• Conversation with Victoria Abril

      FEST 2016 / News / Conversation with Victoria Abril
      04. March 2016.
      Now I’m shooting a series in France and I am very content. This year Nacida para ganar will screen in Spain, by an incredibly talented director, Vicente Villanueva

      Are you aware how many fans you have in Serbia? Spanish film is very appreciated here.

      Yes, I am! This is the second time I’m in Belgrade, I have already been here in 2000, when I sang and presented my album. I have given many interviews yesterday and I am thrilled that they were all in Spanish - all of the reporters spoke Spanish! Usually, when I have a promotion in Europe, it’s English that everybody uses, this is the only country where everybody uses Spanish. I realised that it’s mostly because people here, in Serbia, and in the Balkans in general, learn Spanish through the films and TV shows. At the same time, I have noticed that there is something in the Balkans that I find very familiar. I have visited Macedonia while shooting the Mitevski sisters’ film, and I have noticed a great similarity to my Andalusia during the sixties, where I spent my childhood. This fantastic rainy day in Belgrade reminds me of Madrid from the eighties.

      You played an important part of the Movida movement during the eighties. What are your memories from this period?

      I moved to Paris for love, at the very beginnings of the movement, but I often returned to Spain because of work. It was during the eighties that my relationship with Almodovar started, and even though I lived in France, I collaborated with almost all of the important Spanish directors of the period.

      You started out as a dancer, and you have been known to say that it’s been a lucky circumstance that you turned to acting, since the physical pain finally subsided. Is there really no such pain in acting?

      I have always wanted to dance, but when I was 14 I realised that I needed to find some other vocation, because I couldn’t stay in the classical ballet all my life. I was supposed to become a secretary, but at that point I started acting and ended up shooting 5 films. When I made my fifth film, Cambio de sexo with Vicente Aranda, I put my ballet slippers away and decided to become an actress. The difference between film and dance is precisely that - in the film, you don’t have to suffer, bleed and come home in tears, it was much easier. This film was about a young boy who wishes to become a girl, and it was this moment when I realised that film has a therapeutic value, not only for us who make it, but also for those who watch it.

      Your female colleagues complain that, for women of certain age, there are simply no good roles. What do you think about this?

      That’s true. A damned decade for the actresses is their forties, the directors don’t write roles for us in that age. Those are only roles of disheartened, jaded women, the directors don’t want you to be a woman any more, not really - to be sensual, to take your clothes off, to make love. So, in my forties, I decided to enter a musical adventure. Thanks to the music and my fans, the forties turned out to be the happiest years of my life. I think that the problem with that particular age is that you’re too old to play a younger woman, and too young to play an older one. No panic, though, it all settles once you reach the fifties. At that point, actresses can play grandmothers, mothers, daughters and aunts.

      You are an actress of a world reputation; what was it that directed your career, that marked it?

      The key moment, when I decided to be an actress instead of a dancer, came with Cambio de sexo - my first film with Aranda, with whom I continued to work my entire life, 14 films in 30 years. Almodovar is an internationally most famous director I have worked with, we made 3 films in 5 years, but my professional career in film lasts for nearly 40 years. If you asked me whom I considered to be the sole person that has influenced my career, it would be like asking me to take one screw from a ladder, it would all fall apart. To me, all of the films are important, even the unsuccessful ones, because that’s what you learn from.

      Is film different now than it was in the eighties, how has the cinematography changed?

      The difference between the eighties and today is that there was no political correctness back then. Tie me up! Tie me down! couldn’t find a producer today. We had much more liberty then.

      What’s your status in Spain today? You have a premiere after a nearly 10-year hiatus.

      I have made over 100 films in Spain, I have been nominated for the Goya award many times. Since I started singing, I have been doing significantly less film related work. Now I’m shooting a series in France and I am very content. This year Nacida para ganar will screen in Spain, by an incredibly talented director, Vicente Villanueva. It’s a dark comedy, the type of humour we’ve had a long time ago, when we were being censored. I am very proud of that film.