“Memory” or the fear of losing your head, by Mexican director Michel Franco

Mexican director Michel Franco has captured his worst fears on screen with “Memory,” a gripping drama about aging dementia with Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard, which premieres in competition in Venice this Friday. I went.

“One of my biggest fears is losing my mind. That’s why I’m interested in exploring dementia,” Franco told AFP in an interview before presenting this film, which he shared with all his previous works. Written and produced as.

Chastain plays a worried, lonely nurse who attends a high school reunion. While out, a man (Peter Sarsgaard) follows her home, and her life takes a dramatic turn.

Michel Franco has spent two decades exploring common themes such as motherhood (“Hijas de Abril”), social relations in Mexico (“New Order”) or incurable diseases (“Chronic”), but from perspectives that hold worrying specificity. Unbalance the audience.

He says that but his films are not born as themes.

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“I don’t look at scripts based on themes,” he says.

“‘Chronic’ came about because I saw the nurse who worked with my grandmother living in front of me every day,” he says.

In the case of this new film, “the first thing that came to mind was that moment when one character follows another at the school reunion. I didn’t know why or who they were. But that was the first thing that came to mind. I .” , please clarify.

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Winner of the Jury Prize in Venice in 2020 for “New Order,” this 44-year-old, youthful-looking director first writes the script in one go, and then documents it to avoid mistakes.

“If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be writing freely. But in this case my instincts were right. What I wrote at the end of the process more or less meant a lot”, he explained.

“Memory” not only addresses the topic of dementia in a person of middle age, but also incest and loneliness in American society.

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With precise dialogue, carved with a scalpel, but also with plans and visual descriptions that don’t need words.

“There are certain scenes like the family confrontation where conversation is primary and there was no other way to resolve it. But whatever I can achieve without conversation is better. The rule is that ‘less is more’,” He explains.

Franco becomes unbalanced as his characters move away from the usual places.

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In “The Daughters of April” (2017), Spanish actress Emma Suárez plays an energetic mother who comes to the aid of her pregnant teenage daughter, but ends up doing irreparable damage.

In a time of demand for empowered women, the theme of the demonic mother reappears in “Memory”.

“I don’t know what percentage of parents fail. They do a very bad job, but it’s a percentage, I don’t know if it’s the majority…” he reflects.

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She adds, “But I try not to see them as villains because then it’s not interesting anymore.”

He says, “I’m interested in broken people, who haven’t fully invented themselves. People riddled with insecurities, with fear give me more confidence than people who think they have it all figured out.” Is.”

This auteur cinema attracted both Mexican and Hollywood stars, a place where Franco hoped never to find work.

He explains, “Where I feel comfortable is Mexico City. There are less rules there. The thing that’s very interesting about the United States is the actors. There are good actors in Mexico, but the big leagues are in New York, Los Angeles. Are.” ,

“I will never work in Hollywood,” he insists. “I will never work for a studio that doesn’t have the final cut of my film.”


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