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Guest Post: Interview with Paula Ortiz

Interviews
by Anne-Katrin Titze
July 15, 2013 12:18 PM
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WaH: Better than the custom of burning the widows themselves… Tell me about the title change from the Spanish title which translates as From Your Window To Mine to the English one Chrysalis. Was this your choice? Was it suggested to change it?

PO: I like the title From Your Window To Mine, but in Spanish, it's the beginning of a song. A popular, very ancient song. I liked very much the title because it was talking between two people. From my window to yours, from your window to mine.

WaH: The two people are both female in the song, or you don't know?

PO: You don't know. It's very symbolic and a very popular song in the lands inside of Spain. When we tried to translate it into English, they said it doesn't mean the same. "We don't have the song. Maybe it's too long." So there was another title that I liked as well which is Chrysalis because of the butterfly symbol.

WaH: I didn't know about the song and the title made me think of the beginning of Snow White, with the mother sitting in the window frame, pricking her finger, which is a motif in your film.

PO: I think there's a strong image with all the women knitting in the window or preparing something of the food in the window. Doing small things, not as important things as men. But they were doing very very important things, and very important conversations did take place in the windows.

WaH: Being in-between the house and the outside world is a crucial location. The refusal to die before living a great love and cutting out the photos of Vivien Leigh define your third character. What is her story?

PO: This story of Luisa (Luisa Gavasa) is inspired by my great aunt. She lives alone, she didn't get married but she constructed by herself to herself little symbols that she was happy with that world. With, you know, Vivien Leigh pictures, the movies, the opera, Zarzuela, which is a kind of opera in Spain, and all of these ideas of platonic loves. My idea with this story was to try and tell how a woman like this, alone her whole life, suddenly, because of a really strong shock in her life, like the cancer, she starts to live reality. She keeps her own world, the Vivien Leigh, Alfredo Kraus, and all of that stuff that makes her happy but at the same time starts to live her own life. At the end she goes out and says, "yes, I am sick but I am alive and well, and I love my cousin."

WaH: She is in the "real world," whatever that means. How close were you to your aunt?

PO: Very very close, because she used to take care of me and my brother when my mother and my father were working.

WaH: Some of her ideas might have inspired you to become a filmmaker?

PO: Yes, oh yes. Maybe not a filmmaker but when I was a child she used to comment on me and my tales. And she really supported that. Not everybody supports that creativity.

WaH: She saw your film?

PO: No, no she died, ten years ago.

WaH: I love the scenes in the old shop, with all the drawers and ribbons. Did you remember these kinds of shops from your childhood?

PO: Yes, I remember, because all the women in my family - and there were a lot of women, because my mother had four sisters and my grandmother had four sisters as well - I remember all of them buying in this kind of store all the stuff to make dresses.

WaH: I remember them as well, going with my grandmother in a small town to these dark, dusty smelly places that had miraculous objects in many drawers. They seem to be international and you captured the feel.

PO: And I liked the idea of a man working there in that female universe. I liked how the character of Valentin (Luis Bermejo) works with women every day and he likes Luisa. Just Luisa.

WaH: Is there a theme, as a filmmaker, that is closest to your heart, that you want to explore?

PO: In all my stories loneliness is a theme. Especially for me, it's trying to tell the story, the small line between reality and non-reality. Not in fantastic stories, no. Just like in the tales, the fairy tales. Like in the symbolic tales in that small territory between real and non-real. I like storytelling because of the rhythm and sense of the symbol.

Paula Ortiz has published two books and numerous research articles in academic journals related to the world of narratives and screenplays. She is currently teaching in the Universidad San Jorge Zaragoza. For the Visual XII: Cine Novísimo, Majadahonda, Madrid 2012, Paula was honored as Best New Director.

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Anne-Katrin Titze is the New York Critic for Eye For Film. She is a lecturer on fiction, film, fashion, and fairy tales and curates conversations and panels with filmmakers at Universities and various cultural venues. Anne-Katrin is also a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator.

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