humor against the inevitable


From this Thursday, July 6, the second film directed by the actor Fernán Mirás can be seen in theaters: Casi muerta. The first is remembered, The weight of the law (2017) defined as “criminal drama”. Now he co-wrote a comedy and the cast includes: Natalia Oreiro, Diego Velázquez, Paola Barrientos, Ariel Staltari, Alberto Ajaka and Violeta Urtizberea. This fiction is an adaptation of the Basque film Bypass, which was nominated for several Goya awards. It is Mirás himself who clarifies it: “It was the producer of the film, Rodrigo Vila, who was able to direct it for me. I knew him from before, since he had co-written and directed The Last Man, where the protagonist was Hayden Christensen and I was in the cast. We started looking for scripts. We wanted a comedy. The weight of the law had been harsh enough. He told me to watch Baypass and we agreed that he should have more prominence, who only had a month to live. He tempted us to make fun of the fear of death that we all have. Sometimes it becomes dramatic and other times laughable, with a lot of black humor. We want people to have fun, but also to talk about friendship and the fear of death. I couldn’t help but smuggle in something deeper. For that the film has a great cast, since they can go from drama to humor”.

—Why did it take you so long to film again?

FERNAN MIRAS: It’s very difficult to film in Argentina and I’m very happy that the film is opening in theaters. The process appeared five years, but I got sick and filming was delayed. It is very complex to get to put together a project, it is not so long for me if I think that I am just starting.

—Did you change the script after your illness (aneurysm) in 2021?

M: At the time I thought that something that had happened to me partially modified the script and reaffirmed it for me. The process I went through was very intense and funny, and that was the same idea with whom we finally wrote the script: Rodrigo Vila and Beatriz Carbajales. It is quite absurd that you give someone a month to live. We felt that it was a tremendous time, because you can’t do anything. I understood a lot about the emotional states that María (Natalia Oreiro) goes through. In my case, everything was very fast. They examined me and told me in twenty minutes I had to operate and that it was very risky. He had only that time to decide. I thought: “What do I do? Am I going to see the Obelisk? I started laughing and told them ‘operate on me’. That really helped my idea of ​​the script. The theme is not death, but the fear of it. The characters are alive, they are not on the other side. They are terrified of death, both she and her friends who want to help her. In fact, no one names her, nor do they want to talk about it. It seems to me that the film gives the excuse to see how absurd one can react to the fear of death. It is an empty sign. That is the trigger.

—This character faced you with death? How will you relate to the topic?

NATALIA OREIRO: Before I became a mother, it never crossed my mind that I could die. When you are young you don’t even think about it, although I was close to friends with illnesses, but they can cope with them. As a UNICEF ambassador for the Río de la Plata, I worked in Uruguay with childhood cancer. But the simple fact of taking a plane today scares me, because I have a young son. Maria, my character, she is not a mom. I am afraid of physical deterioration, I would like to be able to say goodbye and not be a burden on my close affections. I would like to have mind and body to fend for myself.

—How did you feel when you touched on the subject of death?

M: Two very close people died near me and with a great sense of humor. One was my mother and another very young friend, who made me the best jokes in the hospital. They both made fun of my solemnity, something of that I wanted to represent in the role of María. I have great respect for people who confront her with a great sense of humor and I wanted the protagonist to be like that. She made me feel that humor was invented in the face of the inevitable. It amuses and entertains us but in the face of the inevitable it helps to cope with it. When I started reviewing the script I thought let’s laugh, although it’s a serious topic, we should leave the solemnity and find out how absurd we can be in front of this.

—How to experience the hospital scenes? Did you feel more exposed?

O: I don’t remember them very well. But the strangest thing is that that day that she used to film me I felt bad and had a fever. I didn’t want to suspend the recording because in the cinema losing a day is very complicated financially. There were three scenes and we did them continuously. I was very emotionally exposed. I think you see a lot of physical truth, a broken, anguished, haggard and hurt woman. I am moved when I see truth in the cinema, even if it is in a comedy.

—You filmed Iosi in Montevideo but in a pandemic. What was it like to do it now?

O: It is always very good to film close to my parents, who live in Montevideo. It is doing what I like the most and having them there. Uruguay has very good locations and technicians. I was able to combine the recordings with the two programs I was doing for Uruguay: La voz and Got Talent. At sixteen I came to live in Buenos Aires and when I return I’m not at my parents’ house, but I have a beautiful relationship with them and they came to the set to see me. It is a very relaxed climate in Montevideo, due to its proximity to the beach and the boulevard. I am very proud that it was also filmed there.

—You won many awards with dramas: what do you feel when you are summoned for comedies?

O: If recognition began to happen to me with the drama, I think it was with Infancia clandestina after Wakolda, Gilda, Eva and Iosi. Characters of very strong women, with raw stories, where one is very committed to the body, diving into the darkness that one may need. Both Re loca, the previous comedy and now Casi muerta have a lot of depth that reflect women who are going through difficult times in their lives. I believe that humor saves us from inevitable situations, such as death. I appreciate when they call me for this genre. I accept when the scripts are intelligent as it was in the case of Martino Zaidelis and now that of Fernán Mirás, he is also a great actor and can transmit the search in the interpreters.

—Do you think that Argentines have a particular humor?

M: When I traveled to some festivals with El peso de la ley, many talked to me about humor, as if it were a characteristic of Argentine cinema. I didn’t know it was interpreted that way. I think there is a relationship between Argentine and Italian humor, I even feel that they have quite a few things in common. We are a bit like tango and at the same time very Italian. My family is Spanish, but they all saw Italian cinema. I don’t think we realize it, but we have a very unique type of humor.

Platforms, tours and open television

At first it was anticipated that the male protagonist of Casi muerta would be Juan Minujín. Now Fernán Mirás makes it clear: “Initially, very early on. Juan (Minujín) who is a very close friend of mine was going to play the role of Diego Velázquez. But every time the project progressed and he used the green light to film Juan couldn’t, because he had problems with dates. At one point he told me: do it without me, because I’m complicating your schedule ”.

Natalia Oreiro is not just an actress or director: she has a very important career as a singer. She affirms of her tours: “Each trip was a story. I have a very strong bond with Eastern Europe and with Israel. I think the one that struck me the most was Haiti. They are very loving and happy people. I think half the island attended my shows.”

Oreiro was the great protagonist of novels that marked not only the Argentine public. She reflects: “I am making a lot of series and movies, because it seems to me that it gives us great visibility abroad, for everything that is done in Argentina. Today the platforms give us that possibility, I felt it with Iosi and with Evita, at the time I lived it with novels and films at festivals. Since I started on television, I am in love with the genre and I refuse to think that there will not be more fiction on air television. But unfortunately it is very complicated and it is difficult to sustain them financially. This year he will use a project but it had to be postponed due to the economic reality of the country and I don’t know if it can be done. I think that the people at home deserve to see fiction on open television. Hopefully we can make it.”

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