Arts & Entertainment

Penelope Cruz is a hit at Venice Film Festival with “L’immensita”

By Alicia Garcia de Francisco

Venice, Italy, Sep 4 (EFE).- Penelope Cruz was welcomed Sunday with great applause upon her arrival at a press conference for the film “L’immensita,” directed by Italy’s Emanuele Crialese and in which she once again plays a mother, a role that she’s portrayed often in her acting career but which is always different.

“I’ve played many mothers,” said the Madrid-born actress, adding that of the seven films directed by Pedro Almodovar that she’s starred in she’s had the role of a mother five times.

That’s something that not only doesn’t bother her, but also is something she said she likes for two reasons: first, because she admits that she has a “very strong” maternal instinct, saying with a smile that “since I was five years old I said that I wanted to become a mother as soon as possible.”

And also because she’s always been “fascinated by what happens within a family,” which she feels is very rich material, (given that) any film on any subject always being able to revolve around a family.

To that, Cruz added that now that she is a mother, she believes it’s “the most important thing” in her life. All these things made her fall in love with the script of “L’immensita” from the moment she first read it, she said.

It’s a story that, in Cruz’s opinion, has many layers and recounts, to a certain degree, the childhood of the director, personified in Adriana, the little girl who wants to be called “Andrea” (a male name in Italian) and who feels that she’s actually a boy.

Adriana lives with her family near The Vatican, a zone that experienced huge urban growth during the 1970s, an evolution that is reflected in the film.

Her mother is Clara, a Spanish woman married to an Italian who betrays her. That is why the film focuses so much on the isolation of the girl as well as on that of the mother.

Cruz said that the role of Clara “represents many of today’s realities. There are many women in the world who are trapped in their own homes pretending to their children that things are not as bad as they really are.”

Domestic violence, gender, mental problems and mother-child relations are some of the issues dealt with in the film, which lightens up its serious themes with numerous songs in which Cruz transforms herself into Rafaella Cara or Patty Bravo.

“When I read the script it broke my heart … and I felt the need to do this film with Emanuele,” she emphasized, adding that her character is not crazy but rather is a survivor who connects with her daughter because both feel trapped.

Clara “needs the permission of society, including of her family, including of herself. She’s a woman who suffers a lot of oppression and cannot take it any longer. She has to perform each day in front of her kids.”

One of the things the Spanish actress liked most about the film is the way in which Crialese “transmits to the audience the feelings that children can feel when something isn’t working.”

It’s a film “about memory,” said Crialeses, who said he was seeking a way, starting with his own memories, to build “a universal story.”

And it’s a movie whereby Cruz returns to Italian filmmaking, with which she has a great relationship. In 2004, she shot “No ti muovere” (Don’t Move) under the direction of Sergio Castellitto, which earned her her first and only David di Donatello award for best actress and the European Film Award.

“It was lucky to have studied French before English, although that’s made me not lose all of my accent when I work in English,” said the actress, who noted that she began making films in Italian when she was young.

Accents and languages are a passion for her and working in another language helps her get closer to her characters, although sometimes “it’s mentally exhausting.”

But, she added, “I feel lucky to be able to work in four languages.”

EFE agf/amg/bp

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