Argentine director Monica Lairana, whose film is in the competition category of IFFK, says it is wrong of culture to consider the bodies of old people as not beautiful.

Director of The Bed competing at IFFK talks about the neglect old people faceStill from 'The Bed'; courtesy: iffk.in
Flix Film Festival Friday, December 07, 2018 - 16:13

The film-still on top of the description shows an old couple in bed – a man lying down, looking at the woman sitting by his feet. They appear comfortable in their minimal clothes in the familiar insides of a home they’ve lived together in for years - decades. If it disturbs the aesthetics of a viewer, the director Monica Lairana has meant to do just that. To show what's not shown, to make you ask questions about your prejudices.

Sitting at the lobby of Hotel Keys in Thiruvananthapuram, waiting patiently for her ride, Monica, director of The Bed, says in her country, Argentina, old people are neglected like that. She throws her hands out and pushes something imaginary in front of her – the old people, being pushed away. "That's the culture there. In another country, it may not be the same," she says. The Bed is in the competition category of the International Film Festival of Kerala.

It is her first feature film, she's made three short films before that and been an actor for 18 to 20 years, she says. She still acts. "When I go back, I have a film waiting for me. But I have not yet acted in my own films. It is very difficult, I think," Monica says.

Monica Lairana

She looks different from the first of the Google images. You see a brunette on the internet, and a blonde in person. Monica becomes animated when she talks about making films, something she fell in love with after being in the industry for years, acting and learning. "I wanted to tell my own stories. The first short film I made is Rose, and it was in the competition category at Cannes. It is the story of an old woman," she says. She has a special place in her heart for stories of neglected old people. "It's just wrong (the neglect). For example, if you are a 50-year-old woman you have to cover your body. The culture considers your body as not beautiful. I want to question that. And in my films, I put naked bodies of old people because I see beauty in that."

The idea to put in the film the story of an old couple on the last day they are together and before they separate, comes from her own life. "I had separated, broken up with someone. I felt a special and different kind of sadness about it. I thought of many things about love, life and the importance of sex in a couple's life. So I wanted to make a film about all these questions I had. I needed to show a different way of breaking up. Different, because you can break up with your partner with love. Not in a bad way."

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