Luisa Gavasa: “We live surrounded by infamy”

louis gavasa (Zaragoza, 1951) is an actress with very clear ideas. She loves her work and her rings don’t fall off when it comes to doing theater, short films, cinema or television. She does, she regrets it, that’s why, when she reaches an age they limit themselves to offering her papers grandmother, even sick grandmother.

In Sinjar, his latest film, plays one, but it’s different. The film reflects the reality of women in the war, rarely shown in the cinema and in the news as in the feature film by Anna Maria Bofarull. As a great feminist, she was clear that she should be on her team.

Strong conviction actress

Direct Chronicle take advantage of the premiere of the film to speak with the actress, not only about her role, but about her social and political commitment. An advance: she is an enemy of fascism and the extreme right.

The hope he finds her in fiction, which he sees in good health, as well as in the young filmmakers. Of course, in youth, there is also everything.

–Question: What attracted you to the film and how would you define your role?

–Answer: As soon as I read the script I wanted to be, because I am a woman, I am a mother, I am a grandmother, I am committed to women because I am a feminist and because I think Sinjar is a cry against the brutality of fanaticism to which women are subjected, in this case by the Islamic religion, ISIS and all these fanatics. Because all fanaticism is very harmful.

–Does the tape become closer now with a war so close?

–It helps to remember that there are also other wars not so close. Because the war in Ukraine is now very close, but it has also been seen how there were people who went there to see if they were trying to kidnap adolescents to take them to be trafficked. The scavengers that are always around… There are people who always take advantage of this barbarism. We are white like the Ukrainians, we have a similar architecture, we are close, but others are further away, they have a different religion, a different skin tone and it is very good that Sinjar remembers that all this continues to happen, that as we speak there are women who are being sold, kidnapped and raped… And ISIS terrorism is by no means over. We continue to see it in Afghanistan, in Syria… It’s tremendous. We live surrounded by infamy. The horror is everywhere, not only in Ukraine.

–Should the cinema have that role of remembering this type of situation?

–Cinema is a weapon of denunciation, entertainment and culture. Sometimes they can be conjugated, sometimes not. And this is clearly a complaint and it’s very good.

–But when the cinema creates culture, they are accused of being puppeteers.

–I am very indignant when Vox, with absolute contempt, calls us puppeteers. Of course we are puppeteers! Y a great honor! You do not know the number of people who, after the pandemic, have stopped lots of colleagues and myself on the street to thank us. There are people who have told me: if it is not for you, I will die. Also the musicians, the dancers. And when they say: the actors are here… And of course they are, and we have to be there. We are essential. Culture is essential. Complaint is essential. That is why I am proud to be a puppeteer, much more than being from Vox, although it would never be Vox. You can imagine that if I haven’t shut up at 30, how am I going to shut up at 71. That I was born into a dictatorship, eh? It was very difficult for a whole generation many things that we now have. People don’t know how much we’ve had to fight to get here. Me, when we see that we are regressing and returning to situations to which, until recently, it was unthinkable that we could return, the seven evils take away from me.

Actress Luisa Gavasa / EP

Actress Luisa Gavasa / EP

–Precisely, at that time when everything was more difficult and more for a woman, how did you decide to get into acting?

–Because I fell in love with this job. When I first went on stage I realized that this was the place where I wanted to be. It was very beautiful. I was also lucky to have an environment that always supported me: a father who came from the Republic and a mother with a career and who also played tennis, when at that time playing tennis with a skirt was the same as being a whore, which It’s what they also called you for being an actress in that prudish society. I come from that environment that pushes me to be a free woman and to decide what I want to do with my life and what to do. When I finished philology I told my parents that I wanted to be an actress and since then, when my parents lived, I have never missed a bouquet of flowers from them in the theater. When the companies came to Saragossa Vicente Parra, Pilar Bardem, Mari Paz Ballesteros, María Luisa Monte passed by my parents’ house. The great gift of my life are those parents who taught me to live from freedom and respect to all political, sexual choices, not to be racist. I know now I say this that seems old but you have to constantly remind yourself. look at the qatar, who now for the World Cup want to sentence people who have extramarital relationships to seven years in prison, or prevent homosexuals from showing themselves freely. It is not that they are Arabs, it is that fanaticism leads to those things. It can’t be that you throw acid in a woman’s face because she doesn’t want to marry who her father decides or that they keep hanging a man for being homosexual… I hear those things and my flesh opens up. We cannot turn our backs on situations that are there.

–In fact, Sinjar demonstrates that what seems so far away can become a near reality. The son of Nora Navas’ character is going to fight in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq from Spain. Is it a wake-up call about it? How do you see the youth of that country and their approaches to fanaticism in that sense?

I find it very polarized. I see super mature kids, adults, helpers, progressives, who work hard to achieve social and cultural welfare and then a collection of creatures who speak of Francoism with adoration, when they have not even lived it. How can they say such things? I can talk about Francoism, I have lived it and suffered it! That’s why I am so against the advances of the extreme right. There are boys who are 14, 15, 16 years old who take their girlfriends’ cell phones to control them or who don’t let them wear certain skirts because they say they are too short. What are you telling me? How can it be that in the 21st century there is an idiot who comes to tell you if you can put on lipstick or not? That’s why I say that there is a part of involution. Not all, fortunately, but there is a part of the youth that is becoming very handsome. They don’t know what they’re getting into and by the time they’re inside it will be too late.

Luisa Gavasa in 'Sinjar' / FILMAX

Luisa Gavasa in ‘Sinjar’ / FILMAX

–Precisely, speaking of the difficulties to dedicate oneself to the cinema being a woman and “fachitas”. The latest awards for the Spanish film industry at festivals have been for women and the highest grossing Spanish films of the last two months are directed by two directors, Carla Simón and Aluda Ruiz de Azúa. Do you think it will finally prevail?

–He’s going to stay! We women have already entered and no one moves us. Neither Paula Ortiz, nor Nely Reguera, nor Isabel Coixet… We women have entered directing, producing, directing photography… we are no longer makeup and hairdressing or wardrobe as before, with all due respect. Boys can and should too. That’s the wonderful thing. We speak of human beings, not of sexes, and women also have the capacity to carry out the same trades, if they have it, of course.

–A topic that you fight a lot for as a woman is the type of roles that are offered to you at a certain age. Is there a lot of ageism?

–I am 71 years old and I have a full life. And I am a grandmother, but not a grandmother who stays in the brazier knitting, I go to festivals, they give me prizes, I go out, I enter, I have a life, I do not deprive myself of anything, I have many things to have a professional career of almost 50 years. My life is very interesting, even more so than that of a young girl. Being young is great but it’s not everything. Look Judi Dench, meryl streep… There are wonderful characters. Mature women should have a leading role in the cinema as we have in life. I don’t feel older.

–And, as you say, you have a long career in film, theater and television and it doesn’t stop. She even keeps doing shorts. How do you see the short film sector in Spain? There is space?

–I love being with young people because they are the future and they receive a lot of prizes with their short films. I miss one thing that has been lost and that used to be done in theaters was that before a feature film a short. I think it is a practice that we should recover. But hey, as long as they go to see a feature film I’ll settle for it (she jokes resignedly).

–How do we attract them?

–There is a need for films that arrive and that people do not think that the most beautiful things happen through the platforms, they are interesting, they give the actors a lot of work, but going to the cinema is different. You have to go to theaters and see stories told in a different way, because when the light goes out you enter that magic of the cinema.

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