In 2013, the success of glory, first at the Berlin Film Festival, then in Chilean, French or American cinemas, put Sebastian Lelio at the forefront of young Chilean filmmakers, along with Pablo Larrain. The author of this invigorating portrait of a woman, his fourth feature film, continued with a fantastic woman (2017), which portrayed a violent Chilean society, plagued by the consequences of dictatorship, through the eyes of a trans woman, only to later venture far from home with Disobedience (2017) and Gloria Bell (2018), American remake of glory built around its star, Julianne Moore.
Presented at the Toronto Film Festival in September, the wonder (“a marvel”, or “wonder”, in English) was filmed in Ireland and offers, once again, a formidable role for a great actress, Florence Pugh. She plays an English nurse sent to a small Irish village to study the case of a teenager who claims to have stopped eating and survive only by divine grace.
Why did you make a film whose central theme is belief?
This project was the perfect opportunity to explore the role of fiction and stories in our lives, as well as finding a way to introduce film itself into this questioning, as a fictional machine, which triggers a kind of belief in viewers…
What differentiates an artist, who asks us to believe in his story, from a religious or political leader?
Inside the wonder🇧🇷 I try to make the viewer active. I invite you to believe in this story, exposing you to the mechanisms of narration [l’histoire proprement dite, située en 1862, est encadrée de séquences qui exposent les décors reconstitués]🇧🇷 You will therefore see characters trapped in stories and others who invent new stories, new ways of reading reality. But you’ve been warned: I’m counting to three and ask you to suspend your disbelief.
This demand comes from a filmmaker who shoots away from home and who tackles a subject that is foreign to him…
It’s important for me to find the path that allows me to tell a story. Which has to do with how the story resonates with me, first. But then I have to explain to myself who I am, a Chilean filmmaker, to claim the right to go to Ireland and tell a dramatic moment in Irish history, the day after the Great Famine. Also, what’s going on with this young lady is disturbing, we can’t be light on this matter. But I grew up in the south of Chile, under a very patriarchal dictatorship, in a very Catholic country. [Sebastian Lelio est né en 1974, l’année qui a suivi le coup d’Etat qui renversa Salvador Allende]🇧🇷 I told myself that I didn’t know much about the cultural specifics of Ireland in 1862, but what was behind the dynamics of Ireland’s history? the wonder belonged to the same frame of mind.
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