Laura Ferres: "Social realism seems paternalistic to me"

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El Prat, in the Llobregat River delta, known for its large international airport, developed as one of those commuter towns in the industrial belt of Barcelona: the successive waves of emigrants from southern Spain They quintupled their population between 1950 and 1975. Currently, it is still on the other side of the river, the train tracks, the ring road, and it is a territory that is barely visible in both art and fiction.

Born in 1989 and graduated from ESCAC, Laura Ferres He belongs to one of those families: “My grandfather was from Extremadura, my grandmother from Andalusia, and like so many others they came to work in Catalonia,” he confirms by phone from Locarno (Switzerland), the festival of very coffee growers where his first feature film, the permanent imagewill have its great world premiere this Sunday, competing for the prestigious Golden Leopard, the same trophy that Albert Serra won a decade ago with story of my death.

Already from his short the disinherited (2017), premiered in Cannes and awarded with the Goya among other trophies, Ferrés wanted to portray the city that had seen it grow, and very particularly the closure of his father’s coach company, Pere Ferrés, who confronted him stoically recycling himself as a chauffeur of limousines for cafes. Quite a role model, brimming with good humor and able to dance my dance factoryby Joe Twilight, with a style and flexibility that very few retain at their age, if they ever had.

The permanent image, inspired this time by the family of his maternal grandmother, starts in the Andalusia at the beginning of the 20th century, but most of it is developed again in the current Prat de Llobregat. It’s also a much less grounded film in reality. Although performed by non-professional actors, as in the most “authentic” social cinema, they declaim their lines of dialogue in a very unnaturalistic way and the footage is organized as a series of vignettes, a priori unconnected, extremely aesthetically cared for, through complex flat compositions, and dominated by an absurd humor.

“I think that if you don’t let humor into your film, you can’t have a serious film,” says the filmmaker, who does not deny that costumbrismo that makes up our identity, although she does deconstruct it to embrace a new poetics far from leaden realism. lifelong social. «It is clear that, in everyday life, we have very banal obligations such as going to the supermarket, but If I have the opportunity to make a film, I prefer to allow myself the luxury of being fanciful».

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