Amanda Lago: Leading with the senses | Dirigiendo con los sentidos

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A guest post by filmmaker Amanda Lago in English and Español.

Cachito Noguera in Mrs. Poucheau

Cachito Noguera in Mrs. Poucheau

English: Leading with the sensesEspañol: Dirigiendo con los sentidos

Mrs. Poucheau is a timeless story, suspended in circular time. A dichotomy between past and present, reality and dream, life and death, a fleeting moment and eternity. We begin with a woman longing for something, as she’s continuously seeking to come to terms with losing someone she cared about. She does so through an internal dialogue whose main focus is the loss itself. She tries to soften the pain with the sweetness of the memory of her loved one, always present for her and always by her side. Memories, symbols and their related meanings play a vital role within this lost world.

Mrs. Poucheau

She surrounds herself with nature and inanimate objects, which she embraces, smells, smiles to and even talks to, such as her doll Mrs. Poucheau or the wooden beams. These elements are a constant reminder of her past and the person she has lost. She’s comfortable with this bittersweet pain caused by living through an emotional rollercoaster – an endless loop of various degrees of fear and joy. In Mrs. Poucheau, the different stages a woman goes through meet all at once, feeling her childhood, adolescence, maturity and old age at the same time. They tensely coexist in a careful balance of opposing emotions.

Still from Mrs. Poucheau

What was difficult was achieving this timeless emotional atmosphere, where everything happens and nothing happens, presented with enough sensibility to connect with the viewer. The short film format, and the abstract and metaphorical nature of the topic, made it all the more challenging. This meant that I focused on creating something led by senses, rather than traditional narrative. When you are filming it’s almost as if you are not aware of what you are doing, letting myself be guided by intuition and gut feelings. There are only a few moments where you are certain that the film is going the right way and you are only aware of it because of small details and decisions that you take as you go along, based on instinct alone.

Cachito Noguera BTS in Mrs. Poucheau

In Mrs. Poucheau what really mattered was having a great actress, able to shine through by letting everything go. Cachito Noguera loves to improvise, she loves movement and most importantly she was able to feel how the film was developing. That meant that she knew that we were in the process of creating something truly beautiful. Perhaps the other team members only noticed her screaming, dancing, laughing and moving without purpose. But she and I connected, and from that moment on I knew that the film would work because the ‘it’ was already there.

Cachito Noguera in Mrs. Poucheau

I often enjoy filming myself, but in this project in particular I felt it was necessary. I moved around according to what Noguera did; I followed her, to begin with without really thinking about it, but then later I realised that I, the camera, became what she was looking for – the element that could fill the void inside of her. I would be there next to her, close to her face, observing her, looking to really reach and understand her inner self. There was a moment when we were filming in which Noguera was laughing and dancing, with a glass of wine in her hand. She moved and I moved with her, and at that moment I shouted “look at the camera, play with it, this is the person you are looking for”. From then on we created a third bond with the camera itself, as if it were an additional character.

I always seek a certain closeness to reality, almost as a documentary, supported by an oneiric and sensorial world in which nostalgia, melancholia, memories, time and poetry beautifully come together.

Still from Mrs. Poucheau

Mrs. Poucheau es una historia que permanece suspendida en un tiempo circular. Una dicotomía entre pasado y presente, realidad y sueño, vida y muerte, efímero y eterno. Partimos de una mujer que vive en el anhelo, en una pérdida que constantemente intenta mitigar su aletargado luto con su diálogo interior, dirigido precisamente a ese elemento perdido. Intenta suavizar el dolor con la dulzura que le produce el recuerdo vívido de ese ser amado para ella siempre presente, siempre a su lado. Los recuerdos, símbolos y sus significados cobran verdadera importancia en este mundo perdido.

Mrs. Poucheau

Su soledad está rodeada de naturaleza y objetos inanimados a los que a veces abraza, huele, sonríe o incluso habla, como la muñeca Mrs. Poucheau o las vigas de madera. Estos elementos tan presentes evocan a ese ser desaparecido y su pasado. Siente una comodidad con ese dolor y a la vez placer agridulce que le produce vivir en ese bucle infinito de diferentes intensidades de miedos y alegrías, de ese arrebato emocional. En Mrs. Poucheau, las diferentes etapas de una mujer convergen simultáneamente, sintiendo su niñez, adolescencia, madurez y vejez en una, y siempre coexistiendo con una tensión imposible de disipar, balanceándose en esa cuerda de sentimientos.

Still from Mrs. Poucheau

Lo complicado para mi era llegar a conseguir esa atmósfera emocional atemporal donde todo pasa y a la vez no pasa nada, con la sensibilidad suficiente para conseguir crear nuevas conexiones con el espectador, teniendo en cuenta el corto tiempo de la pieza, su abstracción y lo metafórico; mucho más sensorial que formalmente narrativo.

Cuando ruedas, casi no sabes lo que estás haciendo, te guías sobre todo de intuición y de tus propios sentidos. Hay pocos momentos donde sabes que el film va por donde tiene que ir, y lo sabes por pequeños detalles y decisiones que vas tomando a veces sobre la marcha guiándote de tu instinto.

Cachito Noguera BTS in Mrs. Poucheau

En Mrs. Poucheau contaba con una gran actriz, que se vuelca en cada proyecto y deja todo su ser en él. A Cachito Noguera le gusta improvisar, le gusta el movimiento, que todo vaya apareciendo y sé que ella lo podía sentir también. Ella sabía que estábamos creando algo muy bonito; mientras que quizá otros colegas sólo nos viesen dando voces y bailando, riendo o moviéndose por el set sin sentido aparente. Pero nosotras habíamos conectado y desde ese momento sabía que funcionaría porque ‘eso’ ya estaba ahí.

Cachito Noguera in Mrs. Poucheau

En muchas ocasiones me gusta operar la cámara, y en este proyecto lo sentía necesario. Yo me movía dependiendo de lo que hiciese ella, la iba siguiendo, al principio sin pensarlo y luego caí en la cuenta de que yo, la cámara, era él, la ausencia. Que estaba ahí, a su lado, acercándose a su rostro, observándola, queriendo llegar realmente a su interior. Hay un momento en el film que la actriz está riendo y bailando, con una copa de vino en la mano. Se mueve y yo me muevo con ella, como un reflejo, y en ese momento le grité “mira a cámara, juega con ella, ella es él” y a partir de ahí se creó un tercer vínculo con la propia cámara jugando a ser un personaje más.

Siempre busco una aproximación a la realidad, casi documental, ayudándome con esos mundos oníricos y sensoriales, donde se mezclan preciosamente nostalgia, melancolía, recuerdos, tiempo y poesía.

Still from Mrs. Poucheau

Mrs. Poucheau

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About Author

Amanda Lago

Amanda Lago is a Spanish award-winning director. She is a writer, director, composer and editor with the great ability to transfer human emotions onto her films. Conveying relationships, experiences and feelings, she makes use of the cinematic language to share her view of the world. She has directed several commercials, series, fashion films and music videos, with her video for musician Fatal Tiger winning Best Song Soundie 2017 Music Video Awards and his film Alex y Teo winning Video of the Day on VOTD.

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