March 23, 2019
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India at center stage of "Maya," a film about a war reporter's need to mend

Madrid, Mar 13 (EFE).- Filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love presented her new movie "Maya" which tells the story of a 30-year-old traumatized war correspondent who travels to India to recover from the horrors he experienced as a hostage in Syria, the French director told EFE on Wednesday.

Ahead of its Spanish premiere later this week, Hansen-Love said that her new film attempts to grapple with key issues, such as terrorism, whilst also wanting to show viewers an unfiltered view of the real India laced with her trademark melancholy.

"On the one hand, the movie reflects Gabriel's desire to find a peaceful and serene space where he can recover," Hansen-Love told EFE. "On the other hand, I wanted to show the real India, not the one we are used to seeing, such as Bollywood or the eternal misery and purification of the Ganges, I assure you there are many Indias."

And that is how Hansen-Love set her eyes on the western state of Goa, a hippie paradise which became popular during the 1970s and which has not received much exposure in the world of films.

"I, at no point, requested to empty the streets or beaches of Goa, and I did not request a filming permit so if you were to travel there now you would see the very same views and landscapes (as in the movie)," the director added.

"The Gabriel character was born of my obsessions which are the themes that permeate my cinema: vocation, melancholy and, above all, the way in which fragility has the power to transform into strength," the director said.

Gabriel is embodied by Hansen-Love's muse, Roman Kolinka (Paris 1986), who in many ways is like her alter-ego and someone she shares many things in common with.

"He is melancholic, like me, and very contained. Gabriel is like the combination of us both," Hansen-Love continued.

The filmmaker denied the narrative had any autobiographical elements although she did say that the movie was extremely personal and much more metaphoric than other features, such as "Eden: Lost in Music," (2014) or "Things to Come," (2016).

"I need the use of metaphors in order to depict the story in the most novelesque way possible."

Hansen-Love launched her career in movies as an actress at the age of 18 in 1981 alongside Olivier Assayas, who later became her long term partner and the father of her daughter.

Ten years later, at the age of 28, she filmed three movies, but it was the Silver Bear for "Things to Come" from the prestigious Berlin international film festival awards that put her in the limelight.

When discussing trends in contemporary cinema Hansen-Love said that nowadays, cinema is clear, heavy, direct and blunt, all characteristics she doesn't identify with or particularly like.

Talking on behalf of her lead actor, the director said that Kolinka doesn't particularly identify with this trend either.

We subscribe to modesty, Hansen-Love continued, to characters that have the ability to grow with subtleties and contradictions.

"Maya," has a very delicate way of warning of the horrors of Islamic terrorism and of the advances extremists are making in countries like Turkey.

"My films are anchored in reality and in the present moment, and right now terrorism has an important place in our lives."

"I opted for depicting it in this way because I don't understand movies that answer to violence with more violence. I do not think in that way, quite the contrary," Hansen-Love concluded. By Alicia G. Arribas

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