NATHALIA ACEVEDO ON ACTING
By Crash redaction
AFTER GETTING HER START IN DIRECTING, THE CHARISMATIC NATHALIA ACEVEDO RECENTLY TOOK HER TALENTS TO THE ACTING WORLD. IN POST TENEBRAS LUX, THE CONTROVERSIAL NEW FILM BY CELEBRATED MEXICAN DIRECTOR CARLOS REYGADAS, SHE PLAYS A WOMAN AT THE MERCY OF A PERVERSELY THREATENING HUSBAND. THE FILM WON THE BEST DIRECTOR AWARD AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL AND IS SET TO HIT THEATERS THIS MAY.
Post Tenebras Lux is your first acting role. How did you meet Reygadas?
I met Carlos four years ago at a typical Cantina party in Mexico City. We talked a little and hit it off right away. Later on we became friends and two years later he offered me the part. And that’s how the whole adventure started.
What did you think about his work before meeting him?
I think his work is extraordinarily real and honest and I’ve always liked it. I really like his unique way of seeing the world. I also like hearing him speak in public, it’s just exquisite… When he explains things, they’re immediately clear and logical.
His films are really on a plane of their own. Is he more of an artist than a traditional movie director?
Definitely. I think that even if he was a sculptor, musician, or painter, he would manage to evoke the same emotions. I would even say he uses film to express his own philosophy of life.
He is well-known in Mexico and around the world for the odd atmospheres in his films: the way he uses images, light, and how he shows sex and bodies. Were you nervous at all about working with him? Did you have to think about it first?
Not at all. I always had total confidence in him. I knew he would manage to do something real and beautiful.
Was acting one of your dreams?
When I was little I used to like to talk to myself and act out different characters. I was always making up new stories: every day I was someone different. But I never thought about becoming an actress. For me, Post Tenebras Lux was also a new experience as a director. Now I want to continue my career as an actress. I took advantage of this new situation to learn more about myself. Two years ago I was still mostly timid; that’s changed now.
People have had a lot of different reactions to the film. How would you describe it?
Everyone is going to look at the film in their own way. Even I find new meanings every time I see it, mostly depending on where I am in life at that point. It’s like it says everything all at once, even though it may seem like it isn’t saying anything. That may explain why some people don’t understand it or simply don’t like it. But for me, it’s about universal concepts like life, death, love, family, fear, and resignation.
Did you talk about the concrete meaning of the film with Reygadas, or was it mostly abstract?
He explained the plot to me in a very simple way, then later I realized the film was going to be a lot more complex than that.
Did you expect the film to win Best Director at Cannes?
Not at all, it was a wonderful surprise! And another adventure!
What was the Cannes experience like?
Interesting. It’s true that we gave people something to talk about with the movie and the whole Mezcal thing…
The film has this extremely perverse side to it, almost like Pasolini’s Salo…
You mean the sex scenes? But even the sex scenes become something maternal in the film. The perverse side is there, but that’s how it is with anything in life. We’re always in the city of Sodom…
We hear a lot about violence in Mexico lately. What is the situation like today?
Violence is everywhere all over the world. It’s even a joke in the US! The real problem in Mexico is corruption. And ignorance, too. We’re not quite able to handle power yet. At the same time, Mexcio City is full of life and new surprises. People are happy, they have fun, and the art world is really picking up lately. And like most of Latin America, the economy is in better shape than in Europe or the US!
Reygadas presents an image of Mexican society as sharply divided: between rich and poor, urban and rural areas…
And between Westernized and non-Westernized people. In each of these worlds the meaning of rich and poor changes drastically. The rich can also be as poor as the poor.
How would you describe Mexico to people who know little about it?
The most marvelous monster on Earth.
You traveled a lot during your childhood. You even speak fluent French…
I’m a bit of a nomad. We all are in my family. It’s really important for me to discover new cultures, and I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled a lot since childhood. I went to a German school and moved to Berlin when I was still fairly young. After that I went to Switzerland, where I learned French and studied political science. Then when I came back to Mexico after school abroad, I was upset by all the corruption. So I decided film would be an effective way to reach people.
Can you tell us a little about the other kinds of things you direct?
I’ve directed a few music videos. I was also a TV producer for two years and a producer for a cultural label in Mexico. I met some really great people that way, but today I prefer to focus on film.
So new things are to come?
Yes. Now I want to get serious and direct some movies. I like immortalizing people and things…
What are you plans for acting?
All I can say for now is that after waiting for the right project, I’m going to do two films with two directors I like a lot.
You just moved to Paris a few months ago. Any special reason?
Because I’m a little romantic. I’ve wanted to live in Paris since I was little girl, so now I can check that off the list of things to do before I die. And it’s also the right time for Paris. I love what’s happening in European film. And my agent lives in Paris, so there are practical reasons, too.
Do you like fashion? Do you have any favorite designers?
I like fashion as a tool for expressing who you are. But I don’t like all the consumerism and the addiction it creates in the sector. My favorite brands are Céline, Balmain, Damir Doma, Lanvin, and Valentino.
Fellini’s City of Women, Reygadas’s Silent Light, Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, 2046 by Wong Kar-wai, and Mekong Hotel by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
The 2046 soundtrack, Herbert’s Bodily Functions, Las Canciones de Almodóvar, Fleetwod Mac’s Rumors, Silk by George Pallikaris, The Tarantino Experience, Let Love In by Nick Cave…