The sexiest film at Cannes, ‘Motel Destino’ also aims to be the most political

You’ve worked quite quickly, with three Cannes appearances in four years, which is quite impressive.

My first film came out 20 years ago, and then I went through a period in my life, as everyone does, losing their parents. When your parents die, you feel like you’re next, so you have a sense of urgency, which isn’t bad. It’s true that I work a lot and I just love what I do. It was also a really exciting time in cinema. People can complain but I think there are a lot of different possibilities.

This is also a really good year for big upheavals. You’re coming into a year where people are playing with the genre in a really interesting way.

As long as we’re allowed to be here, it’s great. There was a time when this genre was not taken very seriously in Cannes. This is really interesting. can you see Matter?

I did, yes. And there you have it a musical by Jacques Audiard.

Bold, bold, bold. That’s the problem. We need bold. What elements can we do to keep this art alive? How can you be sure that someone wants to leave their home to go see something in a movie theater? That is also something we need to take into account. It was funny because when I was making the film, I was like, “Oh, this is so OTT.” But yes. I’m OTT and I think the movie should be like that. I said, “What do I have to lose?” There is this idea that Latin Americans should produce dramatic because people are haunted by reality. I was very free throughout this film and I think that’s why there’s so much sex and so much color. I don’t know how it will turn out.

You mentioned how liberating it feels to do this. With something like fire brand, you’re working with bigger stars and bigger budgets—I think there’s more people to answer to. What are some of the fundamental reasons why losing all of that will change you as a director?

This is the challenge of fire brand. At one point I remember going into the room with those actors and we had the best costume designer I could imagine in my life. He is a historian. I would say, “Take off your hat.” Then he would say: “No, no. At that time, people didn’t take off their hats even when they were in the castle.” I said, “When they go to the bathroom, they take off their hats.” [Laughs] No matter how much I change history, it is still a historical film and a historical film about an empire. All of that comes with a price. That’s not my history…. Actors in fire brand that’s incredible. Not only Jude and Alicia but all of the supporting cast are great. Simon Russell Beale, Eddie Marsan, All those guys, they were just a dream. Here is my main actor [Iago Xavier] never been on a plane. He has never been to the set.

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