One of the five projects of the 5e Incubator of ECAM Madrid Film School, a six-month mentoring initiative for producers, “Macrame” explores the politics of sex in the story of a 70-year-old bourgeois woman passionate about macrame.
Her life changes dramatically when her 64-year-old Ecuadorian housekeeper makes her feel the knots in her skin, triggering a mutual exploration of the Japanese art of erotic bondage.
The Spanish romantic drama is written and directed by Barbara Magdalena and produced by Iván Luis and Andrea Jaurrieta of Lasai Producciones.
Given Magdalena’s background in design, the project in development should have a compelling visual aesthetic. Magdalena and her producers spoke with Variety to discuss the development process and the challenges ahead.
Andrea, Did you make “Ana by Day” and are you already making another feature film “Niña” with Bteam, Irusoin and Lasai. But at the same time, you are producing Barbara’s film with Iván Luis. Is the idea for you both to produce and to direct?
Jaurrieta: I consider myself mainly as a director, but Iván and I produced ‘Ana by Day’ together and now on ‘Nina’ we are also co-producing. So we set up this production company to support my own films and the projects of other emerging directors that seemed interesting to us. We wanted to support them because we know that for the next generation, if you’re doing cinema that’s a little bit different, it’s hard to get it done in the system. We think we can bet on new voices, which is why we decided to produce Barbara’s project at the same time.
Luis: I would add that Barbara’s film “Macramé” is our first project of which Andrea is neither the director nor the co-producer. We’ve produced other people’s shorts, but this is our first feature.
When you say that the new generations make cinema a little differently, I think there is a much more serious social conscience than in the generation of the 90s. And that seems to sum up a cinema that has more to do with the cinema of 1970s, from the transition, until the Balmaseda law in the 1990s, which prioritized box office success and made Spanish cinema one of the most mainstream in Europe. I have this impression with the new subsidy system, it means that you have to co-produce with other companies to collect enough points for a project.
Jaurrieta: It is precisely because of this point system that we are going to San Sebastián because we are looking to co-produce with a bigger Spanish company that will help us earn these points. The system is a bit tricky in that sense, but we believe there is a new generation of producers like Irusoin, pushing and betting on new talent.
Luis: When you bet on a film that a priori is not a blockbuster, I think it is important to establish synergies with other production companies precisely to set up the financing structure which would otherwise be complicated. We need to forge alliances to make bigger but not necessarily mainstream movies.
Barbara, Your film is about marginalized people, not just as characters, but in their traditional importance as film characters. Immigrant domestic workers, when appearing in a film, with few exceptions, normally have two lines. “Yes ma’am” or something like that. Your film is its apology and pleasure. It’s radical and it breaks taboos.
Barbara Magdalene Yes. Well, I completely agree. A key point is to take these characters who are not usually protagonists and bring them to the fore, to create complete, authentic characters, with particular and concrete desires that come out of the norm. We are in a private sphere and everyone develops their sexuality in a particular way. For me, in a way, it has been with the characters, a kind of socially forbidden alliance between two women to claim a type of pleasure that has been denied to them because of their situation. Simona, raised in Spain after Franco, suffered sexual repression all her life. And Lara for the same reason in her country. It’s a film that moves a lot in the dualities, between shadow and light, upper class and lower class, and which somehow presents two sides of the same coin. The film has several layers: sexual, psychological and social.
What phase is the project in?
Magdalene: We’re finishing the script so it’s in an early phase.
Jaurrieta: We have a new version of the script that we will use to find co-producers. We hope to start with development assistance and funding and then move into production by 2024. What Iván and I have learned with “Ana de día” and “Nina” is that you don’t have to really not be in a hurry but rather take your time. time to find the best possible travel companions for the project.