After the sucessful bow their movie had on Sundance earlier this year, in a phone interview, brazilian director Anna Muylaert and actress Regina Casé spoke to AwardsCircuit about their movie 'The Second Mother', Brazil's submitted entry for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Film category. The movie centers around a housekeeper who takes care of a upper middle class family in São Paulo for decades, her teenage daughter, who comes to live with her and the family after years without personally seeing each other so she can go to a good college, and all the social complications that comes with that.
- The director's motivations to do the movie: Anna Muylaert -"I started to make this film when I had my first son 20 years ago, and my first idea was to talk about the work of mothers. In Brazil, this isn’t valued work and as proof of this, people hire nannies for a very low salary to raise their kids. So that was the beginning, and when I came to the character of the nanny, of course all the economic and social issues came too. And then I took about 20 years to get to the right story."
- The actress' research for the role: Regina Casé -"I didn’t do specific research for the role, but all through my career I’ve been to the places where characters like Val come from, where they live, where they go to dance. In working class neighborhoods and slums. I met various different iterations of Val. So I already had all that information, not just in my career but my whole life. My family comes from the Northeast like Val."
- On possibly being the first female director to represent Brazil at the Oscars: AM -"I think it’s very important. Especially because the film is very beloved in Brazil, so it means the film really represents people. I receive letters every day from people saying “I’m praying for you. I’m praying for the film.” So it’s not only a film by a female director, it’s one that people love. Of course, if we do get the nomination it would be historic for women directors and women in general in Brazil. Also because all the characters are female and the subject is very feminine too."
- On the movie's specific brazilian setting: AM -"Well, when we went to Sundance we weren’t even sure they would understand the story. But from the first screening, I realized it was a universal story. Although it has a lot of Brazilian flavor, but these power relationships are all over. But there are some differences, especially in Brazil, connected to the social class where the theater is. So the rich people, they laugh at certain points where the less privileged persons wouldn’t. For example, when Val comes to the room saying Jéssica got 68 points on the exam. In an upper class `theater, people laugh. It’s like comedy, it’s like “Oh my God. This is not realistic.” When you go to a poor neighborhood, people clap. So that’s the biggest difference."
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Always here for female directors, especially latinas, so slé! ONTD, let's make this a foreign or women directed movies appreciation/recommendations post, shall we? TYFYA!