows the path of Ostende, which was planted by a character in a Buenos Aires town and which mutates everything around him with the mere presence (or absence) of him; a character played by Laura Paredes (who is also a screenwriter here) and that Citarella herself defines as someone who “wherever she puts her eye, puts fiction”.

Trenque Lauquen narrates a departure, a disruption, from many points of view, and Citarella defines its structure, celebrated throughout the festival circuit since its premiere in Venice: “The film is born with a series of cravings, if you will. And wills, which are preserved in the final format. The elements that are arranged in the film were always there, like a certain work with the fusion of genres, or the conversion of one genre into another, or the fusion of mysteries. With a certain idea of ​​a figure of a woman who left, which was something that had always fascinated Antonioni’s The Adventure. Beyond the specific appointment that is in Trenque Lauquen, that was the fictional element that I wanted to work on, from a different place than how it can be approached”. And he adds for the premiere in commercial theaters: “The other day I thought that there is a very nice scene in La Aventura where they go to look for her in a town called Nono, and I thought that those Italian towns where the characters pass in the film could be the towns of the province of Buenos Aires. I was interested in transferring that many years later and in a different geography. At the same time, I wanted to continue working with Laura Paredes: I was interested in the idea of ​​a saga, with this character: we identified with the character”.

—You return to work with Laura Paredes, a member of Piel de Lava. How do you see that bond today?

—It is a duo that is armed, is armed in Ostend. But we were colleagues working at La Flor and at the same time we have a very close friendship, she is Pepón’s mother, who is my daughter’s best friend, and her husband is my partner. There is a relationship that exceeds, we are a team in many aspects of life. That work was very easy and natural. There is something of a loneliness quite typical of the work of directing in the cinema, there is a certain loneliness, and then in the places where you can put the work with someone else, it works better. It works better for me. I co-directed two films, and it’s not the same as directing alone: ​​collaborating is important to me. I’m not interested in working alone, not having a place to bounce ideas. It didn’t just happen with Laura, it happened with a large part of the team… Ezequiel Pierri, who is not only a producer and actor, but also my husband. We worked very closely on the film. That translates into a way that gives me a community to work with, that gives me comfort, and that has to do with fighting that lonely issue of directing movies.

—How do you define the creation of the film, considering the way of working that El Pampero usually has, outside of traditional financing channels?

—Because of the way I work, it is difficult for me to distinguish between producing and directing films. For me, at one point, it’s doing them and that’s it. That’s the way I found to make movies, and not so much thought in terms of items. Then there is a separation that occurs and there appears something of the craft. All the things that happen in Trenque Lauquen – for example, any invention that appears in terms of decoration – is made with our hands. Laura Caligiuri or Flora Caligiuri, (“the Caligiuri sisters”, one is an art director and the other is a costume designer) are always thinking about not standardizing objects, about how to produce an image.

—What do you feel is perhaps missing from Argentine cinema?

—I realize that it has to do with what I was telling you before, with this idea of ​​producing and directing. It seems to me that one thing that the fusion of these categories brings about – which I feel is something that Argentine cinema could do well given the constant crisis situation for filming and producing – is to think again about that fusion and about the relationship between cinema with the invention. One thinks of the cinematograph, of the Lumières, and of that idea of ​​invention. Something that had that mischievous invention, if you will. Now I get the feeling that this, that world of ideas, which could inhabit film shoots or film projects, has tended to disappear and more prefabricated images appear, with the most standardized image. That’s why I mentioned the Caligiuri: I think they fight all the time with the possibility that an object inside the image is not an invention of the film itself. And I feel that this translates to everything: the language of the actors, to the planning, and even to the way of producing the film (which should also be an invention each time, for each film). That keeps me very busy thinking from one movie to the next. That is what keeps me active and alive in relation to cinema, and that gives the film and its images a different life.

The highest award and its nervous tics

—El Pampero has achieved a way of working that wins festivals, that surprises and has become almost a paradigm. How do you define the way they work?

—A lot is produced by contagion, we are a group doing things and the items change but we are always the same. Gabriel Chowknijk is the musician in all our films beyond the fact that in Trenque Lauquen there is music by Lautaro Barceló, La sobrecarga; or the editors are Miguel de Zuviría and Alejo Moguillansky. There is something that we are experiencing and we are interested in the same things, and we are forming each other. Making things. By responding, one film can respond to another, or replicate it. That happens a lot. It is a group process that is good.

—There are always textures of literature, in front of and behind the camera…

—There is something of literature and of the experience of literature, like when one reads and the words cannot finish saying, but one reads between those words and goes beyond, and in that beyond there is an encounter with something more mysterious. , which cannot be named. There is something that interests me about the fact that cannot be named. The fact that it cannot be named is something that happens to the men in the film, who get frustrated when they cannot find a logic and a name for what happens to the character of Laura. So there is something in the story of the film that is similar to what I am telling you, which for me refers a lot to the experience of reading.

The present and the crisis

Laura Citarella is clear when it comes to her ideas: ”there is a great difficulty because there is a horizon… for example, doing a tour of festivals, which this film generated, and I was able to observe how they tend to close towards certain cinematographies or not having diverse programming in some cases. Or, for example, not being able to bring directors because there is a huge crisis due to the lack of budgets (so you present a film at a festival and you cannot attend to present it). There is such a great moment of change that I am seeing a diffuse horizon. To think perhaps this is what we knew as a journey, going from one festival to another until the premiere”. And she adds to her train of thought: “Obviously the platforms have gained a lot of ground, and I don’t think that threatens, but going back to the idea of ​​inventions, it should be able to reinvent itself, because the world changed very quickly. One of the biggest losses that occurred in these years of pandemic, the loss of taste for the experience. But there is something of the curiosity that subsided, there was so much withdrawal so much that it comes towards us we consume it but if you have to go out to discover it is more difficult. That aspect became more sedentary. I don’t really know what the resolution is going to be that we filmmakers and the structure that surrounds the films have to start finding. Today distribution is also an enigma and even the real possibility of making a film like this. Following the logic of invention, I believe that there is a mind and time and will to continue inventing as ways of producing, and thinking of films that are possible”.

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