Fernando Franco brilliantly addresses sexuality in people with functional diversity

The theme of sexuality in people with functional diversity has reached the Zinemaldia San Sebastian Film Festival thanks to Fernando Franco, director of The woundthat with his new film Spring consecration, addresses the issue of sex therapists in an intimate, austere and non-judgmental way. It is, without a doubt, his brightest film, although it maintains several of the auroral signs that it showed since its debut, with which it already competed in San Sebastián and won the Goya for Best New Director.

He does so in a film that not only addresses this issue, but also tells the story of the relationship between a young university student, sent to a nuns’ college, and a person with functional diversity, the magnificent Valeria Sorolla and Telmo Irureta. She offers to act as a sex therapist in a story of self-discovery for both of them. Franco, with his usual conciseness and distance, speaks of modesty towards sex, of social pressure towards bodies, of what is considered normative or not. In a way, also liberation. He is not afraid to deal with thorny issues, and never offers an authoritarian position or passes judgment. A film that you would like to last longer, to continue delving into all those issues that Franco opens with apparent simplicity, but in a much more complex script than he appears at first glance.

Spring consecration It is an adult, intelligent and subtle proposal that succeeds in mixing its two stories, which feed back to achieve a reflection on sex and bodies that moves away from the underlined. There is no fat in this film, but each silence knows why it is placed there. A film where only the essential is stated, leaving the rest to be filled in by each viewer.

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The importance of reality

Fernando Franco knows that it is his most luminous film, and he admits that it is something “deliberate”. “In the previous two, due to the themes, there wasn’t much room for light, let’s say. However, in this case, I think that if you deal with a topic like sexuality in people who have functional diversity, the darkness should not have the focus. Sex in other people who do not have any type of functional diversity does not seem dark to us. So I thought it was interesting to counteract that prejudice by giving the film a certain light”, says the director.

The germ of the story stems precisely from the desire to talk about sexuality in people with functional diversity, but never to “make a thesis film about it”. “I didn’t want to make a movie that was just that. It seemed to me that it was interesting to integrate it into a story about sexuality in a broader sense, and that the best way to get there, because it talks about issues that also have to do with blockages and complexes, was managing to portray intimacy of those two characters,” he adds.

He knows that the subject of sex therapists is “conflictive and delicate”, that there will be “people who will react in one way or another”, and that is why he emphasizes that what he never wanted was to “judge the characters”. “My intention is to put some light on it, that it is there so that in some way it is the viewer who draws conclusions about it. Then some people will find it better and other people will find it worse. I think that the protagonist’s own character is also not very clear about what he is doing at a certain moment, because that serves as a trigger, but he ends up drifting somewhere else”. A cinema that asks “questions instead of giving answers” and with which it has tried “not to make a pamphlet or not to be moralistic, that it is the public that in some way, if it is interested in the film, questions things”.

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My intention is to put some light on it, that it is there so that in some way it is the viewer who draws conclusions about it.

Fernando Franco
Film director

To give life to the protagonist, Fernando Franco has hired the actor Telmo Irureta, who has cerebral palsy in real life and acts in monologues where he analyzes his condition from humor, the same with which he has addressed the issue of sexuality in the wheel of press, where he has left the headline of the day. “We have to educate and fuck too. If not, what is this? With the play I’m in now we also talk about disability and sexuality and people tell me how I like it. Of course, and if you have to talk, you talk! ”, He said naturally.

What the director was always clear about was that he wanted a person with cerebral palsy to play him. He couldn’t be an actor faking paralysis. “I like to work in a realism-like register, and I would feel a bit of an impostor directing an actor who did that. I think it was important that this reality was also integrated into the film itself, in fact Telmo has participated in things from the film, in the sense that he said, ‘I think this would not be like that’ and we have adapted things from Telmo’s own reality”. There is also a “political” declaration, not to remove the few spaces that people with functional diversity have: “Telmo himself would tell you that there are not many roles that he can choose. And if one of the few roles with a certain leading role in a movie is no longer given to him… There is a political act in giving it to him”.

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There is also a political act in his defense of non-canonical bodies, in freeing them from complexes and portraying them with affection, an interior to remove the bodies and what they mean in society. “For example, in the character of Telmo there is something about the prejudices that generate a certain distance when seeing a body like his, because it is not normative, because he has cerebral palsy. And seeing a body, for example, like hers, which already has its own perception of its body that affects it internally, because it is filtered by a whole series of things that have to do with social networks and other elements that in some way are also scattered throughout the film to some extent”, analyzes Fernando Franco about one of the many layers of The Rite of Spring, the latest sample of excellent Spanish cinema that has passed through the Official Section of this Zinemaldia.

The Article Is In Spanish🡽

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