Madrid, Mar 10 (EFE) .- The Australian Natalie Erika James premieres next Friday in Spain “Relic”, her first feature film, where she talks about existential terror, the “worst that exists”, she says, because “there is nothing worse than fear your own parents, who are the ones who should give you security, the ones who drive away your monsters. “
“When your mother fails you, things no longer go well,” says the director, “there is nothing left, you feel completely alone, it is an existential fear.”
The newcomer filmmaker, one of the few women who have chosen to direct horror films, talks to Efe from her home in Melbourne (Australia) about this work that has taken months to reach theaters due to the pandemic; in any case, he assures that it makes him “very excited.”
Because his personal history is marked by “The Others”, by the Spanish Alejandro Amenábar, the first film he went to see at the cinema without the permission of his parents, with a group of friends.
“I was very scared when I was little, I think I ended up doing this out of sheer masochism,” laughs James.
“I came out terrified of ‘The Others’ but at the same time it was a delicious feeling, because it felt as if we had all survived the movie together.”
And he really liked “the most human side” of the film. Thus, he explains to Efe, he began to turn towards the emotional side of horror tapes.
Of Japanese descent, Natalie Erika James initially focused on Asian horror. “I loved scary, dark movies, psychological dramas” and ended up opting for supernatural terror, “subtle and suggestive.”
He shot two horror shorts: in 2017 “Creswick” and in 2018 “Drum Wave”; And so we come to “Relic”, the story of three women: Grandma Edna (Robyn Nevin), Mother Kay (Emily Mortimer) and Granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote).
As soon as you begin, the viewer sees an old woman with long white hair, naked, staring at nothing, in front of a bathtub that is about to overflow. The room is part of an old manor house that James places in a wooded area of Victoria, the Australian state to which Melbourne belongs.
Later, it is known that the old woman has disappeared. Kay and Sam, who do not have very good relations with each other or with their grandmother, go to the house where they lived years ago to find out what happened; just as she left, the old woman returns without being able to explain where she has been.
James then uses the labyrinthine corridors of the house as a metaphor for his own brain and the devastation of madness, which the young debutante recognizes to Efe are inspired by the deterioration of her own grandmother.
“I approached the subject because my maternal grandmother has Alzheimer’s. I am the granddaughter and I see myself reflected in my mother; when I looked at her, I realized that what I saw was my own future,” he says.
Telling this family relationship from the perspective of a horror movie “may seem somewhat morbid at first glance, but I see it hopeful,” says James. “We are all going to corrupt ourselves, physically and emotionally, and seeing it on stage doesn’t seem bad either: the death is inevitable, “he reflects.
The director plays her tricks masterfully; the atmosphere of the house, with claustrophobic spaces and sounds, creaks and moans – its fantastic lighting aside – makes the hair stand on end.
Although his intention, he says, is to highlight the human connection between the protagonists; He says that what he talks about is “a union between human beings, and that is not scary. That is what makes our lives have value, those connections in life are what give it importance.”
Part of the charm of these scenes -some brutal and overwhelming- are the wonderful performances of Emily Mortimer, which the Spanish public enjoyed in “The Library”, Isabel Coixet, Bella Heathcote and the veteran Australian actress Robyn Nevin, teacher , among others, of actors like Mel Gibson.
It is not surprising that Jake Gyllenhaal and the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joe, have opted as executive producers of this debut feature that hits Spanish theaters this Friday.
Alicia G. Arribas.
(c) EFE Agency