Constanza Fernandez – Interview (A Map for Love)

A Map for Love is a quirky tale of lesbian love, coming out, the meeting of a difficult in-law and a highly uncomfortable boat trip they all take together. Sweet, funny and engaging, this is a film well worth seeing, especially if you can relate to winning over in-laws although I would hazard a guess that you may not do it in quite the same way (unless I’m just missing a trick…)

 Ahead of the release of ‘A Map for Love’, I spoke to the director Constanza Fernandez about this unique story, the importance of female directors and her views on LGBT cinema.

 

 What sets A Map for Love apart from other LGBT films at the moment?

Although the movie plot begins with a ‘coming out’ – a rather popular LGBT topic – it is only a starting point to talk about generational and moral issues in a more general context. If I was to pick a genre for my film I would say it is mainly a character movie.

What attracted you most to this particular story?

The movie is largely autobiographical; doing the film allowed me to confront my personal story. But in the end the plot is fictional; starting from real characters and adding fictional elements to them resulted in a very attractive process to me. On the one hand “knowing” the characters boosted creativity and consistency; on the other hand imagining these real people in fictional scenes told me a lot about them, or about how I think of them.

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Do you identify as a person with either Roberta or Javiera? Did this affect the way you directed the movie?

Yes, the starting point of Roberta’s character was I and everybody on set was wondering about how much the actress acts similar to me. In some ways that was a problem of expectation of the crew, for me it was just a starting point and the actress finds her way from the script and not from me. Definitely the final result was not me, and that was fantastic therapeutically. The character that I thought I wanted to tell, takes me on other paths, and other places, toward other discoveries.

There has recently been debate about the hugely successful Blue is the Warmest Colour being a film about lesbians directed by a man, do you think a woman would do a better job?

I think Blue… is a great movie, and is a very Kechiche movie with his aesthetic choices, his obsession with the face of Exarchopoulos and nobody could do better in this way. But if you consider the movie just a love-romantic story and a film of passage from childhood to adulthood through a lesbian love, probably a women would impart further complexity to the characters and situations I think. I am quite sure with the advice of lesbians that the sex scenes would have been different. In any case it would have been very happy to see a movie like this in my teens, when my options were only heteronormative.

There are some uncomfortable scenes in this movie, how did you get the balance right between gently awkward and downright disturbing?

It was always a doubt if I get this balance or not. I think the point was to believe enormously in the situation, believe that were all elements installed for something like that could happen and it if happened was the point of the film, because there are two opposing worldviews in play.

 What do you think about LGBT cinema currently, is there anything which stands out for you?

Personally I’m not interested in traditional LGBT cinema, i.e. the classic question posed by the homosexual issue. But I’m interested that deep and complex LGBT characters populating the films, any films. I love new films like Laurence Anyways or old movies like  Being John Malkovich, where homosexuality talks about something else.

What’s next for you as a film maker?

I am working on a script about the relationship between an old sick person and the medical institution. The patient is a female doctor who has been experiencing the change from treating the person to using the current medicine that treats illness.

 

A Map for Love was released on Monday 10th February and is available now from Peccadillo Pictures.

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