The actress from Vitoria plays in ‘Nina’ a woman who returns to her town thirty years later to take revenge on the man who abused her as a teenager (Alfredo Castro)
Andrea Jaurrieta (Pamplona, 1986) smiles at this cliché that ensures that in Spanish cinema it always costs more to make the second film than the first. “If it costs me more, I start selling fruit,” says the author of ‘Ana de día’ (2018), a debut feature that took her eight years to get off the ground. Eleven awards at thirty international festivals and the Goya nomination for Best New Director endorse that original intrigue about identity, starring a young woman (Ingrid García-Jonsson) who one day discovers that a double is supplanting her. Four years later, Jaurrieta already has her second feature film ready, which will be shot at the end of the year in the Biscayan region of Urdaibai. Patricia López Arnáiz and the Chilean Alfredo Castro will star in ‘Nina’, a story of revenge and reunion with the roots that its author conceives as a contemporary western, only changing Monument Valley for the mist of the Bay of Biscay.
A woman in her mid-forties returns to the coastal town from which she fled more than thirty years ago, sick and dragging the failure of trying to be an actress. She comes to take revenge on the man who abused her when she was just a teenager and whom the town now honors. Patricia López Arnáiz, winner of the Goya for ‘Ane’ and currently with ‘La Cumbre’ on the billboard, plays this lonely heroine who, according to the director, returns to die killing because she has nothing to lose. “She’s a character whose past you don’t know very well, like Joan Crawford in ‘Johnny Guitar’ or John Wayne in ‘Centaurs of the Desert,'” defines Jaurrieta. «Patricia has a physical fragility that I like a lot, strength in her gaze and elegance in her movements. We have worked on the text and she understands very well the character and the world where she comes from; she is from Vitoria and I from Navarra, we come from a similar background».
The Navarran director Andrea Jaurrieta.
For his part, Alfredo Castro is used to embroidering tortured characters, like the ones he has embodied for Pablo Larraín in ‘Tony Manero’, ‘No’, ‘El club’, ‘Neruda’… «I admire him a lot, I was amazed when we talked via zoom afterwards that a version three of the script was read, ”recalls the director. “He’s tried to understand the antagonist and not just make a stereotypical villain.” ‘Nina’ is inspired by the homonymous play by José Ramón Fernández, winner of the National Prize for Dramatic Literature in 2011, which was premiered in Spain by Laia Marull and which in turn is a free revision of ‘La gaviota’ by Antón Chéjov. Andrea Jaurrieta met her thanks to a teacher, who was amused that Chet Baker played Chet Baker both in the play and in a short film by the Navarran director. «I read it on one of those night trains from Madrid to Barcelona that no longer exist. And she stayed with me. I always thought that there was a western in that story, I relate the atmosphere to the oppression of the people, which is where I come from. It does not talk about abuse as much as consent, that fine line… It is important and urgent to talk about it, we all have people close to whom something like this has happened, the limit is not only rape.
“A minnow in an ocean”
The daughter of teachers and the granddaughter of farmers “with zero ties to the cinema”, Andrea Jaurrieta also fled Zizur Mayor as soon as she could to make her dream of becoming a film director come true. She graduated in Audiovisual Communication at the Complutense, studied Dramatic Art at the William Layton Laboratory and did a master’s degree at the ESCAC. She shot seven shorts and was creditable as director of Pedro Almodóvar in ‘Julieta’ before making her debut with ‘Ana de día’. “That film symbolizes the flight of my people to the capital, when you are the dissident who counts the days to get lost,” she acknowledges. “But the years go by and you begin to understand your identity. You are the way you are because you grew up in a town, you cannot deny it. ‘Nina’ is that return to reconcile with my origins».
Patricia López Arnáiz and Alfredo Castro, protagonists of ‘Nina’.
The coast of Bermeo, Mundaka and Elantxobe fits perfectly with the imagery that the director has in mind. In this modern western there will be sea instead of desert, a fishermen’s casino in the manner of a ‘saloon’ and processions to a lighthouse instead of Indian attacks. Irusoin, the producer of ‘Loreak’, ‘Handia’ and ‘The Infinite Trench’, has joined Bteam (‘The Girls’), Icónica (‘The Author’) and Lasai, Jaurrieta’s own production company, in a project selected by the first call for Residencies of the Film Academy, which has funding from the ICAA (Ministry of Culture), the Community of Madrid and the Government of Navarra. “Making auteur cinema with a bit of ambition is very difficult to finance,” acknowledges the director, who will jump from the present to the past without using hackneyed flashbacks, sometimes making different times coexist in the same scene. “It happens to me when I go back to town: they are the same traditions, the same festivals.” While continuing to teach Film History classes -«what I like the most in the world»-, Andrea Jaurrieta takes stock of two years traveling the world with ‘Ana de día’: «Seeing how your film is received in other countries is something I didn’t expect. That opened my mind, you belong to an international industry and you are a minnow in an ocean. I was quite moved to see that the doubts about Ana’s emotional journey were the same in Macedonia as in Buenos Aires».
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