Alfredo Arias, Ignacio Masllorens and “Fanny walks”: “We avoid any relationship with the biopic” | They premiere their film about Evita’s confidante

“Cinema is the way that man found to reach immortality thanks to the actors who represent them.” Under that premise, Alfredo Arias and Ignacio Masllorens decided to bring from beyond death to Fanny Navarrothe famous actress who in the 40s and 50s knew how to be an outstanding voice of official Peronismalmost a double of her friend avoid. Starring Alexandra Radano and with the plastic artist Nicholas Costantino in the role of Evita, the Fanny of Fanny walks is a ghost that returns to Buenos Aires after her death, to explore the joys and sorrows, political and private, of a woman who was, from the moment of falling into disgrace (being tortured and proscribed by the Liberating Revolution), an Argentine melodrama.

To the idea of ​​a film embodied by ghosts an ad hoc staging should correspond to it and that is what Arias defines as brechtianMasllorens as metafiction and both like “expressionist peronism”. Fanny walks it is a kind of wandering through the brain that Evita called “my black girl”, where all the situations and characters arise from Fanny herself, absorbed after her return to life and walking through a Buenos Aires always at night, which is a bit the one of the 40 and another little the one of today. About the work of that staging Page 12 spoke with the famous theater director based in Paris, and with the filmmaker who a few years ago knew how to direct, in co-authorship, Santiago’s theorema documentary that follows in the footsteps of another Argentine-Parisian, Hugo Santiago.

-The box question before any co-directed film: how were the roles distributed?

Ignatius Masllorens: – We worked closely together, and that was very good. The direction of actors was more in charge of Alfredo, beyond any suggestion that I could make. Also the movement of the actors within the space, which is one of his recognized talents. The camera setting, the type of framing and the approach of each scene was something we did together. We did not put together a technical script. We looked for many locations, something that Alfredo basically did. Before the day of shooting we went to the location and thought about the plans very precisely, since due to a matter of rolls and costs we could not “cover ourselves”, make many stagings. That choice of plans was also shared. During the assembly I began to work alone, partly because Alfredo was not in the country at many times. From a moment we both worked, and I found it amazing clarity that Alfredo had in terms of where to cut and for what, altering the original script, for reasons of rhythm, movements, everything that specifically does film editing work.

-They made the decision, increasingly rare, to film on celluloid. Why?

IM: – The idea of ​​using 16mm film I think came from the first meeting we had. Alfredo wanted to make a film with the methods of indie movies. When he told me that the characters were like they came out of the 40/50 decade, it seemed to me that the film was the most appropriate. Since they were ghostly characters, I felt we needed touch support, printing them onto film. Also Fanny walks It is a film about cinema, which is why it also seemed appropriate to me to use the technique of that time, although we never set out to film it “as if it were” from that time. Neither mimesis nor parody.

-When dealing with the Argentine melodrama of the 50s, the parody would have been “sung”. Did they explicitly set out to avoid it?

Alfredo Arias: – To avoid the trap of parody we think of French literary films as Indian Song by Marguerite Duras or Last year in Marienbad by Alain Resnais, where the abstract cadence of the diction strongly distances itself from any melodramatic trace, seeking a terrain of abstract affectation.

IM: – From the beginning we decided to incorporate certain more contemporary forms (in performance, or in music, for example) and thus move away from a mere replica or parody.

-Edgardo Cozarinsky maintains that the cinema is a ceremony of invocation of the dead. Fanny walks seems to confirm it like no other movie.

AA: -I believe (modestly) that cinema is the way that man found to achieve immortality thanks to the actors who represent them on the screen.

IM: -To film Fanny walks it was a session spiritism. The self-imposition of using celluloid, and the few cans of film we had made the shoot very intensity. After rehearsing several times, we did very few takes of each scene. Every time the camera started rolling, the entire crew and cast assumed enormous concentration. The scene passed and was filmed. Except for a poor video system that showed very blurry images, we could not see anything that we recorded. It was a bit distressing and fascinating at the same time. Only months later did we find the real movie and then we got to see those ghosts for the first time.

– Is this Fanny a dream Fanny, imaginary?

AA: -Surely we try to avoid any kinship with a format of biopic, where in general an attempt is made to reproduce the chosen heroine like a museum. In this case, Fanny is a poetic presence, consequently phantasmatic. The peculiarity of the film: a character who does not belong to reality tries to find answers to the fanaticism of yesterday and today.

IM: -During filming, half jokingly, we said that we were making a film of “expressionist Peronism.”

-Being an actress, does Fanny put herself in the character of Evita, act her, duplicate her?

AA: -Fanny thought she had tacit permission to put herself -at certain times- in the role of Eva. It is for this reason that, at the fall of Peronism, the Liberating Revolution punishes her ferociously, doubtless believing that by punishing her they are also punishing Eva.

“Is Fanny’s a walk through hell?” Would the “city of shit” be Hades?

AA: -Buenos Aires is ambivalent: it is a chaotic hell and at the same time a fertile ideal setting for strange and intriguing stories. Buenos Aires is a city that one loves and hates at the same time. It is with this feeling that Fanny walks her streets.

-The voices of the other characters are thought as soloists of a Greek choir, understanding Fanny as a tragic heroine? Or are they all voices of herself?

AA: -In reality, the characters that dialogue with Fanny are the product of her narrative. Fanny is the writer of her own melodrama. The voices of the actors give life to a text designed by her.

-Why the decision to show Fanny brunette, and not blonde, as she was known?

AA: -In private, Eva Perón affectionately called Fanny “my little black girl” or “little black girl”. That “black” color referred to a profoundly Argentine feeling, “lo morocho”. Fanny’s dark hair strikes a perfect cinematic balance with the blonde locks of her confidant friend, Eva.

-Regarding the city of Buenos Aires, which the credits record as a character, was the idea to make it a ghostly Buenos Aires?

AA: -The scene that best illustrates our relationship with the past and present of Buenos Aires is the one where we perceive the destroyed facades of the old movie theaters while we hear the voices of performers from that time escaping through the cracks of those ruins. Buenos Aires is a sounding board of the past that struggles to be heard over the threatening sounds of the present.

IM: -Buenos Aires has that peculiarity of being a city that resists transformations and changes very slowly, as if its inhabitants cling too much to the past. It is described very well by that phrase by Martínez Estrada that one of the characters recites: “It is a city destined to collapse, but not with the speed of collapse, but with the slowness of inevitable defeat.”

-At times Buenos Aires is that of the 50s, at other times it seems today, and there are times when it seems timeless. That was the idea?

AA: -Fanny walks reveals our interior and subjective image of Buenos Aires (the one that only exists on the retina of our fiction). We toured it and showed it avoiding illustrating it (as a tourist guide might). We film revealing places without explanatory connotation.

IM: -It was very liberating to be able to film the city in an anachronistic way, without having to respect an era or historical moment. Somehow that brings it closer to a fantastic film. What time does it take Fanny walk? Is it a timeless city where all ages converge? Or is it a ghost story that no one sees as they wander through present-day Buenos Aires? We will never really know.

-Some actors act in a naturalistic way, and others in a more artificial register. What was the idea?

AA: -When the text of the melodrama intensifies we move towards a tone -as you call it- “artificial”. On the other hand, when the sequences get closer to reality, we let a “discreet” naturalistic tone flow.

-A scene shows Nicola Costantino, in character, reading the script. At no time did they think of making this mise en abyss more generalized?

AA: -The mentioned scene is at the beginning of the film. In it, the cast gathers around the plastic artist to listen to Eva’s words and thus give way to the film narration. The meaning of this moment is to establish a distance from a traditional narrative and inform the viewer that they are facing a performance where each of the performers is invited to participate in a ballet of ghosts.

IM: – Fanny walks it is a constant metafiction, where everything seems to refer to artifice. That scene that you say is very evident, and also that the movie begins with Nicola in his workshop, reading for the rest of the cast, it fulfills a function well brechtian. The story we came to see hasn’t started yet, and it only gets going when she starts reading. But then there are also scenes where a film crew appears, in others Fanny speaks to the camera and addresses the audience, and also sees a screening of her film Dishonor at the cinema.

(Image: Sandra Cartasso)

Alfredo Arias, Ignacio Masllorens and “Fanny walks”: “We avoid any relationship with the biopic” | They premiere their film about Evita’s confidante