Sara is an obese teenager. She goes down to the river pool of her town in Extremadura at noon, when she knows that she will not cross paths with anyone, safe from the taunts of other girls —some even old friends—, from the derision and mockery of her body with which they harass her in how much you step on the street But that afternoon they, hoping to instigate her with a wild joke, are waiting for her. They, and a stranger whose murderous footsteps intersect for better and for worse with Sara’s demolished life. She like that she started little pig (2018), the short with which Carlota Pereda (Madrid, 47 years old) won the Goya in 2019, among 77 awards at many festivals. Last night, converted into a long homonym, it premiered at the Sundance festival, in the Midnight section. “Because of the omicron we are experiencing everything remotely,” confesses Pereda, “but it is just as exciting, because the programmers have turned to virtual services.” Perhaps because, as its director defines, “Little pig it is an ode to the different, with a protagonist who is neither thin nor especially good. Sara is simply human.”
A few years ago, Pereda also went down to that pool in Villanueva de la Vera (Cáceres) at the time of the summer siesta. “I left my daughter, who was not even a year old, at my mother-in-law’s house, and I took advantage of the moment,” she recalls. She used to run into a girl, and she began to think if she came at that time because she suffered bullying. “As a child I changed schools several times. Sometimes I was harassed, other times I remained impassive in the face of the harassment of others out of fear and cowardice,” says Pereda. From that emotional thread she pulled her to write Piggy… although it was not so easy to shoot it. “For two years I searched for the leading actress, a perfect Sara”, and in the end she found her in Laura Galán. “During that shoot I understood that there was more to the story, that the conflict she suffered at the end of the short was the most interesting and could be the first great dramatic twist of the feature. And I already had Laura, so I couldn’t let her escape, ”she says by phone from Madrid.
In little pig, In the feature film, the viewer witnesses the dramatic construction of Sara’s environment: her family —who runs a butcher shop with few customers—, the neighbors, the cruel gangs of teenagers… “Sometimes explaining things is too noisy narrative. However, in this case, delving into its depth provided us with greater truth.” Pereda has developed an emotional drive, an animal attraction between Sara and the serial killer: he is a psycho killer, but at the same time he has made the protagonist’s desire for revenge come true. “I got a very good job gore, certain. As for their relationship, there is one game that I suspect every viewer will see differently. There is a social fascination with bad guys, even more so with serial killers, that freaks me out. Ted Bundy and Charles Manson were receiving love letters and marriage proposals in prison, which was unbelievable.”
Sara, as the protagonist, is also related to another group of characters that are very present in the current Spanish audiovisual: the adolescents who face adulthood, who feel a call from their sexuality that they discover and explore. “There is that game, which in my case is taken to the limit. It is a fatal attraction for someone who you know will not bring you anything good. The actor who plays that unknown, Richard Holmes, has an air, yes, with guts, to Woody Harrelson, “who has embodied that prototype several times.”
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a worldwide suffering
When the short premiered, Pereda already discovered that the harassment of adolescents was experienced the same way all over the world, that fatphobia prevails in all societies. “In the end, sufferings like the bullying or exclusion are universal”, although Sara has been expelled from social relations, she has not chosen marginalization herself. “A lot happens in adolescence. With children these things are not noticeable; Only when you grow up and moral or physical judgments are combined with the need to stand out do these conflicts break out. Today they multiply because of social networks.
Pereda is not a newcomer. She has been in the audiovisual industry for years, as a scriptwriter and director of series such as Journalists; My lovely neighbors; Acacias 38; The secret of Puente Viejo; Paco’s men; Red Eagle; Moon, the mystery of Calenda or B&b, by word of mouth. In the cinema he has already attracted attention with his first short film, the blondes (2016), although it was little pig the one that gave him the rain of recognition. “With the film I have changed actors, except Laura. The main location, that of the Villanueva de la Vera natural pool, is maintained. And it is the town. It didn’t appear in the short film, but since I wrote both scripts there, I decided that the feature film would be shot in Villanueva”, he recalls. “I hope it will serve to convey greater credibility.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.