With slightly dour charm, Spanish actress-turned-director Liz Lobato presents her debut feature film project “Tierra de Nuestras Madres” as part of the 11th Fanfic Industria’s Ibero-American work-in-progress section.
The absurd fable about globalization takes place in the village of La Mancha, where the residents know each other well and go about their daily lives like clockwork. There, beloved curmudgeon and central protagonist Rosario makes the rounds, selling drug-infused fig salt to her neighbors while the city is unknowingly sold out to them by a bankrupt mayor.
Shot in black and white, the film gives far more than it takes, absurdly telling the grim tale of corruption and a community so tied to its roots that it’s willing to sacrifice a soul or two to survive To remain in place, futile as an endeavor may be.
The project is a co-production between Nieves Moroto of Me Lo Creo Cine (“Valentina”) of Spain, who executive produced the Málaga award-winning title “Miel De Naranjas” at Imanol Uribes, along with Miguelina, TFT and Madrid- based on La Bestia Produce (“En Las Estrellas”).
“Despite the difficulties of funding, Liz has done work that astonishes me by its uniqueness. The story of the film is simple but very profound. Her ability to speak about the meaning of roots, people and their customs is surprising, and at the same time she avoids any solemnity and makes us laugh and cry,” said Maroto. “The film is an almost impossible mix of 1950s Italian cinema and the best of Spanish Luis Berlanga tradition, with some echoes of Pedro Almodóvar’s cinema from La Mancha.”
Before the screening of the film, Lobato spoke along diversity about his story of how life prepared her for the director’s chair and where her creativity will take her next.
The choice of narration really makes the narration stand out. How did this idea of the goat as the narrator come about?
The goat is an animal that lives in austerity, that survives in the wild and has those semi-human eyes that look at you from a different place. The Goat’s narration emerged after the first cut was over: Before that, the Goat was talking to Rosario and watching her from afar. After seeing the first cut we thought we wanted to hear more from her point of view.
The film is partly about globalization. An important subject that you treat with precision, almost satirical. Can you talk about this part of the narrative?
It is clear that we live in a world where the exploitation of the poor and their resources is increasingly accepted, a submissive world where the decisions of big corporations are viewed as if peasants used to look to the sky, subject to the future bring them. “Fight” is a word that is not used, especially among young people. Could the ancients save the world? In “Land of Our Mothers” the peasants who gaze at the sky are from La Mancha, they face the storms that come with the irony of a dry and hostile land where we have learned to laugh at our shadows, to to survive . There, in La Mancha, there is a Don Quixote and a Sancho Panza ready to right wrongs. In her own way.
The cast blends effortlessly into each character. They bring you into the city and make you feel at home with every scene. Narration aside, how did you achieve that sense of authenticity?
First of all, all the actors should be people from Villacañas. Then the 80-year-old protagonist fell ill and Saturnino García joined the cast, a great actor who comes from a small village and has integrated perfectly with the people of the city. Before the shoot we had several discussion rounds on the subject we were dealing with, hidden truths past and present were brought to light. Generally, the actors identified with the theme, so the circumstances were there when we started rehearsals.
How did your studies and acting career prepare you to write, produce and direct?
Philosophy prepared me for critical thinking and a (sadly, sometimes) perpetual questioning of what appears to be reality. Screenwriting studies prepared me to judge what I write. But what prepared me the most for directing and producing was acting, both study and experience. Concentrate on the story and, as my teacher Juan Carlos Corazza taught me, look for the expressive and put aside the graphic to work on the invisible.
https://variety.com/2022/film/global/liz-lobato-tierra-de-nuestras-madres-1235344453/ Sanfic Industria teases Liz Lobato with ‘Tierra de Nuestras Madres’