The Spanish filmmaker Fernando Franco, who established himself with The wound nine years ago precisely in San Sebastián, he returns to the Basque competition to now compete with Spring consecration, a peculiar story of love or relationship above sex, which unites a cerebral palsy with a young student. THE UNIVERSE spoke exclusively with the filmmaker.
How has the documentation process been to make this unusual story?
It has been long, more than difficult. We resort to many sources: movies, books, journalistic material, in short. I myself attended a course on sexual assistance for disabled people in Barcelona. And I must admit that it was quite exciting to get into this project because it is a subject that I do not know. I’ve paid a lot of attention to it and I’ve been discovering a lot of things in the process. The incorporation of Telmo (the disabled) in the film is another step in this direction, since he contributed things from his own condition. In other words, it has been a documentation in real time and in the first person.
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How did you come to unite David’s story of functional diversity with that of young Laura and her search for a sexual identity?
I didn’t want to make a thesis film or one based on lectures. I don’t like theme movies. Although the germ is present here, I try to make more of a representation of the character. For this reason, it seemed important to me to counteract the need for sexuality of a person who has a functional disability due to cerebral palsy, because somehow we have to overcome these a priori prejudices that we generally have in this regard. I chose to play it from a place that affects us all, from our complexes, our insecurities. We’ve all had a defining sexual moment. What happens is that we think a priori that the person who most needs care and attention in this sense is him, when even that pretty girl, who we have seen at a party having a drink, has more insecurities with her own body .
Laura helps her with her sexual needs, just like David, since his disability, helps her a lot to overcome her complexes. In the end, who helps whom the most? How has the script worked to support your story?
It was essential for me that the protagonist was not him, precisely so that a film on that subject would not result, so I have tried to find a balance between the two. Little by little she manages to enter that room, until she reaches to lie down on David’s bed, creating her own space. It is a film about intimacy and it is made against prejudice.
It also involves the religious element in the story. Laura comes from a very Catholic family, but she still decides to carry out this type of sexual assistance…
Yes, I liked to play with that contradiction. In fact, at a given moment she herself considers this as a necessary help, as if with that she had a humanitarian alibi, an NGO, so that everything makes sense. And she has it, because she’s actually helping her. I think that much of the prejudice we have on the subject of sex has to do with the culture in which we grew up. I studied twelve years in a Jesuit school, so it was important to me that there was something of this embodied in the character. In fact, we have minimized it in the montage in relation to what we shot, removing details so that it does not look like an underline.
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Can there be Catholic sectors that can be bothered by this?
We have not had any such reaction. There hasn’t been a feedback negative. But yes, for example, when I was looking for the Colegio Mayor where to film, they didn’t let us in. There was always a predisposition.
The title relates to the Stravinsky piece of music, which is quite avant-garde, and has a lot to do with the film. I guess it’s the birth of Laura.
Yes, it is the birth of Laura. It is the consecration of it, like when a piece of bread becomes the host of Christ. There is no religious component here, although there is a connotation. For me it’s like a taboo, something set aside that suddenly takes on another dimension and becomes something that can be lived in another way. In this case it is sex, and with this invalid person. Transgression, in general, interests me. That does not mean that the film is transgressive.
We find reflections on motherhood in the four Spanish films competing for the Golden Shell at the Festival. Here, Emma Suárez plays this mother out of any norm. Coincidence?
Well, there was nothing premeditated. It was important to highlight the presence of David’s mother, because in the investigations she was a figure that appeared a lot, since the issue of home care has traditionally been carried out by women. She seems to me an interesting and very relevant character to tell everything that is happening there.
The ending is left open, but shows an evolution that results in a release for her. It leads us to different interpretations…
that’s a bit spoilers (laughs). It is about a character who is exploring and is still searching. I like open endings because I find it interesting that each one fills it in a little in their own way and each one gives their own interpretation of it. There are people who get frustrated, that’s why in the classic narrative there is always an end. But I like people to reflect.