Lara Izagirre (Amorebieta, Bizkaia, 1985) debuted in the feature film six years ago with ‘An autumn without Berlin’, which won the Goya for best revelation actress for its protagonist, Irene Escolar. This Friday, September 3, she returns to theaters with another story about a woman in her thirties who tries to find herself along a trip along the Basque coast, although the tone and the light are very different. Starring Ane Pikaza, the bright and optimistic ‘Nora’ was presented last year at the San Sebastian Festival, a contest that
the association of women filmmakers (H) emen chaired by Izagirre has pilloried the awarding of the Donostia Award in this edition to the actor Johnny Depp.
-They say that it is more difficult to make the second film than the first.
-Yes. In the first one you go with everything, there is little time to think and you do it as you can. In the second movie you already have the experience of the first and you don’t want to make the same mistakes. ‘An autumn without Berlin’ worked well, ‘Nora’ was born as an answer to that one. I wanted to get away but telling the stories I want to tell. The tone is very different, the language, the summer, the outdoors …
-What about you in Nora, the main character?
-Many things. The age to start, the protagonists of my movies are going to grow with me, ha ha. We share innocence, being naive. I have a part like this, optimistic, that it seems that I do not know anything. But I find out. If I can, I choose to look at things from a nice and friendly place. I have always been very trusting and I have taken cakes, of course. Nora likes to be with the family, as I do. His way of communicating with others, his work in the world of creation … I share his soul a little. In recent years I have placed myself in a more realistic and pessimistic mental place, and I have not felt comfortable.
-Have you fantasized about leaving everything and going on a journey like her?
-I still do, although it is getting more and more difficult. Nora makes me very envious, to go alone close to home … I don’t need more. I traveled alone a long time ago, but I slept in hostels, not in a van.
-Nora is representative of a generation for which grandparents are more important than parents.
-Can be. We have had a close bond with our grandparents because they have had to take care of us or have lived at home with us. Our parents have worked hard. And we behave differently with each other.
-Why does it show a postcard Euskadi?
-Because I think it’s pretty. Most of the movie is where I spend the summer. I did not feel like showing it to the ‘Game of Thrones’, with general plans, in a precious way. They are incredible places but for real. It is my Euskadi, the one that I see without making an effort, my gaze on my land. Like the town of Nora, which is mine, Amorebieta, which is more ugly.
-Jumps completely naturally from Basque to Spanish, French, English …
-It is a reflection of everyday life. There will be a Spanish version where only Basque has been dubbed, keeping the game with the other languages. At the Miami Festival they told me that they identified with bilingualism in the family.
Ane Pikaza stars in ‘Nora’.
-Since ‘An Autumn Without Berlin’ she has been the mother of three children, two and five years old. Doesn’t motherhood make you see with different eyes the sleeplessness of a thirty-year-old who doesn’t know what direction to take in life?
-This is something very personal. For me, ‘Nora’ is a reminder that even as a mother I have to remember if I am where I want to be. It is a film completely crossed by my motherhood. I was once Nora, how long do I have to stop being Nora to be a mother? I have to always remember that it is my decision, I cannot always find myself being a mother. It’s like she’s my past. I find that situation in which we are alone and we think about what we are very valuable.
-She is the president of (H) emen, the association of women in the audiovisual sector and the performing arts in Euskadi created in 2016.
-We are more than a hundred members. We have a database where professionals who do not need to be members register. We have realized that together we are very strong, a very powerful network of friendship has been created between us. We share a lot of information: ‘I’m going to be hired here for this job. How much did they pay you? ‘ We have created pineapple with the state associations and they listen to us everywhere. Now everything that we are going to do with the San Sebastian Festival is going to be very important.
-A working day has been organized.
-Everything arose from a very serious difference of opinions that we had with the Donostia Award for Johnny Depp. We have created something very beautiful and exemplary. That’s the way: sit down and talk. We are going to work and think about what equality is for you, what it is for us… We are also talking with the Basque Government, ETB… Suddenly, we are given a voice and we are valid interlocutors. It is something that has changed in the last two or three years.
-Why didn’t Johnny Depp like the award? You confessed to feeling “sad and angry.”
-Because the award is a choice, you choose who to give it to. In the general situation we are experiencing, with all the sexist violence, it seems unfortunate to give it to Johnny Depp. You can choose another person who at this time does not generate any doubt. It depends how you look at it, there is a judge who has said that there are indications in twelve cases of abuse.
-But there has been no complaint of abuse nor has he been convicted of it.
-I don’t want to go in there. We are not offended by whether or not Johnny Depp has been convicted. What we don’t like is that instead of talking to you here about a Donostia Award, we are talking about whether Depp has been denounced or not. We would have to talk about cinema, about Marion Cotillard, for example, about beautiful things.
-But the Festival he will have taken into account that if there is no conviction he is still innocent. There is the presumption of innocence.
-We are going to create a protocol together with the festival. What helps the festival to give an award does not serve the associations of women filmmakers in the world. This protocol will serve so that the prizes do not divide.
Lara Izagirre with Héctor Alterio, who plays the protagonist’s grandfather.
-Do you like Johnny Depp as an actor?
-Yes. But I think this year, as the situation is, he does not deserve that award.
-Do you think you don’t deserve it because you are still under the shadow of doubt?
-It is that for me there is no doubt. He has had to pay six hundred-odd thousand dollars to the newspaper (‘The Sun’), which called him an abuser. And the judge has ruled that there is no defamation, that there are indications of mistreatment in twelve cases. That trial has been lost and they have told him not to appeal because he has no chance of winning it.
-Do you think that Zinemaldia is an egalitarian and diverse festival? This year it has suppressed the genre in the acting awards.
-There is a long way to go, in the Zinemaldi and in almost all spheres. I think there is a willingness to sit down and talk things over. The foundations have been laid and what is missing will come. Let’s hope that no mistakes will be made again and we can celebrate all the Donostia Awards that come.