Rétrospective en présence de la cinéaste14 - 30 Jun 2019
The event is over
Teresa Villaverde occupe une place singulière dans le paysage cinématographique européen. Elle réalise son premier long métrage, Alex (A Idade Maior), à 25 ans à peine, en 1991. Elle connaît l’unanimité critique en 1998, avec Os Mutantes, film sauvage qui met en scène des adolescents en rupture totale, présenté en sélection officielle Un Certain regard, au Festival de Cannes, la même année, et qui reste l’emblème de son cinéma rageur et irrémédiablement féminin. Suivront notamment Transe, en 2006, puis Cisne, en 2011. La cinéaste portugaise tourne son regard, depuis le début des années 1990 vers les laissés-pour-compte de la construction européenne, enfants et adolescents, femmes isolées, candidats à la migration.
Dans une économie réduite, elle construit une œuvre constituée aujourd’hui de plus de 10 films, tous présentés dans les festivals internationaux, dont la radicalité n’est pas la moindre cohérence, mêlant poésie pure et engagement, s’autorisant des détours réguliers vers le fantastique. Alors que Contre ton cœur, son nouveau long métrage, sort en salle, le Centre Pompidou rend hommage à Teresa Villaverde, pour la 1ère fois en France, à travers une rétrospective complète qu’elle accompagne aux côtés de ses invités (Maria de Medeiros, Mireille Perrier, Robinson Stévenin et le cinéaste Tonino De Bernardi).
La cinéaste lusophone donne une masterclasse, animée par Antoine Guillot, et présente également un court métrage inédit, Ou en êtes-vous, Teresa Villaverde ?, réalisé au Brésil, à la demande du Centre Pompidou, dans le cadre de sa collection éponyme.
every days except tuesdays
Interview with Teresa Villaverde
You have made more than ten films since 1991. How has your work evolved?
Teresa Villaverde ‑ You might think it’s easy to answer that question but, for me, it’s difficult. Frankly, I think that each time I make a film (I’m talking about feature films), I’m almost always starting out in unknown territory. Something is pulling me in the direction I’m going in. I go there, but it’s new and each time I have the impression that it’s a completely new process. Experience is a precious ally. It enables us to save time. Experience allows us to find our way more quickly and, if you’re lucky, it enables you to fall into fewer traps. I began relatively young. I got a budget to make my first film when I was 22. I also believe that my evolution as a director is closely linked to my own personal development. That may be one of the reasons why it’s difficult for me to answer that question! The question could also have been what stage am I at today and what has really changed in me since I started out as a director, and I really don’t know how to answer it! Perhaps the greatest difference is that in the beginning I saw the films I made from the inside. And now, even when I’m shooting them, I can have a more external view. But I really don’t know if we can speak of evolution. It’s probably just a difference and that may change again some day.
In 2011 you said: “The strength of the fragile represents beauty, whereas that of the powerful is an obscene thing." Do you think that could describe your relationship with cinema?
TV ‑ Perhaps. But I think that today I am probably less radical, more tolerant and capable of seeing beauty at different levels and in different places. Perhaps what shocks me most is the arrogance and ignorance of the people who seek power, the power to crush others, the power to have more power. And, if we think about it, power isn't only dangerous, but it’s also empty and vulgar. Power is nothing compared to beauty. It destroys, kills people, etc. Yes, although I don’t constantly think about those themes, my films generally show a lot of those paradoxes.
Maria de Medeiros, Ana Moreira, Beatriz Batarda… you create broad female characters. Do you particularly enjoy working with actresses?
TV ‑ I adore working with wonderful people, I adore actors, I am passionate about the actresses you have just mentioned. They are the life and soul of the films. One of the most gratifying things for a director is when they give you more than they thought they had and more than you asked of them. I am enormously grateful to these people, they have enabled me to experience great moments in my life. In Contre ton cœur, you could say the leading character was a man, and it was also fantastic working with him. I don’t think it makes any difference working with a man or a woman. I have also worked with wonderful men and absolutely wonderful children.
Contre ton cœur, your latest film, presents the human impacts of the crisis in southern Europe, would you say it’s a political film?
TV ‑ Yes, but in the same way that so many things in our lives are political. Sometimes, in a crisis period, other crises that were there all along become more visible. In the case of Contre ton cœur, I don’t think the film talks about what everyone called the crisis at the time, but about crises that were there well before it and are still here. For example, the loneliness of people who live in cities, the lack of love for their work, the weariness of everyday life and so on.
Interview by Sylvie Pras and Amélie Galli
Cinema division, department for cultural development
In Code couleur n°34, may-august 2019, p. 56-58