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Isabel Coixet: "As a woman I'm asked questions that would never be made to a man" 

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Isabel Coixet returned to Gijón/Xixón International Film Festival to receive the Mujer de Cine Award. Given by the Mujeres de Cine association in collaboration with FICX, this award is given every year to one professional from the audiovisual sector
In Coixet’s case, she has three decades of direction in her career, ranging from her debut with Demasiado Viejo para morir joven (1989) until the newly premiering La librería (2017).

In Díaz Castaño’s words, aside from being praised in Cannes or Berlin, the filmmaker has managed to “set a precedent with her style”. Although for her the award is first and foremost “an excuse to come to Gijón and eat good food”, she believes that “it’s lovelier to be a cinema woman than someone’s woman”. Attending FICX allows her to watch the closing film Nadie nos mira (Julia Solomonoff), in whose production she participated. “It’s my opportunity to support a director I’ve known for many years”.

The Vida sin mi (2003) director spoke about her early inclination for cinema, when “families went to watch cinema in a double session with a bocadillo”. When she was four, she got into the projection booth and “the technician taught me that what I was seeing in the screen was a piece of celluloid”, so she wanted “to cover the abyss between the material and what I was seeing, without having the faintest idea what directing was”. Years later, already focused on exploring the cinematographic language, she found her revelation in films like Accidente (Joseph Losey, 1967) and Hitchcock’s productions.

"I’d arrive at the cinematheque and what I watched would not always correspond with my readings”. As literary references, she mentioned Pío Baroja or Patrick Modiano, whom she considers “a god”, and states that she added Ray Bradbury to her adaptation of La librería “because he’s a fantastic author”.

As one of the most well-known women in modern Spanish cinema, Coixet considers that “when it comes to making the first film there’s still some equality, but in the second project everything costs us eight times more than a man”. Nowadays she’s annoyed by chauvinistic attitudes about her professional work, like “being told I never stop working or what I’m doing with my daughter when I leave for the shooting”, questions that “would never be asked to a man” and “don’t ruin my life, but spoil my day”. That’s why she believes scandals like Harvey Weinstein’s, “a not very relevant man”, shouldn’t hoard the media's attention. “These things happen everywhere, even if cinema is now on the spotlight”, and prefers to talk “about how many film are directed by women and the type of ghetto we are in cinema’s history”, because for her “Ben-Hur is not more important than Clea from 5 to 7”.

To fight male chauvinism, Coixet believes it’s essential to educate “so teenagers identify the first signs of violence”. A problem she believes is far more important that the Catalan process, something she has never understood and lives “with great tedium”.

Lastly, the director went through her career. Although she lives her past successes with caution, like “a trampoline and not a couch”, because “I feel I’m beginning and I don’t know where are the laurels to rest on”, she highlights one title from her filmography. “I love many, but now I can see the blind courage that I had to finish Cosas que nunca te dije (1996) against all odds”. On the other hand, she believes “Mi otro yo (2003) is a completely failed movie, which was taken from me during production”, and about it she declared “I didn’t have the strength to impose myself then but in a director’s life there are also moments of weakness”. Now she enjoys La librería (2017) good reception with enthusiasm, because she considers herself “more prepared for failure than for success”.

Sergio de Benito

Palabras clave Festival de Cine