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LatinoBuzz: Interview with Marialy Rivas

LatinoBuzz: Interview with Marialy Rivas

Who wins the World Cinema Screenwriting Award at Sundance and accepts it with: “I don’t speak very well English, but I want to say thanks and have a lot of sex”? Marialy Rivas does. That’s how dope she is. Marialy is part of a new generation of Chilean filmmakers such as Pablo Larrain, Cristian Jimenez, Dominga Sotomayor and Alicia Scherson, that are a re-birth in the country’s cinema much like La Nouvelle Vague. It’s provocative, daring, exciting and it’s especially non conforming. Her feature debut, the hyperactive and sexy ‘Joven Y Alocada’ (‘Young And Wild’)(ISA: Elle Driver) had its New York premiere recently at NewFest.

LatinoBuzz:How can you best describe the wave of young daring filmmakers that are coming out of Chile? Where did it come from? And is it a result of a generation of artists that were born under the dictatorship?

 Marialy Rivas:I think that we had great Chilean filmmakers during the 70’s that where killed during the dictatorship, only a few like Raul Ruiz or Patricio Guzman survived but they were exiled or they move to other countries in fear for their lives. All Cinema Schools were closed. Somehow, after more than 20 years of democracy, finally there is a new wave of filmmakers able to reconnect with those voices that were erased from our lives. The support of the State through grants (that mostly seeks a strong art proposal), the fact that we are all first timers and that there is no “industry” in the country has two consequences that I guess are resulting in a good mix; in one hand we are very free because we have no proper training or the pressures to answer to any kind of industry standard and at the same time because our country is small and so far away we are very conscious that we have to have a loud and clear voice to speak to the world. 

 LatinoBuzz: Why film?

Marialy Rivas:Because I was never able to love anything else. When I was 7 years old I decided to become a filmmaker, it felt like a calling and I have pursued that calling my whole life. In retrospective I think it had a lot to do with the fact that my parents around that age kicked off the TV from the house so I started going to the movies, any kind of movies three times a weeks. I remember being 10 or 12 and going alone to watch an American blockbuster like “No Retreat, No Surrender” and the next day Andrey Tarkovskiy’s ‘Offret’. It felt like a ritual, like something so personal and intimate that was only mine, it was like being in love.

LatinoBuzz:If you could re-make a film which is it and who do you cast? 

Marialy Rivas:I would do Saló all over again with American indie stars like Carey Mulligan, Fassbender, Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Gosling so they get fully naked all together once and for all.

LatinoBuzz:If two filmmakers were lovers and named their child Marialy Rivas, who are they?

 Marialy Rivas: I wish my dad was Godard and my mom Leni Riefenstahl (scary) or a fantastic mom can also be Gus Van Sant.

LatinoBuzz:What song describes you best? 

MarialyRivas: A mash up between ‘Gracias a la Vida’ by Violeta Parra and ‘Erotica’ by Madonna.

 LatinoBuzz: Is there a film from your childhood that you thought was great but in retrospect was so goddamn awful?

Marialy Rivas:I was in love with Footloose, the story of this guy rebelling against the town religious craziness just killed me. I watched again with a friend like a week ago and realized that it wasn’t as good as in my memory, specially the camera and the light work. I keep loving the story and the dance scenes though.

I also used to watch “The Sound of Music” once a week on my neighbors house, we did planed to make it as a musical with all the kids from the Neighborhood. That one I still love very much.

LatinoBuzz:When you make a film, are you thinking about receiving acceptance?

Marialy Rivas:I think the experience of cinema is not complete till it arrives to an audience, is the coronation of the experience; you are ultimately having a conversation with them. I moved to NY for a couple of years and I remember being in the middle of the street standing up between hundreds of people passing me by. I kept thinking, we are crossing each other for this split tiny second and never again, I felt like hugging each one of them. And there I thought, “I hope that when I make a movie I will be able to reach out to most of them.

Acceptance is not what I think about though, I fall in love with the stories, madly in love and I can’t think or do anything else, but I do wanna connect with an audience at the end, to show them the beauty I saw in the story to begin with, to provoke them, to communicate with them in as many ways as possible. 

LatinoBuzz:What was the happiest moment in your life?

Marialy Rivas: Uff, so many. I am a very happy person I must say. If I have to summarize I can recount three:

1.    The first time I had sex.

2.    When they called me from Cannes to tell me I was being selected in the official competition with my short film ‘Blokes’.

3.    When I was driving home after my last birthday this April and this feeling of perfection suddenly hit me. It was like a state of grace. Nothing in particular triggered it, I wasn’t drunk or high, I just realized how wonderful my life was and I was so deeply grateful and in joy for it that I stay up till 10am looking at the ceiling crying and smiling (again I don’t drink or do drugs and I’m not a hippie either).

LatinoBuzz: Let’s say Pablo Neruda and Matilde invited you over to their home on La Isla Negra. Who’s your date and what wine do you take?

Marialy Rivas: I imagine taking a modern version of Amelia Earhart with the face and body of Greta Garbo (yes, I aim high) and Vino Navegado, a Chilean preparation of hot wine, orange, cinnamon and more, to be able to actually drink it.

LatinoBuzz: Five years from now people will people say about Marialy?

Marialy Rivas: Wow, I wish they were talking at least about two more movies that I have done. Ah! And: How hot and smart her wife is and such beautiful kids!

For info on ‘Joven Y Alocada’ visit:

Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo, LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights emerging and established Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow @LatinoBuzz on twitter.

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