On the day and time we met, a few weeks ago, they had just suspended sine die the premiere of It snows in Benidorm for the anti-pandemic measures in Catalonia. Isabel Coixet was downcast and, although she lent herself diligently and diligently to the interview and the photo, she did not hide a gloomy and fatalistic humor. The vaccine was not even glimpsed and the panorama did not invite more optimism than that necessary to fulfill, neatly yes, the commitments acquired. That afternoon he planned to get rid of his annoyance by poking the hotel’s youngest champagne and a can of good anchovies. It works for her, she says.
I notice her low morale.
I’ve had better moments, but also worse.
Personal or professional?
From both. But of the seconds I have thought that my career was over many times.
For lack of inspiration?
No, for thinking that what I am telling is of no interest to anyone.
You are either loved or hated.
I know, but that happens to me too with everyone. It is also true that, to the one who relax, some like me, but then they no longer admit it. For some I am like a guilty pleasure that they would never admit.
In his film, Benidorm is like a no place where anything can happen. Did you know him before?
Like everyone else, but I wanted to fantasize about winter Benidorm. That carpe diem of the people of the Imserso who feel free and dance, flirt, do Pilates on the beach. The world of the British, like the seventh circle of hell, and then the world of those who live there. They are different cities, where you can start over.
There is also loneliness. The protagonist is afraid of dying and that no one will close her eyes. That has happened a lot this pandemic.
I heard that in a song by Antony and the Johnsons, it really impressed me. And, yes, it is amazing. The movie was shot before lockdown, but it has a lot of Ballard [escritor inglés de ciencia ficción]. There is an atmosphere like the end of a way of life, and I feel lucky to have caught it. It is my song of the towel swan, like the one that is modeled every night on the protagonist’s bed in the apartment hotel.
Is that what you’re thinking of throwing out the ditto?
No, I don’t want to believe it. My life as a filmmaker does not end, I have many projects. Now, conceiving a film for the cinema, as it is … I don’t know if it will happen again. I wish I was wrong.
There will always be other screens.
For me it is the end of an era. This film is intended for the cinema. It is an atmosphere that has to be tasted in a certain way. I have worked for platforms, but I am a film woman. My grandmother was a box office, I grew up in a living room. Of course I watch movies at home, but it’s like when you order food at home: no matter how good the food is, it’s not the same.
The same is his turn to reinvent himself.
I’ve done all the clicks in the world. I have a lot of silence in this. I have sucked a lot of colloquia in the strangest places. I have shot movies with incredible budgets and documentaries of being three in a tent without a bathroom or a shower for miles. I adapt.
In an Ikea ad, you laugh at yourself saying you turned down a movie that won multiple Oscars.
Yes. Guess: I turned it down because the script included an actress, Sandra Bullock, who I didn’t see in the role. Nobody listened to me when I proposed to another. Then Clint Eastwood came along and cast Hillary Swank, who I had thought of. Yet lord they did listen to him.
Have you noticed professional jealousy of ‘gentlemen’?
Of the talented men I know, no. There is a generation of great new female directors who are going to make him a bitch. Some men may be scared, but the ones that interest me are not. They rejoice.
What men are you interested in?
I had a prototype, which they say in First Dates, a program that I love. It was a mixture of Anthony Bourdain, the chef who committed suicide, with that vein he enjoys and cultured, and Keanu Reaves, who is not the best actor in the world, but who in my head is a very good person and now, in addition, he goes out with a woman with gray hair. But now I have my partner, who is quite a prototype too.
Reed Brody, a Human Rights Wacht attorney, a ‘hunter’, does that add up?
Also, that. Is there anything sexier?
You met him past 50. Did you feel the invisibility that some people talk about at that age?
Not at all. There are various ages of the turkey, until Thanksgiving arrives. But yes, there is a very cruel thing with the actresses. The protagonist of It snows in Benidorm, Sarita Choudhury, is a 51-year-old woman who has not done anything and who stops the beautiful traffic. I wanted to show that too.
And that she falls in love with the least expected type. It’s never too late?
When nothing happens, there is always the promise that something will happen. That is why meteorology has so much role in the film. The idea of the sun after the storm. Summer after winter. She sees him as a poor devil and suddenly he tells her that she is the most beautiful woman in the world, but she is alone. And falls in love. Everyone has hidden bumps. Even the most bland type and the most banal woman.
Sometimes summer doesn’t come.
It comes, and if it doesn’t come, you make it come. You are looking for it. Maybe it is not the one you were looking for, maybe it is something else, but it comes. I think men age much worse than women because they don’t know how to do it. There are peterpanismo even in men of 70. I see women, especially from a certain age, for those things with tremendous clarity. If there is no one to close your eyes, if they are open, what are we going to do.
If not that, what are you afraid of?
The anxiety that something tremendous could happen at any time I have been a series since I was little. There are so many open fronts: the personal, the professional, especially since filming ended and the world stopped. Things are crowding me. I don’t know how to ride the wave of uncertainty.
Is it tiring to be Isabel Coixet?
When they ask me, like you right now, it’s exhausting. Hey, I’m going to Mercadona, I’m not out there all day improvising intense and melancholic stories. For me, the drama is reaching the fried onion shelf and not having it.
And why does he drag that fame?
Because people can’t conceive that I like it First Dates and Ballard. It’s like they have to put you in boxes. And I resist the box. You can’t put me in one.
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