Daniela Fejerman and Elvira Lindo’s “Someone Who Takes Care of Me,” a celebration of actors, their passion, craft and historical legacy, opened this year’s Malaga Film Festival in a fitting tribute to the Spanish entertainment industry.
The film, which screened out of competition, centers on three women whose careers have spanned stage, film and television, actresses of different generations whose fortunes in life have greatly differed and who struggle with untold secrets and unresolved conflicts.
Aura Garrido stars as Nora, a young, award-winning actress with a promising future who carefully balances between the two main pillars in her life, her grandmother Lilith (Magüi Mira), who reigned for decades as a renowned theater star, and her mother Cecilia (Emma Suárez), whose career has languished after having achieved some glory in the 1980s, a decade of excess in which she heavily partook.
As Nora experiences success in her burgeoning career, the three women deal with misunderstood love, jealousy and mutual dependence.
“Someone Who Takes Care of Me,” Fejerman and Lindo tell Variety, was “inspired by that type of woman who lived her youth intensely in the ’80s and on whom life has taken its toll.
“Her daughter has always considered her somewhat irresponsible, somewhat frivolous, somewhat banal, until something happens for her to begin to inquire about the past of that woman, her mother, whom she really knows very little.”
Lindo says the story she wrote “was really meant to be made into a movie. I called Daniela to see if she was interested and she was enthusiastic about the story and the idea of collaboration.”
Lindo and Fejerman worked on the script together and it soon became clear they would continue the process to the end. Producer Gerardo Herrero of Madrid-based Tornasol Media boarded the project, making it possible for Lindo and Fejerman to work hand in hand in directing the project, which also features Pedro Mari Sanchez, Francesc Garrido and Víctor Clavijo.
The film is “a celebration of that craft in all its complexity, from popular shows to cabaret to highly regarded theater. Our gaze is curious and considerate of all actors and actresses of any gender. But the fact that it was a family in which all of them are dedicated to the same trade helped us to address issues to which people who are engaged in work with great public exposure are sometimes subjected, such as the passage of time, age, vanity, success or simply being forgotten. That facilitated the plot and allowed us to enter fully into these feelings that are usually taboo when it comes to mothers and daughters. We also wanted to address motherhood throughout the life span.”
Anton Chekhov’s play “The Seagull” plays a significant role in the film. Not only does Nora accept a part in a new production directed by her mother’s ex, much to her chagrin, it also inspired and reflected aspects of the story.
“‘The Seagull’ opened space in the script, becoming a mirror of our characters. We realized the similarities between Chekhov’s text and our own history, so we took advantage of those parallels to reinforce the idea that the passions that agitate human beings are always the same.
“The moment when Cecilia dreams that she is a Chekhov character is clear proof of this. We also found ourselves with a beautiful surprise: knowing that Pedro Mari Sánchez had played the young Kostia on TVE and taking advantage of those images.”
While Nora is the young sensible modern woman and Lilith the grand dame of the great bourgeois theater, it is Cecilia who captures the spirit of the generation that welcomed with gusto the new freedoms that came with the end of Franco’s dictatorship.
“Cecilia is a worthy representative of that ’80s youth. That type of woman who wanted to break with the tradition marked by her mother and passionately live life without measuring the consequences of her excesses or thinking about the future. She is talented, she maintains her grace and her sexiness, she is ironic, but she has a deep wound that she keeps hidden and never shows except with the man who saved her from abandonment and depression.”
The film also deals with the lasting stigma of HIV and how countless women were forced to keep silent about their illness out of shame, who did not have support groups and who felt tremendously alone when it came to facing their illness.
“With the impact of HIV centered on the gay community and on drug addicts, the echo was never placed on that smaller percentage of women who were infected. They hid their condition. It is a sad, unfair story, and we would like that if they come to see the film, it would mean an embrace for them that was never given to them socially.”
Latido Films is selling “Someone Who Takes Care of Me” internationally.