Benito Zambrano: “There are parties that claim the male figure, but fortunately we are changing”

  • The director adapts the novel by Cristina Campos ‘Lemon bread with poppy seeds’ and vindicates the cinema of emotions through a film starring women in which they talk about identity, vital disappointments and the need for empowerment.

When Benito zambrano read the novel of Cristina Campos placeholder image, ‘Lemon bread with poppy seeds’, he felt deeply connected to the story he was telling, that of two sisters very different from each other who had not spoken for a long time and who resumed the relationship after receiving as an inheritance the bakery of a stranger.

Within it, he found many subjects that interested him, almost all related in some way to the feminine and motherhood. It was also a way to return to ‘Alone‘, his acclaimed debut feature, but from a totally different perspective, in which realism left the door open to short stories and poetry.

“The way I connect with the stories starts from the feeling, and this was fundamentally a stomach story. I cried a lot while reading the novel, it hit me deeply and I established many bonds with it. In addition, she spoke of a universe of women from a very contemporary perspective and flew over aspects such as family, ties, wounds, reconciliation, decisions and empowerment, which I was very interested in exploring & rdquor ;, the director tells El Periódico during his visit to Madrid after presenting the film at the Seville Festival.

There was another reason that attracted him, to be able to shoot in Africa. The protagonist, Marina (Elia Galera), works as a gynecologist in an NGO and there she has made her life after traveling around the world helping people. We will meet her after attending the delivery of a woman who dies after giving birth to a girl with whom she will feel an immediate connection. “I had always wanted to film in Africa, I think we have to look more and better towards there, and I wanted to make a film that paid tribute to aid workers, people who give their lives to help others. So this story gave me the opportunity to do both & rdquor ;.

On ‘Lemon bread with poppy seeds’ the relationships between the protagonists are fundamental. The axis that supports everything is the reunion between Marina and Anna (Eva Martin), but these two characters also have their journey in parallel. Anna upon discovering that she is ill and realizing that she has lost everything because of her husband, and Marina as she tries to find out what is behind the secret of the mysterious woman from the bakery and her lemon bread with poppy seeds .

“Excited man”

Alongside these polyhedral female characters, who are accompanied by a whole tribe that is established around them, we find two types of men belonging to different generations. One represents machismo, the other, understanding through love and respect. “Between one and the other there are many grays, which is where I think the rest of the men find ourselves. Now there are political parties that claim the figure of the male, but fortunately we are changing. That is why I like the character of Mathias (Tommy Schlesser), because he does not impose his testicles, but for him the important thing is love and affection & rdquor ;. In spite of everything, the last advice that Anna will give to her daughter, Anita (Mariona Pagès) will be precisely: “don’t depend on your uncles, don’t repeat my same mistakes & rdquor ;, as a declaration of intent on the need for independence from the woman.

Benito Zambrano is interested in what the men of ‘Lemon bread with poppy seeds’ may think, for that reason, every time a screening has been made, he has wanted to know their opinion, because supposedly the film has the label of’ cinema for women ‘. “I wanted to know if that stereotype had been overcome, and I found men crying, excited on the way out.”

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Another of the themes that the film deals with is the possibility of dying with dignity and accompanied by the people you love. “For me it is a very important issue that I wanted to capture well, because nothing seems more beautiful to me than to be able to have a good death and to be able to leave the way you want & rdquor ;.

Benito Zambrano, after his adaptation of the novel ‘Outdoor’, much harsher and more violent, returns to the cinema of feelings. He does it in an elegant way, without underlining the emotions, but letting the viewer get carried away by them.

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