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A mother searches for her missing daughter in the face of the indifference of the authorities

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Julieta Egurrola, actress, is the mother of Natalia Beristáin, filmmaker. Together they have done Noise, the drama of a mother who has been searching for her missing daughter for more than nine months, faced with the indifference and inefficiency of the authorities, a redundant theme not only in Mexican reality, but also in the country’s cinema. We talked to both of them in San Sebastián, where they participate in the Horizontes Latinos section.

Noise is Beristáin’s third feature film, after I do not want to sleep alone (2012) which premiered in Venice and goodbyes (Jury Prize at the Morelia Festival). He has also directed some episodes of series such as Luis Miguel: the series and Story of a crime: Colosio.

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In Cuenca women embroider messages of resistance in the midst of social protest

How has your relationship as mother and daughter been in this cinematographic experience, both from acting and from behind the camera?

Julieta: It is extraordinary to be directed by your own daughter, my eldest daughter, who grew up in theaters since she was a child, on some television sets and who knows the world of acting and feels a lot of respect for our work. Since she returned from the CCC (Cinema Training Center), this is her third feature film, which obviously makes me feel like a very proud mother, as she has done very well so far with her films. She leads honestly. She studies and knows what she wants. She takes her time, as happens in all projects, but she has given me the satisfaction of playing a leading role in the cinema again, which I haven’t done for years. She implies carrying that weight of the leading role, knowing that the issue would be very painful and that we had to focus on what she as a director wanted from me as an actress. My preference is drama, so somehow everything flowed under her direction with this issue that we have been suffering for years, so violent and so difficult, so cruel, so without resonance and without solidarity from our governments.

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The film goes deep because of its theme that is reflected in many countries around the world…

Natalia: Yes, and I question precisely that, how a film that is apparently very local, rooted in the violence that is experienced in Mexico day by day, of which we women are victims, in the end, within the different contexts of each region, of each country, can also resonate for other reasons. This has helped us to realize that we must protest and shout so that this does not remain indifferent.

From there the title, Noise?

Natalia: Yes. The film is crossed by very violent, brutal stories, that’s why what matters to us is precisely to make “noise”. And that the noise bothers, is uncomfortable, that is chaotic and violent. We have to be in solidarity with these broken families who need visibility.

The embroidery worn by women in Noise, is not only a form of denunciation, but also a way of vindicating one’s own art. Is it also a type of group therapy?

Julia: For a long time I wondered what Julia was doing. How was that life that she had been disrupted from the moment that this mother begins to look for her daughter, and that she stops being Julia when she is pierced by so much violence. In the midst of this questioning, more and more in the marches and demonstrations that we attend, I noticed these embroideries, which in some way echo past struggles, like the Mothers of May in Argentina, with their white handkerchiefs in head. But there is also the embroidery that the black families who made the slaves in the South of the United States did. Since they could not make verbal narrations, then they used these embroideries to put their voice there and tell their stories and that they would be captured there so that they would pass from generation to generation. The embroidery, which is directed to be feminine, allowed to weave networks with other women. It became the backbone of this fight. That is why, for me, the film seeks the possibility of “weaving” bridges towards other generations of women, towards other struggles in the world.

Do you think that through your cinema you can help raise awareness in today’s society about this painful reality?

Natalie: I don’t know. Of course there is a political stance on my part in this film and I am not going to shy away from it. But for me, above all it is about accompanying families who suffer their own pain. It’s not my case, because luckily I don’t have any missing persons. But this experience for me is like accompanying these people and telling them that they are not alone.

What has the documentation process, the work with the associations, taught you about dignity and resilience?

Julie: Everything. If I have understood anything, it is that thanks to people like the “searchers”, such as journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers, mothers of families… they all seek justice without losing their voice or dignity, without losing the possibility of joy, of being able to coexist and connect with others. There is the resilience, there is the dignified rage. It is nothing more than the dark side and the demand, which is undoubtedly the most important of all. But this requirement would make no sense if the other does not exist, if there is no room for joy and hope.

‘Noise’, the story of a mother committed to finding her daughter alive. In the photo: Teresa Ruiz (left) and Julieta Egurrola. Photo: Netflix Photo: Courtesy of Netflix ©2022

Julia’s restrained performance is impressive, despite her deep pain. She stands out in the scene of her silent scream… Is this the result of her long theatrical experience?

Julia: I guess so. I have been an actress for 45 years, especially in the theater, and this counts. In addition, the subject is close to me, very well known. I have supported, I have witnessed destroyed families who have requested the support of artists and intellectuals in Mexico, so that they can participate in their demonstrations, their statements, so that ultimately there is justice. This pain is already marked in our DNA, because my country hurts me. It hurts me that there are so many truncated, broken families. In this situation, I think that the actors, the people of cinema, theater, the people who make art in this country, are indispensable.

What fabric is Julia made of? Is she based on true stories? It has been a long documentation job, but did she have in mind someone she has known?

Natalia: It is an investigation of many years, of many stories read, seen in documentaries, reports, first-hand stories of family members who decided to share their drama with us and who continue to search for their own. But it was absolutely conscious that Julia is armed with many stories. It is not the case of a mother in particular. Hence also the great power of fiction that allowed us, based on this woman, to engage in another series of stories and struggles that take place in Mexico. Julia is built on what she learns about herself and about the other women with whom she crosses her path.

Julia: The desperate families realize that there is no help of any kind, there is no understanding. They change officials and prosecutors at any time, and each new one that enters is to start each file over again. There is a total indifference of the bureaucrats who work in those offices where there is zero empathy with the pain of these families. These groups of mothers who support this character are very human, since they coexist and interact with songs and conversations while looking for bones and missing persons in the hope that something miraculous will happen.

Despite all the pain that the film shows and the number of dead ends, do you think that the new generation of women brings hope?

Natalia: Without a doubt. It’s that if there is no way out, why do I continue living there, why tell this story if somehow I’m going to crash into a wall. I think that feminisms, the new generations of women, the anger that they bring with them is definitely very hopeful. Through this film we have learned that we are not alone. That we are worthy heirs of the generations that have preceded us and that we are responsible for keeping the doors open for the generations that will follow. And that, despite the very complex panorama that we have to inhabit. It is in our hands to change our narratives.

Noise It is available on the Netflix platform.

Source: Eluniverso

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