Ángela Molina is the actress Buñuel directed in his last film, “That Obscure Object of Desire,” and who starred in Spanish classics such as Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón’s “Demonios en el jardín” and “La mitad del cielo” and Jaime Chávarri’s “The Things of Love.” She was also directed by Almodóvar in “Live Flesh” and “Broken Embraces,” by Giuseppe Tornatore in “Baarìa,” by Lina Wertmüller in “Camorra” and Ridley Scott in “1492: Conquest of Paradise” among many others. Molina also has an imposing career in Italian Cinema and has filmed in many countries and many languages.
Now, Tara Karajica talks to Ángela Molina about her career for which she has received the Honorary Award at this year’s Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival.
What made you want to become an actress?
Ángela Molina: My love for life! There’s a lot of life in acting!
You have worked with Buñuel, Almodóvar, Lina Wertmüller, Ridley Scott, Giuseppe Tornatore among many others. Can you talk about these experiences?
A.M.: When working, we are human beings who look for each other, who find their objectives together and who enjoy bringing who they are to the table in order to achieve what they want. The audience is always our inspiration and then, there are forms and personalities that are more or less similar, but this is just like life itself.
Can you talk about your Italian years and your work in Italy?
A.M.: I love Italian Cinema! I love neorealism, its films and its filmmakers – Fellini, Rossellini, Bellocchio, Tornatore… All the greats… All the great Italian directors who have formed my life since forever, including the great actors I ended up working with and who have become my friends. I shot a film by Comencini with a fantastic cast. Everybody is in this film – actors from all over Europe – Depardieu, Girardot, Sordi, Mastroianni… The film is called Traffic Jam because everybody is blocked on the highway and each car has a world inside where an actor in particular is “the star.” That was my first film in Italy and from then on, I haven’t stopped developing a career there throughout the years, with its Cinema and its people. And, it’s part of my life now. I love Italian Cinema.
How much of you is there in every character you play? Do you manage to dissociate yourself from own persona in order to play someone else?
A.M.: Well, I don’t need to dissociate myself from my own persona; I simply use it. I use it to develop the character. I couldn’t not count on myself to develop a character. Yes, obviously, you have to do this transformation and you have to dream about this other personality, this other form of life and this other human being who is different from you, but the circumstances of this other human being are also what is guiding you as well as the consciousness of this other being that you have been nurturing while preparing to play her. And then, there comes a moment where this unity is created, which is rather surprising at times.
Has any character that you have played completely and radically changed you, your worldview or the way you see yourself?
A.M.: Well, I think all of them. All have made me who I am today, including the most difficult characters and the neediest people. The most complicated and most complex ones have helped me know myself better and perhaps even develop a much greater consciousness of the world and of myself than those much more favored by the story. I mean, everything in life has a light and a darkness and you learn from everything. So, I couldn’t really tell you… There are characters that have taught me a lot. Those are characters who are women I could draw my inspiration from, such as my own mother and grandmother and it’s been like living through them and developing this illusion, this love for them. I kept learning from them, including through fictional beings, but I have always found an inspiration in them. I have enjoyed a lot these types of character, but we all bring our own baggage and it’s important because we are a sort of unity where everyone has their place.
Do you have a favorite role that you have played?
A.M.: If I chose one, I could miss others, and I shouldn’t.
You have said that theater has taught you everything, but is there a medium you prefer between the stage, film and television?
A.M.: I need them all. I need the theater because I am used to living in it and with it. I need Film. I need television because it reaches a much greater audience and because of what it is about and because it helps me be closer to people, be one with them. For me, it’s the same type of work. We did a project for the museums of the world, Museo de la ficción. I. Imperio, with Robert Lepage and others. We have done things for every cultural sphere and I think they are equally recognizable and interchangeable.
How does it feel to receive the Honorary Award at the Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival? What is success to you?
A.M.: Perhaps a shared satisfaction… But the Award is a privilege because, above all, it’s unexpected as you never expect it. Then, you always think of the people who are there, who have been there to give you the Award, to tell you: “We are here” and to recognize your work. So, it is a beautiful act, very gratifying and absolutely strong in the heart. And, this should never be fogotten.
What is your opinion on the situation of women in today’s film industry?
A.M.: I think women are still as indispensable as always and they know how to hold their space. It’s Cinema that is changing, mutating. In a way, it’s much more complex and difficult to carry out all the projects now in the current circumstances, with this horrible virus, but we have to determine many things and it’s a much more difficult challenge, but the side of courage is much more powerful and the fact that we are still here and working in order to move on.
Do you have a favorite female filmmaker and one that you would absolutely love to work with?
A.M.: Well, now, I would love to work with Marjane Satrapi! I have been dreaming of telling her that personally, but unfortunately, as we are in this situation, she hasn’t been able to come to the festival… Tell her that I would love to work with her!
You work a lot with your daughter. Can you talk about that?
A.M.: We have been very lucky with this. We have worked together in the theater a lot too. In her first film, Jara, she was the protagonist, and I had the privilege of being offered a role in her first film and this was marvelous for me. Olivia made her first film at ten years old and she would send me to buy her ice-cream between takes and then, with time, it ended up being her profession.
What are your next projects?
A.M.: I am working on a TV series that I will be shooting until next April. It’s called A Private Affair and it’s with Jean Reno and Aura Garrido who plays my daughter and he is my butler. It’s a high comedy, fabulously written, very funny, very intelligent, almost scientific… And, I am very, very happy about it!
Photo credits: Silvia Acedo.
This interview was conducted at the 2020 Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival.