EL PLANETA di e con AMALIA ULMAN / 39° Torino Film Festival (26 Novembre – 4 Dicembre 2021) In Concorso – Special Jury Award – Premio della Federazione Internazionale della Stampa Cinematografica)Vincitore Premio Avanti! / Press Kit Courtesy of Press Office Torino Film Festival. https://www.torinofilmfest.org
La poesia infinita di un film muto, in bianco e nero in una surrealistica parodia autobiografica d’autore. El Planeta esordio alla regia dell’attrice Amalia Ulman è un neorealismo d’artista tra suggestioni cubiste e minimaliste. Argentina di nascita ma cresciuta a Gijón nella principale meta turistica delle Asturie, Amalia Ulman rende un’epica letteraria e cinematografica la sua esperienza personale. In concorso al 39° Torino Film Festival, Menzione Speciale per la Giuria, Premio Fipresci e vincitore del Premio Avanti! con la seguente motivazione: “Per la stralunata razionalità, per la capacità di guardare con leggerezza alle derive carsiche del capitalismo odierno, nutrendosi della linfa del miglior cinema indipendente statunitense e degli stimoli ipermediali dell’immaginario contemporaneo.” (m.g.)
EL PLANETA di e con AMALIA ULMAN / 39° Torino Film Festival (26 Novembre – 4 Dicembre 2021) In Concorso – Vincitore Premio Avanti! / Press Kit Courtesy of Press Office Torino Film Festival. https://www.torinofilmfest.org
PRESS BOOK EL PLANETA / 39° TORINO FILM FESTIVAL
di Amalia Ulman (USA, 2021, DCP, 79′)
Leonor torna a Gijon per stare con la madre dopo la morte del padre. L’opera prima della regista e attrice, in bianconero, è ambientata negli anni recenti della crisi economica e, con i toni della commedia stralunata e malinconica e di un umorismo amaro, descrive la deriva sociale e esistenziale di due donne.
La Giuria del Premio AVANTI! (Agenzia Valorizzazione Autori Nuovi Tutti Internazionali), formata da
Andrea Zanoli, Giorgia Goi e Alessandro Uccelli, assegna il premio AVANTI! per:
Miglior Film / Best Film Torino 39, TFFDoc -Internazionale.doc Italiana.doc Distribuzione del film in
Italia/ Film distribution in Italy a/to:
El Planeta, Di Amalia Ulman (USA, Spagna)
con la seguente motivazione: Per la stralunata razionalità, per la capacità di guardare con leggerezza alle derive carsiche del capitalismo odierno, nutrendosi della linfa del miglior cinema indipendente statunitense e degli stimoli ipermediali dell’immaginario contemporaneo.
A CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR AMALIA ULMAN
What made you want to set El Planeta in a small city not many people know of? And what was your inspiration for the story?
I grew up in the small coastal city of Gijón, Asturias in Spain. In the summer, tourists from all over came to town to enjoy the beaches and sunshine. As the season changed, the tourists would leave and the city became deserted, cold, wet and windy, void of any excitement or opportunity. This seasonal industry makes the people of Gijón dependent on what comes from the outside.
Growing up, there were many eccentric characters in my city. They would do weird things around town, never get in trouble, and seemed to not have a job. For example, “Penicilino” – the man who dressed as a sailor, covered himself in penicillin, and looked through the trash. I had always assumed he was homeless, but when he died there was a big story about him in the newspaper revealing he had actually been a count.
It was my mother, Alejandra, who first told me about “Las Falsas Ricas” (‘The Fake Rich”), a mother and daughter pair of con artists called Justina and Ana Belén. They had claimed to be two rich socialites and had run up thousands of euros at local businesses – claiming they would settle the tab later on. When they were unable to pay, they were arrested, and their story made the nightly news. Instantly, I became fascinated by their story and felt the urge to create something out of it. Their story reflected an idiosyncrasy that, as a South American immigrant, I had never been part of, of family ties, old money, and relations to royalty.
Can you explain when the film is set and the significance of it?
Pre-1990s, Asturias had relied on the coal industry. Unable to depend on that any longer, the region pivoted to tourism. When the 2009 global financial crisis hit, Spain had been enjoying a decade of relative stability, and a certain amount of prosperity – but a lot of that was thanks to funding from the European Union. The tourism industry was hit extremely hard by the financial crash. Even during those “good” times, Spain tended to suffer from relatively high rates of unemployment and during the worst
of the crisis, unemployment rose to around 25%. It was especially bad for those under twenty-five who had no professional experience and were fresh out of college. So, for people like Leo and her mom, it wasn’t a matter of “just get a job”- there weren’t any jobs.
Throughout the film, there is mention of the Princess of Asturias prize, that Martin Scorsese attended which took place in 2018. Though, the film could have been set any time after the economic crisis. I chose this year to draw focus to the fact that Gijón is a very small town and moves slowly. It gets stuck in time.
You are Argentinian born but raised in Spain, how do you think your status as an immigrant affected your perspective on the country and the crisis?
Growing up in a small town in the nineties, where there was close to zero immigrant population, was hard. I moved to Spain as a baby but despite all my attempts at being very Spanish when I was a child, I was always seen as a foreigner – always referred to as “Argentinian”. Of course, I have roots in Argentina, but Spain was my home.
I think the crisis made this more acute because, despite spending my whole life in the same city, I never managed to have the same level of support that everyone born in the country around me seemed to have. Because it is a very traditional country, a lot of it is based on family connections, and I don’t have that. The biggest difference between the locals and the newcomers was that many of the locals were living off their titles and connections, like Penicilino. Immigrants on the other hand, would have to get by on cash, their savings, and hard work.
In this film you play the lead role while your mother as your fictional mother, to what extent is the film autobiographical?
It’s true that my mother and I lost our home and suffered both homelessness and hunger. This experience allowed us to approach the film with a certain humor and honestly. There are notes of myself in the character, for example we both were in a bus crash and suffered permanent damage to our legs. I chose to include that in hopes that Leo having a slight limp would help to shape the character, both physically and add to her story. Still, all characters are purely fictional – they are composites of many other people and ideas.
Although I wouldn’t classify this as autobiographical, there are other experiences that I drew from while crafting this film. The opening scene is based on a personal experience that had happened to me while in Gijón. It’s an excellent example of the dynamics of being poor in a small town where one can’t even hustle to make ends meet…
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