Anna returns from Africa where she had been working as a nurse for an NGO on the front line in an area of conflict. She gets a job as a security guard at an exclusive health center where she meets a troubled young man. She gets involved in a co-dependent relationship with him but can't get the experiences she had in Africa out of her mind.
Anna returns from Africa where she had been working as a nurse for an NGO on the front line in an area of conflict.
She gets a job as a security guard at an exclusive health center where she meets a troubled young man.
She gets involved in a co-dependent relationship with him but can't get the experiences she had in Africa out of her mind..
There are several reasons behind my involvement with this project. One of them, perhaps the one that may seem most significant to others, is that both ANITA NO PERD EL TREN (ANITA TAKES A CHANCE) and AMOR IDIOTA (IDIOT LOVE) , the two previous films I’ve made based on stories by the great Baulenas worked very well both artistically as well as commercially in the many countries where they were shown, and there were many... So it’s not surprising that I would want to work again with the same writer given that I very much enjoyed being the narrator of these two preceding stories.
For many years I’d continued reading Lluis-Anton Baulenas’ work, submerging myself in his extremely rich universe until his latest novel Àrea de Servei came to my attention. According to him, this tale completes a trilogy, which I had begun with the two previous texts that I had brought to the screen. Baulenas, who is a friend with whom I share a wide range of criteria beyond just the literary, had already shown me the story of Anna and Giró in a previous draft prior to publication. I had liked the essence of the tale, but to be honest couldn’t see it on the screen and told him so. The novel was published and to my surprise some critics were to declare what Baulenas has previously foreseen, that it “seemed like one of my films”. Apart from this appreciation, the situation was very similar to that which I had experienced with AMOR IDIOTA, a novel that I had also found difficult to visualise cinematographically. Both stories, AMOR.. and Àrea… were very strong but as opposed to what the press said, I saw them as being difficult to adapt for the screen. With Anita, based on Bones Obres, it was totally different as I experienced an immediate coup de foudre (love at first sight) with the story, which quickly converted into a screenplay. But that’s the way things go with adaptations.
Baulenas insisted and he provided me with an outline for a possible screenplay for Àrea de Servei, which after about two or three months, I started to develop. I put it aside almost immediately as his proposal just didn’t flow cinematographically for me. Some months later, after some re-readings and going over the novel a couple of times I seemed to find a point of “inflexion”, the African reference, which as a leitmotiv, appears fleetingly in the text – where I could base the narrative structure. As I have noted many, many times, it is always the same, if you don’t have a clear narrative structure you can’t tell the story. And that is how I began to develop the screenplay for DRIFTING.
The first attraction lies in the characters that are dealing, in a very peculiar way, with a universal theme, a need for somebody else. At the same time various sub-themes are presented that are equally rich, passionate, and very present in almost all of my films, such as friendship, restlessness and rootlessness.... so once more I went back to focussing on one of my favourite themes, the need for somebody else, but examined from the stand-point of despair, an unhealthy rootlessness, which characterizes the protagonist.
Anna, a thirty-year-old woman, returns affected, burnt out with and by Africa. Both her work during three years as a nurse in a powerful NGO and even more so the lack of meaning of this. Everything, which had motivated her to go no longer, applies. The reality of her experience is not as idyllic as portrayed to Europeans and she is disgusted by the lack of the values which had inspired her to get involved in this world in the first place. Disillusioned, she accepts the first job she is offered. None of her friends or family understand why she takes a job as a night security guard in a luxury health and beauty centre, an extremely exclusive enclave in our western world. Nor do they understand why she breaks up with Ricard, her partner nor even less so why she goes to live on her own in a mobile home, at first parked for a few weeks in a deserted camping and then in the service area of a motorway. Anna’s home, this moving microspace, brings her into contact with others who share their loneliness, lack of roots, marginality, and whether they are loved or not with her. This world is the total opposite to the super fashionable centre where her life is played out for these months.
Meanwhile, at the health centre, Anna meets Giró, a young misfit, detained by a court order and who is paralysed and can’t walk and who refuses to reveal his identity. Anna starts to feel increasingly attracted by this strange being and becomes trapped in a dark and dependent relationship. She thought that she was a strong woman who could keep her feelings under control. However her sexual encounters with the lorry driver shows this to be untrue. In a metaphoric summer night she will experience rejection from Giró, the person who she had allowed into her life. And also the crude reality that this relationship is impossible. But the final return to Africa, a dream that Anna has never been able to forget will be like a return to the search, once more of a ephemeral truth or perhaps the final disappearance as she may be swallowed up by her own dreams.
Africa as a metaphor for the dreams of those who want to escape their current reality. Taking this as the starting point, which I use to open and close the film but also at certain points to highlight the emotional state of the protagonist, since I want to let the story flow. I wanted to return to making a film in which the narrative and the camera, as in for example, Amor Idiota, are totally free to explain the anxiety that Anna feels about finding her other half, in the midst of all the confusion and discomfort of our world.
The entire film is recounted by a handheld camera but not because I want to make a trendy film. I have no desire to be in fashion for just one day. DRIFTING talks about our discomfort but also of the desire to find oneself whilst searching for the meaning of life. And this is what made me decide to take this film in an apparently causal way, although in reality, everything was carefully planned as usual. Just in the same as I explained thorough AMOR IDIOTA, a film I think it has a great deal in common with, I believe that Anna’s story needs to be restyled calligraphically without damaging the shots... It has to seem as though the camera accompanies her on her search, with her eyes, her vision, her feelings but at the same time to be always aware of what I, the narrator, needs to be able to show with total liberty. This is applied to what happens during her return to the western hemisphere. The African treatment is by necessity totally different, dependent on the images to which I have access and include in the story. In my films, I look inside the story itself to find the way it asks to be best explained, trying to find a balance of harmony and coherence between content and form. And I let myself be carried away, as always with total liberty.
ELS FILMS DE LA RAMBLA, S.A.
with the participation of
TELEVISIÓ DE CATALUNYA, S.A.
Based on the play by
LLUÍS ANTON BAULENES
Direction and Production
Director of Photography:
First assistant director
Sound & Editing Studio:
Spain and Andorra Distribution:
Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)
La Paz & Santa Fe (Bolívia)
Montréal and Saskatoon (Canada)
Napoli Film Festival (Italy)
Mexico D.F. (Mexico)
Nominations Gaudí Awards: Maria Molins (Best Actress).