In the latest episode of Variety Critics Corner presented by Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, director Alice Winocour spoke with Variety’s chief film critic Peter Debruge to discuss representing motherhood on screen and training as research for her film “Proxima.”
“I thought in cinema, you don’t see very often [a character] being an astronaut and a mother… I think in real life there are so many kinds of different mothers and most of them feel like they’re not good and not perfect,” said Winocour.
“Proxima” follows Sarah (Eva Green), a French astronaut who must leave her young daughter (Zelie Boulant) in order to prepare for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station. “The film is about the preparation and the separation between her and her daughter and how hard it is to leave the earth,” Winocour added. “To me, the more it is intimate, the more it has to be set in another world.”
The French director went on to explain how she wanted to show the way mothers must struggle with the idea of being a full-time caretaker while also having a career.
“Because society made us think that if you have a child you are supposed to take care and to do most of the job, and so you have to also deal with that guilt,” she said.
While filming on location in training facilities in Europe, Russia and Kazakhstan, the director got an opportunity to learn from other professionals in the world of space exploration.
“I rode with astronauts, trainers, I really immersed myself in that world,” she said. “It was a kind of journey also with Eva Green, who also went to those places to train with real Russian trainers. It was amazing to be there with them while we were shooting those astronauts while training, so we were observing each other.”
Watch the full conversation above.