Who was Natalia Beristain before becoming a director?
Film and theater have always been in my life, and I mean that literally. I come from a family with a long tradition in acting; my parents, brothers, grandparents and great-grandparents are/were all actors. So I believe it was only natural for me to walk in that direction; it’s just that in my case I knew since a very young age that my real interest was behind the camera or behind the stage.
I’ve been working on films for a while now. First I studied cinema and then started working as a script supervisor and finally found an interesting place for me, and my special love for actors, as a casting director.
Why did you choose this story for your debut film?
No quiero dormir sola is a very personal film. Even though it’s certainly a fiction piece it’s also based on my relationship with my grandmother Dolores. So in spite of how difficult it was speaking and recreating some personal moments of my life, it also seemed as the most natural and honest way of speaking about several themes that really obsess me: What does it mean to grow old? Where does old age lie; the skin or the heart?
How was working for the first time on a feature lenght film?
Since it was a very low budget film, it resembled the experiences I had gone through in film school, I felt at ease; so apart from worrying about being able to keep track and control of the whole film for a longer period of time – which I was not used to as a director, although I had already worked in many feature film productions – it all worked out just fine.
How was the experience on the set? (Most satisfying and more difficult moment?)
Looking back, I would probably say that the whole experience was satisfying. Being able to create a good, friendly, productive working enviorment for everybody who worked on the film is probably what was most significant for me.
On the other side, the most difficult moment, at least for me, had to do with what is probably one of the most important scenes of the film, one in which the two actresess had to bear it all and expose themselves in their flesh, no make up or beauty filters involved. We all knew the result would be beautiful and extremely valuable for the narrative, but it was hard getting it done.
What does the female body express in your film, and why did you choose to put it at the (visual) centre of the narration?
I believe the body may be the only certainty, the most concrete of surfaces in which we can count on. So with this in mind is how the DP and I decided to explore the narrative of the film. One of my main concerns while shooting the film was to get pass the idea that being old means losing your beauty; so in order to make this point very clear, we decided to go extremly close to the bodies, to discover them through the loving gaze of the other.
At the moment, do you have any idea for future projects?
I’ve just started working with good colleague, Hugo Alfredo Hinojosa – one of the most interesting young playwriters in Mexico – on a new script. I can’t say much about since it’s on a very early stage, but the general theme has to do with Mexico’s present violent social context.
Last year you were at Venice Film Festival as a producer. How does it feel to come back as a director?
It’s an amazing feeling. I couldn’t be more excited. It makes us feel that all the hard work is getting rewarded and that it really doesn’t matter if your film was made with a very small budget, what’s important is having a good story and being honest with the themes that you are exploring; that’s what makes it connect with others.