The first minutes of the film Culpa (2022) seem to be taken from the common imaginary of female terrors: a woman, alone and drunk, walks home in the middle of the night. The staging is excellent because the woman, with the excuse of recording a video for her boyfriend, who lives in another country with a time difference, seems to be talking to us. Camera in hand, the woman tells us about her night: she has gone out with some friends of her partner, she has had too much to drink, she has had a good time but now she prefers to go to bed. The tension is unbearable. The only thing the viewer wants is for that woman to arrive safely at her house. And she arrives. The woman takes off her shoes, drinks water and tells us what plans she has for the next day. Suddenly, someone knocks on the door. It is about Lolo, one of the friends with whom Anna, the woman, has been partying that same night. And then Lolo ends up sexually abusing Anna while the camera keeps rolling. After this event, Anna, corroded by shame and guilt, decides to go to a cabin in the middle of the woods to get away from the world and cut all ties with her partner, her friends and her family, while a son, the result of a rape, grows up in her. its interior. Guilt is directed by Ibon Cormenzana and starring Manuela Vellés. The script is signed in two hands by Cormenzana and Vellés, a couple in real life, who shot the film with a crew of five while they were expecting their second child. Guilt is an uncomfortable film that deals with issues such as consent, sexual assaults, and the physical and psychological consequences of these sexual assaults. At S Moda we chatted with Manuela Vellés about the themes of this film which, as she herself points out, aims to open debates rather than sit down. Photo: Manuela Vellés in a scene from Culpa. There is a feminist slogan that says ‘alone and drunk I want to get home’, a kind of cry to remember all those women who one day went out to party and didn’t come back. Your character comes home alone and drunk, but she’s not safe either. I suppose that behind this decision there is an intention. Yes, many times in a context of night, party and alcohol, situations of abuse or sexual assault occur that are not precisely those that are established in the collective imagination, that is, that of a complete stranger who picks you up on the street and which represents the idea of the monster, of the clear and evident enemy. I think that what is confusing and what is least reported is when a violation comes from a close person, whether it is a family member or a friend. That’s what we wanted to talk about, we wanted to bring to light all those stories that are often silenced because they provoke a series of paralyzing feelings in women, where shame or guilt appear, which make it more difficult for many to tell the story. What was the germ that led you to write this Guilt? The idea came up during my first pregnancy, when Ibon (Cormenzana) and I were inspired to think of talking to an unborn baby and explaining to him what he was going to find in the world. And then, suddenly, we realized that not only good things were going to be found and I thought about the fears of telling a baby about things that we don’t like and that we would like not to have to talk about. When we began to develop the script, it gradually became the idea that it was an unwanted baby, which had nothing to do with me or what we were experiencing at the time, and so we kept the story in a drawer. The pandemic, confinement and another pregnancy arrived and everything came together, from the desire I had to work as an actress and the illusion of creating or going out into nature. As we began to talk about the film to the people around us, my friends and acquaintances were telling me personal stories, some of them creepy, and it began to gain weight that we had to do something with all this. Recent films such as A Promising Young Woman (2020) or Guilt seem to form a puzzle that ends up showing the vivid image of rape culture or the normalization of sexual violence against women. In both films, “nice guys” or at least “trustworthy guys” appear abusing women, who seem to not know or do not want to know that they are being abused, is there a lack of education about consent? There is a lack of education on consent and that causes an abysmal difference between the male and female perspective. It is a problem of structure: it is not necessary to individualize the fault only in the aggressor but to know that it is a social problem, and that these are not isolated situations, but part of a problem that women suffer and that it is universal. As an actress and as a creator, I have tried to do my bit to make this type of situation visible and try to raise awareness. Somehow we all have to be aware that this continues to happen and that the more we talk about it and report the situation, I’m not saying to the police, but to our group of friends or with our trusted people, the more we will achieve improve as a society. At first, the film could give the impression that it is going to fall within the rape revenge subgenre, those films in which, after a rape, the protagonist seeks revenge on those who hurt her, but this protagonist does not seek revenge, but rather isolated from the world, does revenge monkfish represent, deep down, a female fantasy? I believe that a victim can behave in many ways, and the most important thing is not to judge her in the way she acts. A victim does not have to behave as another person thinks that she would behave in the same situation, for example, seeking revenge. We wanted to tell the story of a woman who has experienced a trauma of this type, which can be more or less universal, more or less specific. The important thing is to stop blaming the victims and accompany them in their processes, any behavior of a victim should be understood and accompanied. How is this victim? We are talking about a victim who is not perfect. We are not telling the story of those women who have managed to denounce or who have felt strong enough to recover. And I think that in the end the key is that: there is not only one way to be a victim. Here, our protagonist goes through a sea of emotions that range from denial to shame for thinking that what she has happened to her she has been able to cause in some way, and also goes through confusion, pain and trauma. . Culpa surprises because it is a film that spends a lot of time in silence due to this isolation of the protagonist, is this silence intentional? For me, silence and nature are also characters in this film. Silence gives the viewer room to ask questions. This film does not try to tell you what you have to think, but to draw and touch some places that I think are common to many people, and those silences are completed by the one who is watching it. You ask yourself questions, you judge Anna, at times you empathize more, at times less with her. And to all that gives rise to silence. When you filmed the movie you were expecting a desired second child while playing a woman expecting a child she doesn’t want, was it difficult to play this character? On an emotional level, I had to be very strong because I was living in a totally opposite place to that of my character: I was in a family environment, shooting with my partner, my sister and friends, in a circle of love and support. I felt very safe and very protected. And in the end it’s my job, as an actress I separate my emotions from those of my character because if she didn’t I would go crazy. Part of my job is to interpret emotions that are not mine and at the same time protect myself from all that. Another interesting theme in the film is the story you tell about motherhood, touching on such sensitive issues as abortion. Did you want to stir consciences? For me the film is about one thing: the physical and emotional consequences that a woman who has been raped can suffer. And there is a difference between what this means for the aggressor, for whom everything happens for a few minutes and whose life continues the same, sometimes without even being aware of the damage he has caused, compared to the consequences suffered by the victim, and to what extent those consequences can come. One of these consequences is a baby, because every sexual act is a potential baby, and this is the fear that women live with from our first sexual relationship, and they do not. And in this specific context it is no longer so much about her deciding or not deciding, it is that if she does nothing, life makes its way. That is what is truly tremendous for women: an uncle can go and disappear and the aunt is left with something that she has not wanted, and on top of her she is required to awaken a maternal feeling that she may never have had. . Has the film industry changed in Spain after MeToo? Absolutely. The MeToo uncovered a common problem in all women and at the same time it put the focus on the things that happen to us and that matter to us. It has been very important. It has allowed us to be the protagonists of the stories that happen to us and that have been silenced throughout history. I identify with women’s stories that are told from our perspective, written by us, experienced by us and not written by a man, as was the case before with greater frequency. It is not that these stories are wrong, it is that many times a female character was put doing exactly what a male character would do, and this is not exactly the case: we resolve conflicts in another way, we have another way of doing things. And that is what I want to see reflected. I believe that as we tell more stories we will be more understood, we will receive more empathy and we will find more places to talk about our problems. Why hasn’t there been a MeToo in Spain? I don’t know, and I’m telling you with total sincerity, because I’ve also asked myself many times, and I haven’t found the answer. Guilt is already released in theaters.
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– Article Written By @Beatriz Serrano from https://smoda.elpais.com/feminismo/manuela-velles-falta-educacion-sobre-consentimiento-y-eso-crear-un-abismo-entre-la-vision-masculina-y-la-femenina/