×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dominga Sotomayor on ‘Too Late to Die Young,’ Growing Up Fast in 1990 Chile

Sotomayor’s second full feature world premieres in main competition at Locarno

LOCARNO, Switzerland  —  Few Latin American women directors have awoken such expectation as Chile’s Dominga Sotomayor with her debut 2012 “Thursday Through Sunday,” a Rotterdam Festival winner. World premiering at the Locarno Festival on Thursday, “Too Late To Die Young” reprises some of the first feature’s themes and tone: Heartbreak at unrequited love, prescient young protagonists who sense the emotional complexities of their parents’ world. Set in the lap of the Andres, at an isolated ramshackle rural community in 1990 Chile, just as democracy is beginning to return to the country. “Too Late” is however shot on a far larger canvas, an ensemble drama which gradually focuses on 16-year-old Sofia, infatuated by a biker neighbor, distraught at the at community celebrations which confirm her mother’s abandonment of her.

Caught just after Stray Dogs announced it had acquired world sales rights to the film, a week before Locarno, Sotomayor talked about its inspiration, the impact of her singular childhood, her experimentation with camera set up which is almost pictorial in style with action occupying much of the mid and background.

What did you want to portray in “Too Late to Die Young”?

“Too Late to Die Young” is a film about growing up in a period of great changes, related to the nostalgia for and demythifying of a period, a coming of age story, both for the characters and Chilean society at large which was going through a process of pain after dictatorship.

I wanted to explore the complex relationships between generations and classes: Capture the sageness of children, the clumsiness of adults, that strange melancholy we have growing up. With this picture, I’m exploring a free and open form, close to the very nature of this community near to the mountains, far from limits and definitions.

Although fiction, I also see the film as a portrait of and homage to your childhood in the Ecological Community of Peñalolén. Could you comment?

On the one hand, the start of the film has to do with my life in that community, everything emerges from there; but on the other it’s the construction of a very different world, not so realistic, that I find strange and attractive.

I have a very bad memory and there are things that make me want to remember those first years in that place. It was a very special thing to live there. My parents were younger than I am now; risky with an illusion of living a different way, to put something new in the middle of nature. I think they succeeded. We were freer. We spent all day up in the trees and away from malls or television, always with the same neighbors.

The title of the film makes reference to the impact of this life, I think…

We lived with a precariousness. We all worried about having enough water, having candles, that cows didn’t come in at night. It was a simple life. There were no clear limits between the generations, no bars between the houses. At the same time the children were exposed to the problems of very young adults. We realized that our parents were still learning, that they were often wrong and had a bad time.

We were lucky to live there but also had the difficulty of growing up fast, of losing certain illusions early. I was very influenced by the neighbors at that time. Some were artists and they valued my opinion when I was seven or eight years old. They taught me everything was questioned and nothing was taken for granted.

I arrived at 4 and left at 21. I returned at 24 and I left again at 27 to live in an apartment in the city. I had a hard time leaving, my mom still lives there as do many friends. I saw the transformation of that place. I know all the corners of memory, the stones. I can walk the main road that leads to my house with my eyes closed. I have a very special relationship with that space that has always been in an eternal process of construction and change.

The film is shot many times with depth of field and characters in medium shot. Was this on purpose or did it come naturally to capture the strong feeling of a community very much imbued with the surrounding nature?

I wanted to go through real and mental landscapes where the edges are not clear, human/nature, inside/outside, female/male, past/present. It’s all about blurred and permeable limits.

For me the most challenging part was to make a collective portrait. It was like capturing a mental state. To a certain extent speaking about any one of the people in particular would come to define the general state. Apart from one exception, the attention is placed on small groups. I filmed it like that because I wanted, through the eyes of young people, to access the world of the community. I wanted space and nature to be emotional characters as well.

CREDIT: CINESTACIóN

More Film

  • The Favourite Black Panther

    Audience for Best Picture Nominees Most Diverse in Years, Report Shows

    Theatergoers for Academy Awards best picture-nominated films have become younger and more diverse over the past four years, a report released exclusively to Variety showed. Movio, which specializes in cinema marketing data analytics, said the changes in demographic shifts correspond to the best picture lineup becoming more diverse since the 2015 Oscars, when the #OscarsSoWhite [...]

  • Emma Thompson

    Emma Thompson Exits Skydance Animation Movie 'Luck' Over John Lasseter Hire

    Emma Thompson has dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck,” a spokesperson for the actress told Variety. The beloved British star did some recording for the project, but dropped out in January, following John Lasseter’s hire to the top animation job at David Ellison’s studio, an insider close to the [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Lakeith Stanfield

    Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in Talks to Star in Film About Black Panther Party Leader

    Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are in negotiations to star in the historical drama “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The project is set up at Warner Bros. with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler producing along with Charles King through his Marco production company. Executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

  • Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA For

    Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA for Awarding Prizes to 'Roma'

    Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of Vue International, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has slammed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for awarding prizes to Netflix’s “Roma.” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white film, which is also up for several Oscars, won four BAFTAs at the awards ceremony in London on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content