An Interview with Marlén Viñayo (Director)
I Want the Many Women Wounded by Violence to See This Film
Q: Please tell us how you came to film the theater troupe.
MV: I went to El Salvador for the first time in 2010, to shoot a promotional video for an El Salvadorian NGO. That NGO was running a day-care center, and the women from the marketplace were always coming and going, leaving their children there. I met the members in this film there.
When I immigrated to El Salvador three years later, and saw the women again, they had started a small theater troupe. I’d shot some footage to introduce their activities, and then, I heard that the theater troupe’s newest play would be based on the theme of “being a mother.” Rehearsals had already begun, and I got to talking with the theater director about how much it would mean for everyone if I filmed the play’s rehearsals. I immediately began filming, using an old video camera from the advertising company I had been working for.
Even before filming, the women had already begun to talk about their lives through the theater piece. That was an extremely difficult process, and seeing it, I myself began to change. I had not known about the extreme violence that the women of El Salvador were subjected to, and they needed to talk about it themselves. In order to have even more people learn about these women, I felt that I needed to make a film about them.
Q: Did the women of the theater troupe have any objections about being on camera?
MV: I shot the majority of the scenes at rehearsals and at their houses on my own. At first, my male cinematographer could not join us. They had told me that they didn’t want other people involved when they were talking about their personal stories. I had built up a very close relationship with the women, so I tried to film the rehearsals as respectfully as possible, sitting in a corner by myself, holding the camera unobtrusively, so that they could perform without any reservations. When filming at their homes, I at first went without my camera, but by the time we gradually developed our relationship, I was able to visit their houses with my camera. The scene where they are happily playing by the sea was one I filmed after being invited by one of the troupe members. I also had good opportunities to film in places other than the theater and their houses. Around that time, my relationships with the women and their children had strengthened, so everyone went for an outing together.
Q: Who do you want to see this film?
MV: When the theater troupe’s play had ended, the audience members gathered around, and they had a big discussion where the women began to speak of their experiences. The same thing has happened after screenings of my film. The film is being screened at various festivals, but I want it to go out into the communities, and reach people who are in similar circumstances as these women. I think we can hold workshops together with the screening. I’m going to Mexico next to show the film, and someone suggested that I show it at a marketplace, so that people who don’t usually go to the movie theater can watch it at other places. This is a story locally situated in El Salvador, but I think that there are, more or less, similar situations wherever you go, so I want to go out to those places, and have people watch the film there.
(Compiled by Inotani Yoshika)
Interviewers: Inotani Yoshika, Tokunaga Ayano / Interpreter: Kawaguchi Takao / Translator: Joelle Nazzicone
Photography: Yagi Hiroko / Video: Oshita Yumi / 2019-10-13