A Fantastic Woman, Chilean Sebastián Lelio has once again triumphed in Berlinale

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Yesterday finished the second main international film festival of the circuit, Berlinale, where Chilean director Sebastián Lelio has once again triumphed after his successful movie “Gloria”.

At 2017 Berlin International Film Festival he participated in the official competition with “A Fantastic Woman”, where he brings us another powerful woman story, this time about a transgender one. Feature film has won two awards: the Teddy Award for Best Film with LGBTI topic and the Silver Bear for best screenplay.

Lelio has described, in his director’s notes, the film as “both a celebration and examination of its main character: Marina Vidal. What will the viewers see when they see Marina? A woman, a man or the sum of both? They will see a human being who constantly changes before their eyes, who flows, vibrates, and modifies herself”.

A Fantastic Woman tells the story of Marina just the moment she is in love with Orlando with whom are planning their future. She is an aspiring singer and meanwhile works as waitress. He is the owner of a printing company. Orlando is 20 years older than her. After celebrating her birthday, Orlando gets sick seriously and dies early after arriving at the hospital. His death raises suspicions with his family and the first target is Marina whom they don’t like because is a trans woman. Her life changes rudely again and she should fight to keep her way of life while showing she is a strong, honest and fantastic woman who keeps her strength and protect her dignity.

Marina is played Daniela Vega, a lyric singer and actress who is transsexual in real life. This is her second movie, but she has said it has been the most difficult thing she has done so far, due to character’s complexities. “It was, by far, one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. It was very complex on an emotional level because of the way in which I began to go deeper into the role, and the way in which I began converting all of my emotions in order to give the character a life of her own”. Daniela Vega after 10 public, press and private exhibitions, conquered the audience in Berlin who labeled as one of the revelations at 2017 Berlinale.

Another things Lelio has emphasized has been his wish to get audience connects with Marina intimately beyond his o her personal point of views about sexual preferences or her or his own value system. “.. regardless of his o her beliefs, values, or vision of the world, from watching her so much, the viewer ends up feeling like her, and from empathizing with her so much, the viewer wants to see her survive and prevail”.

Those layers Daniela Vega talks are the same Chilean director emphasizes in order to the film will be not labeled in one single direction and being seen as just transgender movie. “It is a romance film, a ghost film, a fantasy film, a film about humiliation and revenge, a document of reality, a character study. The identity of the film itself fluctuates, it doesn’t set, it doesn’t stop, and it refuses to be reduced to one single thing”.

Orlando character is played Francisco Reyes, one of the well-known Chilean actors who worked in the two recent movies by Pablo Larraín, “Neruda” and “The Club”. To local press, he said one of the best things in this film is the director’s ability to confront the audience with their own tolerance.

Pablo Larraín, Juan de Dios Larraín, Gonzalo Maza and the same Sebastián Lelio are involved as producers in this project that already has the distribution for Sony Pictures Classics. A Fantastic Woman will be premiered next April 6th in Chile.

Images and pressbook credits: Berlinale and Funny Balloons.

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