Paulina Garcia: “Performing, on stage is like home; it is a place I know, where I love to return, a place where I am always changing, eating over my bed or in front of the computer, or maybe I can dance in the bathroom, or make love in the living room or smoke cigarettes on the terrace.”
Most women don`t live a romantic life after the age of fifty. Some women in their fifties are taking care of their declining husbands; some of them are lucky enough to take care of their grandchildren. What about a woman who has neither a declining husband nor grandchildren to care for? This is Gloria who wants to live a romantic life even after her fifties. Gloria was played by Paulina Garcia, whose performance was absolutely electrifying. I really wanted to know how Mrs. Garcia could bring Gloria to life in such a shockingly, realistic manner. Fortunately, Mrs. Garcia granted me an opportunity to talk with her about “Gloria”, for which she won the prestigious ‘Silver Bear’ award for the Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Question: You have played such an interesting character in Sebastian Lelio`s “Gloria”. Could you please tell me more about her? Who is Gloria?
Paulina Garcia: Ah, I think she is a kind woman, an ordinary woman. She is more like a supporting actor and not the main character. She’s a very common woman, not an epic character. I guess what makes Gloria different from other characters is – she is in a rut and walking a fine line between her past and her future life , but her life gets a lot crazier.
So she is in that place where she is beginning to understand that life can be different and love is very important. She understands that no matter how important love is, her life will not end if it does not come. More than that, something begins when she falls in love. She is sensitive and contemporary. She is a woman, in some ways, just like us. She does not think, “Maybe I am a little bit more intellectual because I used to read a lot, or maybe I am a bit of a snob because I have worked on a lot on my own stuff”. Gloria is not that kind of woman; she is not aware of digital social media, Facebook, or anything else. She does not have the life that we have – she is not into arts, literature, or intellectual. She is a very common woman.
She works at an insurance company. Gloria is very pragmatic. And she loves her kids. She wants to spend her time with her children as much as possible. But the kids are grown up and have started living their own lives, so she is alone, like a lot of people.
Question: Gloria still lives her life to the fullest, even after her fifties and becoming divorced. It seems she enjoys her life, independence, freedom. What makes her so strong and youthful?
Paulina Garcia: She is a kind of a hero, I think. I guess, what makes her strong is that she is able to have fun in life and is able to pay the price. She does not care. In her 50’s she was not able to have fun in life, so now that she is close to her 60s, she says, “I am still full of life, biologically working, and my mind is fine. Gloria says, “I am still alive and I want to take life by the reins.”. She says, “I am able to pay the price for having fun in life, because I am really free. That is what actually makes her so strong- feeling free. I spoke with Sebastian a lot about Gloria, and how she felt about her very unusual reality.
Question: How would you compare Gloria with other South American women who are the same age?
Paulina Garcia: No, I think she is a little bit unique. I think many people have a little of Gloria inside themselves. That is why the audience feels so close to the character, and it is not that everybody feels like Gloria, but still have good inside them. A guy, who is a great playwright from Chile, wrote on my Facebook page, and he said, “I am in my 30s, I am a man but I feel like Gloria.” (laugh).
Question: After reading the script for Gloria, what made you accept the role?
Paulina Garcia: I accepted the role of Gloria without reading the script. By the time I was invited to play Gloria, no word was written yet. One morning in January, 2010, I received a call from Sebastian and his co-writer. This was just before the big earthquake in Chile. So, they called me and invited me to Sebastain’s house. They took me onto a beautiful terrace, with a beautiful view, on a sunny day, and talked to me about everything within the story. They told me that they wanted to write a script for me. They wanted me to be a part of this project from the very beginning. And then I said, this is wonderful, let`s write it together. As I told you, we had a big earthquake in February, and another film came out from them called “El Año de Tigre”. It was about the earthquake. If you haven`t seen this film yet, do, because it`s very different from “Gloria”. I had to wait 2 years before shooting ‘Gloria”. During those 2 years, they kept in touch with me, writing e-mails, saying they had not forgotten and that the project was still alive. Many things had been changed, but Gloria was still there. Maybe not the name itself, because we did not know yet what to name the film. The family decided the name for the film a year later as an homage to Casavette’s film, you know John Casavette’s film? Gena Rowlands’ Gloria. So we named the film because of her. They gave me some tips about the script. It was ready January 2012. By the time we had started filming, I had something to read. It was like a story board, with the scenes they wanted to shoot, written very raw, no dialogues. This is how they usually worked. So we started working with Sebastian, and the other actors, rehearsing, talking about the scenes, what we are going to say in the scenes, and shared our ideas. It was really fun.
Question: Why did Gloria tolerate the man who valued his ex-wife and family more than her?
(Laugh) Eh. I never thought about that question. It`s very difficult to explain why a woman would love this type of man. I’ve had a lot of friends who fell in love with guys that don`t deserve them. I always look around, observing, and you see a lot of couples. Sometimes you see something in a couple that you don`t like, and you ask yourself, “Why she is still with him?” He does not deserve her or she does not deserve him. But the bottom line is – they are in love. We don’t know why Gloria and Rodolfo are together.
We decided, along with Sebastian, not to answer that question, but instead to show that a woman can give a lot to a guy even though he makes mistakes. Because when you are in love, you always give the person another chance. Also, because she is not young any more, and he is not young any more. It is not as easy as when you are in your 20’s to get into the love market. She is over 60. It is difficult to fall in love these days. When you are in love you are in such a fragile place, you feel so vulnerable, and you are always questioning yourself. Gloria is in that moment and she is asking herself: “Ok, I just want to give him a chance. If I am going to give him a chance, I am going to give him every chance”. If you remember that scene, when she proposes that they go to Cuba to dance together; like a honeymoon. He says, “OK. That is so wonderful”. He gives her a last kiss and simply walks away (laugh).
Question: What is Gloria afraid of the most?
Paulina Garcia: Afraid. I think she is frightened, as everyone is, of loneliness and getting old. Somebody wrote- there are a couple things that the man has to be aware of: getting old, losing his power, loneliness and death. But she is thinking about to becoming an old woman being completely alone for the next 20 years.
Question: Recently I watched the Mini Series “Carcel De Mujeres”. Which role did you find more fun? Gloria or Raquel? I have to say, I really enjoyed watching it. (She was pleasantly surprised by knowing that I`ve seen this show)
Paulina Garcia: Thank you. Um, Raquel has a nickname “Raco”. Raco is the name of wind here in Chile. The wind comes from the Mountains in the Autumn; it`s not too hot, not too cold and the wind comes from the mountains to the city. This wind comes before a storm. That is why I chose that nickname. To create a bad character, an evil woman, is always fun. Jean Genet says: “Only in the evil you are perfect.” When you`re evil, you do exactly what you want to do. Nothing is making you think twice. You are just going ahead. It`s very interesting, very physical. There are lots of reason to like your work. Gloria has given me so many things during these last two years. Maybe Gloria will be one of those characters I will always remember. But I have to say, if I would not have done “Raco” Raquel before, I would never have come to ‘Gloria’. I like to perform a lot. I love to be in that state- performing, I used to say everything is inside us is shadows and you bring them out. Living in the world you don’t get to use them, so being an actress allows me to bring out the shadows in myself.
Question: Thank you for sending me the video clip of your play “La Anarquista”. What do you enjoy most: stage actor, playwright, director, or movie actor?
Paulina Garcia: It is like if I ask you, (sorry that I am answering with a question), but if I ask you, “What do you prefer- your house, or do you prefer to travel around, like to go to Paris or Japan, Toronto, or New York. Maybe you do you prefer to travel to Azerbaijan to just play around in the country?” Performing, on stage is like home; it is a place I know, where I love to return, a place where I am always changing, eating over my bed or in front of the computer, or maybe I can dance in the bathroom, or make love in the living room or smoke cigarettes on the terrace. Home is a place where I always feel calm, feel comfortable. It`s a peaceful place. When I travel in my country, I like to go to the desert, north, where it is very dry. I find the desert a very interesting world; very interesting, very lonely, a cold wilderness, a cold forest, very different. I love to go there. It almost like making TV films for me. I do not feel like travelling to Paris or Japan or going to Azerbaijan, but one day I hope to. I love to go to those places, to visit other countries, but I like to come home.
Trailer from Paulina Garcia`s play ‘La Anarquista”
Gloria: Review http://moviemovesme.com/2014/06/09/film-review-gloria-2013/