Claudia Llsoa talks about Madeinusa

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Claudia Llosa, director of Madeinusa, was born in Lima in 1976 and now lives in Spain. Her first feature film Madeinusa has been praised in several international film festivals. Madeinusa is the story of a fourteen years old girl who lives in a remote small town. Film starts when this deeply religious town starts to celebrate odd two days holidays. The holidays start on Good Friday at three o’clock in the afternoon (just when Christ dies on the Cross) to Easter Sunday. The whole village believes that the God is dead during those two days and they are allowed to do anything they and no sins is punished. But Arrival of a young man from Lima changes the course of events.
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Bijan Tehrani: Many artists and writers from South America have lived or are living in Spain, is there a reason for that? What is your motivation for living in Barcelona?
Claudia Llosa: I never wanted to stay in Spain, that was never the plan. 5 years ago I decided to move to Madrid to study a master on Scriptwriting. I started writing Madeinusa at the end of that year and to keep on doing that I move to Barcelona for a job on Advertising, just to keep on a little longer with the personal experience of living for once in a life away of my country.
Almost 6 years later I’m still here. What happened? I really don’t know?
The personal stuff get involved with the professional, and I started to create a life here in the beauty CIUDAT CONDAL. So it was like life was indeed deciding for me. Although I still suffer a lot getting along with the “self exile” I’ve some how manage to create a big working-motor of inspiration with nostalgia and the richness of living outside my culture, with a lot of people living outside theirs cultures.
I don’t know how is going to last, but till now I can sure go on like this.

Bijan:. Madeinusa, the name of your main character and the title of the movie could be interpret as Made in USA also, is there any relation?
Claudia: “Madeinusa” is a proper name in Peru. And for me, contains mainly all the concepts that we work on the film: The syncretism, the fascination towards the foreigner, and the influence of different and powerful culture, beyond less powerful ones. And also of course, about the capacity that has these cultures to insert the outside-influence without losing its essence. There are lots of great examples as Madeinusa: Usanavi, Jhonfkenedi, Marlonbrando Huamán. etc. It’s disconcerting but fascinating.

Bijan:. Have you bee influenced by Marquez to make Madeinusa?
Claudia: Many people have related Madeinusa to the Magic-Realism, but I really think the bases are totally different. The Magic Realism is based on the exaggeration of the reality, the Hyperbole, and that’s not the way it works on the film. Everything in Madeinusa is credible and it might happen, in spite that all the elements including the watchmaker are invented, fiction. Anyway, the sensation that keeps the viewer is more related to the surrealism than reality, but I think the explanation is simple: What happens when “reality” exceeds drastically the concept that an imaginary group has for “reality”. The result is related rather to what we call surreal, even though it can be perfectly real.

I’m very interested in the world of the belief, and how it can transform something “un real” into “reality” indeed. It’s like a tunnel that connects fiction with reality.
Of course, in countries where the reality is hard enough, the mysticism and the mythical thinking is full charged, and sometimes is the only way the reality can be understood.

Bijan: . Can we call your way of dealing with reality creation of “Pure Reality”?
Claudia: It’s not really “pure reality”. Because, it’s also a fictional history, and it’s totally the opposite of a Documentary filmmaking approach.

Bijan: A few people from Peru have expressed concerns about the way Peru is portrayed in Madeinusa. What do you think about this?
Caludia: When a filmmaker touches a specific topic I don’t think that his or her intention is to clarify, to deal or to approach one only truth. Simply, to give a point of view that speaks from the emotions and from the unconscious. Filmmaking is a way of communicating sensations, which express a feeling that will never be able to be summarized only in words. Madeinusa, of course, is a fiction and can have several readings. Its symbols depend on the viewer, and what they read on the film depends on their own subjective universe. But I’m the type of person that thinks that when somebody have an emotional reaction on a subjects, it because, deep inside, something is moving. No body reacts on nothing. So in that way I think that what happened with Madeinusa in Peru, was good, because was necessary.

The more we are prepared to accept our own pains, our darkness’s as well as our lights; probably we will be able to go deeply better into us themselves.

Bijan:. How did you choose the visual style of the movie?
Claudia: I surround myself with a great team of artists, Raúl Perez Ureta, Patricia Bueno, Susana Torres, Eduardo Camino, Roxana Rivera, Miguel Rubio, experience and talent were totally necessary. But of course all my experience on filmmaking was totally cero. So I have to put all my work in the field were I feel a little more comfortable. Like with Art Direction. We worked for 7 month on the visual aspects of Madeinusa. Everything was created for the film, the costumes, the house, and the festivity aesthetics.
I just wanted to believe my own film, so I devoted my self and the team to create a beautiful sensation of reality in front of the camera. In a way I was never so comfortable with the cinematographic narrative than with the contents of the story.

Bijan:. Are the actors all professional actors and what was your way of guiding your actors?
Claudia: Almost every one was non-professional. Gigi and Cirilo, where the more prepared of the cast. But the great thing of this kind of cast, its totally horizontal, almost as family. The only thing that matters is the creation of a space of trust in order to make them feel comfortable. That was the most important thing. The rest is in them. Magaly had never gone to a movie theater in her live, and now she is the main character in Madeinusa. That’s a big thing for her. But everything comes from talent and hard work, not from me.

Bijan:. Does MADEINUSA has a US distribution?
Claudia: Luckily yes. Film Movement.

Bijan:. Please tell us about your future projects.
Claudia: I am preparing my following script. And we I will shoot on July 2007. Its called “The Scared breast”, and I’m going to work with a mix cast, professional and non professional, And Ill work again with Magaly Solier, as the main character.
Bijan: Thank you and good luck with your new projects.

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Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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