Paula Hernández: “I really wanted to shoot with two actresses like Rita Cortese and Valeria Lois”

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Mentioning how very happy she was because Las Siamesas [The Siamese Bond] will represent Ibero-American cinema at the Goya Awards, Argentine director Paula Hernández (Buenos Aires, 1969), recently landed in Spain, presented her latest film -today Thursday, October 28, 2021- at Argentina Day at the 66th edition of Seminci. The film, in which she addresses the particular “extremely dependent,” phagocytic and symbiotic relationship between a mother and a daughter with a complex and difficult-to-explain bond. In the Hall of Mirrors at Calderón Theatre she was accompanied by one of the two leading actresses, Valeria Lois, and next to them also sat the directors of the short film, also Argentinean, Mi Última Aventura [My Last Adventure], Ramiro Sonozini and Ezequiel Salinas.

Las Siamesas is based on a story by Guillermo Saccomano. I really wanted to bring together in a film the actresses Rita Cortese and Valeria Lois, with whom I had worked separately, and when I read that story, I was still making my previous film, Los Sonámbulos [The Sleepwalkers], in which I reflected on motherhood. So, the story was useful as a trigger and a starting point, to continue reflecting, until I decided to make a free adaptation and put together a new film,” Hernández explained.

The film was shot in 15 days, with very little equipment, “almost as if it were a short film,” stated the director. It was like “making a film with a group of friends, in freedom,” shooting what they wanted in an austere way but “with a well thought out plan, after having worked meticulously on it.” “The best thing was having these two actresses there,” stressed Hernández, who defined Las Siamesas as “a very simple and light film to make, but with a lot of preparation time behind it.” Because, in reality, it was like finishing one shoot (Los Sonámbulos) and starting another (Las Siamesas), with practically the same team.

Actress Valeria Lois also remarked that meeting between the three of them, the two “inseparable” stars and the director. “There was a great desire to be together doing something, to express and show something together, to strengthen the bond we had dramatically, and the script was put together by the three of us.”

Director and actress also talked about the situation of women in Argentina and in the context of Argentine cinema. “There are a lot of women doing things. In Argentina, since 2015, women’s movements have been very interesting, there was an explosion with that great debate on the abortion law, with the “Ni Una Menos” [“Not Even One Fewer”] movement… All that has been filtering and seeping into other areas of life,” they explained. “Life is much more interesting, for men and for women, when equity exists,” Hernández stressed. “We always had great actresses and directors in Argentina, but suddenly they to be a very forceful, and that movement is already established; we won’t move from there anymore,” said Valeria Lois.

Is it easier to direct a woman being a woman? In answering that question, the director was very clear: “No. What interests me is a look at humanity. Many actresses I work with end up being friends, but the same thing happens with men.”

Las Siamesas will be screened today at 7pm at the Carrión and Calderón Theatres, and on Saturday 30th at Zorrilla Theatre at 12 noon.

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