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A Peek into Argentinian-Chilean film director Sebastián Lelio’s new film ‘Disobedience’

A Peek into Argentinian-Chilean film director Sebastián Lelio’s new film ‘Disobedience’

by Shruthi Venkatesh November 22 2018, 4:20 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 54 secs

The Argentinean-Chilean film director Sebastian Lelio talks about his new film, ‘Disobedience’, the story of a lesbian affair in a London orthodox Jewish community. The film arrived in theatres shortly after ‘A Fantastic Woman’ won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film earlier this year. ‘Gloria Bell’ an English-language remake of his film ‘Gloria’, is due in theatres next year.

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When Rachel Weisz saw Sebastian Lelio’s 2013 Spanish film ‘Gloria’, about a 58-year-old woman’s sexual re-awakening, she knew she could trust the Chilean director with ‘Disobedience’

The film is about Ronit (Rachel Weisz), a woman who reawakens a teenage affair with Esti (Rachel McAdams), a woman from her Orthodox Jewish community. Ronit returns home after the death of her father, having left her religious life behind years ago. Although her childhood best friend, Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), welcomes her cautiously and she is surprised to spot he and Esti are married.

In the film, the tension between the two women is clear the minute they lay eyes on each other. Surprisingly, it is Esti who makes the first move, catching Ronit off guard. In the scene which the director calls “the heart of the film … the deepest layer,” Ronit and Esti tumble into bed with equal parts wild abandon and tender sensuality. The lesbian sex scene on screen is here rendered respectfully and gracefully, while still delivering the lustful thrill its characters deserve as Dovid states, “It is important that everything be conducted with honour.”

Both Weisz and Lelio said having the scene mapped out helped both actresses let go. “What often happens on sets, and I’ve only done heterosexual love scenes, is they just get naked and improvise,” said Weisz. “And sexuality is very — it’s like in a film you need good words — you need good gestures, you need good tropes … Within the structure of the scene, we could really abandon ourselves.” She says.

The film is somewhat, about the institution of marriage. “I wish I knew,” Lelio says, laughing. “I mean, I have no idea. I wonder about that myself every day. I’m not married (he is 44) – I’m not but I was – and I think it’s very complicated, a huge question. I think we’re all, in one way or another, trying to answer this… life, as it goes by, is hard. It can be beautiful and terrible. I don’t know if what we’ve inherited is a social contract that is no longer relevant, and whether we have to adapt it to the complexity of what life is today. Is marriage necessary for real love? I don’t know.” He further encloses in his interview when asked which bridge he is going to cross next, “I can’t tell as yet, because I’m writing and trying to decide which of the two or three projects I’m developing is right for the next film.” Yet, another fantastic woman genre is still a hidden mystery for what he says it depends on which film he chooses.

Disobedience’ is scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom on 30 November 2018 by Curzon Artificial Eye.


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