Elena Martín, interview. Premiere of the film ‘Creature’ at the Cannes Film Festival
Special Envoy to CannesIt’s the first night that Mila and Marcel spend alone in the house on the Costa Brava where they’ve just moved in. In bed, she approaches him with unexpected desire and they begin to kiss, but things don’t go well and, once again, the sex ends amid reproaches and tears of frustration. That’s how it starts Creature, the second feature film as director of Elena Martín, which is presented this Saturday at the Cannes Filmmakers’ Fortnight. Martín plays Mila, who looks for explanations for her sexual blockage – which is manifested by her body in the form of hives – in the past: in the first contacts with the sexuality of the adolescent Mila (Clàudia Malagelada) and in the discovery of her own body of 5-year-old Mila (Mila Borràs). Oriol Pla, Àlex Brendemühl and Clara Segura complete the cast of an audacious film that delves into a territory little explored in cinema: sexuality and its disorders. “Talking about sex is easy. What is difficult is talking about intimacy,” says Elena Martín.
The woman is the sexual object par excellence of the cinema, but a Creature is the subject Female desire and its problems are not usually addressed.
— It is true that there are not many references. During the writing of the script, Clara Roquet and I were looking for films that talked about the sexual awakening of female characters and there are very few of them. And those that exist, even some directed by women, put the protagonist in a position of unavoidable danger.
In what sense?
— In most movies, if a 14-year-old girl is hot, the message is automatically generated that something bad will happen to her. Sexuality is punished from the story itself. And I am aware of the world we live in and the patriarchal context, but I grew up with the idea that my desire endangers it, and not because my parents instilled it in me, but because it is a common narrative in society. And what puts me in danger is society and the education the children receive, not my desire. My desire is not dangerous, it is wonderful, a precious energy that makes me happy.
Creature contemplates Mila’s sexual problems through her past experiences, both as a teenager and as a child. It’s been more than a century since Freud studied it, but childhood sexuality remains a taboo.
— It’s just that it’s a very delicate subject. And, in part, we don’t talk about it for fear of sexualizing it. Childhood sexuality exists, but equating it with adult sexuality is absurd and, depending on how, dangerous. More than sexuality it is an awakening of the senses, but we often judge it as our sexuality because we do not know it enough. I understand that it is difficult to talk about the subject, but it must be done. Creature it’s not a doctoral thesis, it’s a film and it tells a very specific and simple story, but there are many melons left to open.
Shows how the relationship between father and daughter ends up being contaminated by this discomfort with sex and conditions their ability to establish intimacy. It’s sad to see how, despite loving each other so much, it’s so hard for them to touch each other.
— It’s sad and it’s tragic and it doesn’t just happen in the father’s generation, it also happens in the boyfriend’s. Many men feel trapped in the duality between being a monster and a priest. They try to be civilized, feminist, leftist men and always treat everyone well because the alternative is to be a monster, a barbarian or a sexist. And what is perhaps missing are men who tell their story from intimacy and vulnerability. There is a lack of male references who embrace their desires with the awareness of not harming others and enjoying their impulse. Fortunately, there are more and more, but there are still people who say “and now how are we going to tie it with the law of only yes is yes“? If you ask yourself this, you have not understood anything. And so much so that you will tie it, and better, because you will not have to occupy a role that does not belong to you or always take the initiative.
In the teenage segment you introduce the impact of the internet and sex sites on the protagonist. You don’t censor it or judge it, and you don’t get into the debate about pornography either.
— It’s that I don’t actually touch pornography because they don’t watch porn but Chatroulette [web de videotrucades aleatòries] and it’s not the same, because there no one puts anyone on stage fucking but it’s people showing off their bodies. There is no representation, it is all a little more random and wild However, I remember on Chatroulette there were situations where you said… Ugh. And yes, we tried very hard not to judge. When Mila and her friend do a Chatroulette and feel erotic to see a grown guy stripping… I don’t see a problem with it, on the contrary, it’s wonderful. Maybe it’s the first adult penis they see, and they don’t know if it scares them or they love it.
The shot with the girls’ faces transforming is sensational.
— There were people from the team who read the script and told me that the scene was a bit dirty, but it’s not because we didn’t shoot it like that. I really insisted to the actresses that they had to play it like they were running away from home and that it was super exciting, because they were breaking a rule, but they weren’t in danger. Entering the hell of porn representations… I haven’t watched porn for many years, because I decided that I didn’t want to give continuity to this industry.
Speaking of porn, in the sex scenes of Creature you avoid the representation of the bodies and focus on the faces.
— Yes, because in the film the sex scenes are always scenes of dramatic conflict, not sex as per. A lot happens in those scenes and I needed to see the faces of the characters, because they are scenes in which issues are put on the table, doubts are raised and things explode. They were very complex scenes, but the shooting was very easy because we did a good preparation.
Did you have intimacy coordinators on set?
— Yes, the coordinators were at rehearsals and talking to the actresses. I also established a bond of trust with them. As they explained to us, when a person is a minor there is no such thing as consent, especially with a girl, so you have to protect her a lot, because she might think something is fine now but not in a while. And with the teenager it’s important to renew the consent all the time, because maybe she felt comfortable in the rehearsals, but on the day of the shoot she doesn’t feel like it. Or the first take yes, but the second no. And nothing happens, we eat it. It was actually exciting, because it’s very consistent with the movie. One day, in rehearsals, I cried during some exercises we did about asking each other’s permission. “Can I come closer?”. “Yes”. “Can I hold your hand?” “Yes”. “Can I hug you?” Etc. It was beautiful, I wish it worked like this in real life. It doesn’t lack magic, on the contrary, it was magical to see them indulge in each gesture.
By the way, is Mila’s family middle-class and left-wing on purpose?
— It seemed more interesting to me. It would have been easy for the character to have a super-Catholic and conservative background, but I have friends from nuns who had a much more liberated sexuality than mine, precisely because they had an antagonist to rebel against. Actually, we progressives have a lot of problems. The left thinks it is liberated, but historically it has not been feminist. And these contradictions interested me.
*The article has been translated based on the content of Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!
*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.
*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!