It will be the last summer in the family home on the Costa Brava. And for Nora, who is going through a placid adolescence, it will mean an explosion of discoveries and rebellion: while the outside world is cracking due to her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s and the possible divorce of her parents, her friendship with Libertad, the daughter of the Colombian maid of the family, recently arrived from South America, will alter its interior. With this idea, as simple in appearance as it is complex in its audiovisual representation, Clara Roquet (Malla, Barcelona, 32 years old) foundations Liberty, the Spanish film that has caused admiration in its premiere at Critics’ Week. A premiere so longed for – it has been waiting a year, since it was selected for Cannes 2020 and the team preferred to wait for another possible selection in this edition – as tarnished by the absence of Roquet, who is waiting in Barcelona to end his quarantine for coronavirus.
If he runs away from something Liberty, is to become another film directed by a Catalan filmmaker about her childhood or adolescence. Roquet has used other creators as references, such as the Argentine Julia Solomonoff or Lucrecia Martel. On the phone, from Barcelona, resigned to her fate and hoping to get to Cannes this weekend, she confesses: “On the one hand it is frustrating, on the other I am seeing, and there are worse things. I relativize, although sometimes I think that between the delay of the premiere and this positive in coronavirus, the pandemic hates me “. The tour will end with the commercial premiere on November 19. “All I want to do is share the film, see the reactions of the public, because the feeling that it doesn’t exist yet invades me. Films are made to be projected, if not, they are ghosts ”. Roqu The filmmaker hopes that many will be reflected in her characters. “We all know caregivers who have taken care of our elders. I captured it in my short The good bye, and I already felt that I was connecting with the viewers. Besides, there is something universal about summer friendships ”. Because if there is a time full of depths of passion, that is adolescence. “Of course, it is a hinge stage, in which you are building your identity, and many times that process involves rebelling against the image built by your parents,” he says.
Regarding the references, Roquet confesses with a laugh: “Julia Solomonoff was my professor at Columbia University, and in fact I babysat for her children. Now he is a super-friend ”. About Martel, she says she is obsessed with The swamp: “It is inevitable that there will be echoes of it in Liberty, because I have seen it so many times … There was a moment when I stopped, as with Víctor Erice’s cinema, because I was moving away from my own gaze. The images in your mind always end up in your work ”.
Interest on transfers
If the teenagers in the film are in the process of change, their mothers and Nora’s grandmother also travel bumpy roads. “I am very interested in two aspects: the relationships between mothers and daughters and the transference,” he points out. “The transfer of identity, trauma, isolation …”. To do this, he describes a square scheme, with the vertices occupied by mothers and daughters, in which the roles are exchanged between the adults, a situation from which various conflicts will arise, including social ones. “But I like that it is sifted by melancholy, that that tone accompanies the images, and that we even wonder if these are the past memories of Nora, who thus recalls those days of change. Between mothers and daughters the relationship can be as beautiful and strong as it is irritating ”. And how is Roquet’s with his mother? “Great,” he bursts out laughing. “I warned him that everything he saw was fiction. Yes, some memories of summers on the Costa Brava are autobiographical, of certain textures ”. His family raises horses, and this can be seen in how he photographs nature: “In the short The good girls I filmed with horses, from my experiences, and it was clear to me: I will never repeat that experience ”.
As a screenwriter, Roquet already has a significant resume. He has collaborated on the writings of 10.000 km (2014) and The days to come (2019), both by Carlos Marques-Marcet; of Petra (2018), by Jaime Rosales; from The offering (2020), by Ventura Durall, and with Antonio Méndez Esparza he has adapted Let no one sleep the novel by Juan José Millás, for the next film by Méndez Esparza. “I see a lot in those scripts, because I put everything I have at the service of each script, and at the same time I blend in with the way those directors write, I understand that I work for them, for their gaze,” he says. And they have all been men. “This is the industry. Right now I’m writing with Elena Martín, and I’m very happy ”, and she enters the big question without being asked. “I don’t mind being asked about being a woman in Spanish cinema. I’ll keep talking about it until we reach parity. “