© 4L Productions.
No other Argentine filmmaker has Lisandro Alonso's luck. With Jauja, in competition in the section, Un Certain Regard, in the next Cannes Festival, his five films have gone into five different sections in Cannes, starting with La libertad (2001) in the same section that his new film with Viggo Mortensen will be in, and continuing with Los muertos (2004) and Liverpool (2008).
"I want to sincerely congratulate Damián for being in the competition, truly," says Alonso in reference to Damián Szifron's Relatos salvajes that will compete for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
How did you make contact with Viggo?
I saw him for the first time at the Toronto Festival in 2006 at a Latin American film party. We talked about soccer and Argentina, and with Fabián Casas who shares his passion for San Lorenzo and who co-wrote the script of the film with me. We began to think that he could be the lead character. At first, the character was English, but we switched to Danish when we knew that Viggo had a Danish passport. Jauja is a co-produced film, spoken and filmed in Danish and in Spanish. 80% was filmed in Patagonia, at the Lihué Calel National Park, at Laguna azul [Blue Lagoon], in Río Gallegos. And in Denmark at Lystrup castle, an hour from Copenhagen.
The plot of the film centers on a father and daughter of Danish origin who disembark in Patagonia, Argentina in a not-too-specific time period, "but it could be said to be during the Desert Campaign" confides the 38-year-old Alonso. The girl falls in love with a member of the military escort and runs away and the father goes out looking for her. It's a dream about love, death and how to keep going.
Since the presentation of your first work, La Libertad, in 2001, you are already a regular at Cannes.
Yes, I was lucky enough to present all the films I made in different sections, and now hopefully we can show Jauja in the best of ways, as we want.
As president of the Un Certain Regard jury, there´s Pablo Trapero.
I hope that the film which he and his panel consider the finest, wins. More than the awards, being in Un Certain Regard gives you the possibility of being able to present the movie well, reaching a larger number of possible international territories. Aside from having Viggo as an actor and producer, that in itself draws attention.
How did Mortensen join the production?
Viggo liked the story, and he saw we didn´t have enough structure to address it. He joined in because he backed it and believed it was worth it; for that, I will be eternally grateful. I think he is one of the best producers I've ever had in my entire film history. Hopefully there will be more actors who want to produce, because we need them.
Until now, you haven't worked with professional actors…
I was missing a good part of cinematic learning. He made me work better; he contributes a lot, things that are naturally more difficult for non-actors.
In the cast of Jauja, which will premiere here in September, are the Danish star Ghita Norby and Viilbjork Malling (who plays Mortensen's daughter) and the Argentinians Esteban Bigliardi (Pensé que iba a haber fiesta and Reimon), Diego Román, Adrián Fondari and Mariano Arce.