Paco León • Director
"I'm inspired by the reality around me"
- Kiki, Love to Love is the third movie by Paco León, a filmmaker who throws himself headfirst into every single one of his projects, whether it's personal or made to order
Tireless showman, screenwriter and producer Paco León (Seville, 1974) is releasing his third film as a director, following Carmina o revienta [+see also:
film profile] and Carmina y amén [+see also:
film profile]. Kiki, Love to Love [+see also:
interview: Paco León
film profile] was a job commissioned by production outfit Vértigo Films, which asked himto adapt the Australian film The Little Death: and Paco has really put his own spin on it.
Cineuropa: Your new film winds up during one of the most traditional of Madrilenian festivities: the Verbena de la Paloma open-air festival. Did you shoot at the real celebration, or was it a reconstruction?
Paco León: It was filmed around the same dates, right next to the festival, although it was a little bit late, when there weren't so many people: only the employees were left. We set up in the nearby La Cornisa Park because it was important to retain that same energy; it was impossible to film in the middle of the Verbena festival, as we had no control over it, and that place was just perfect to build a set: we took along trailers, extras, a generator, hairstylists… All in order to create our own Verbena de la Paloma, so that people could come dressed authentically for the occasion, having already drunk and eaten, and in the mood to party. Things got a bit heated between myself and the producers because I wanted this climax to be a real party: I don't find fictitious parties believable on film, and when people are relaxed, you can really see it on screen.
When I visited the set, you told me that you were also using improvisation in this film, much like you did in the Carmina saga.
There's a written script, although the actors don't have it. I reveal it to them gradually, and when it's passed on orally you lay down your intention and what you want to get from the other person. So there is always a flexible element that allows some things to happen while others are improved upon: you look for nuances, with more leeway for improvisation. This way, you avoid turning into a robot, especially in terms of mechanising your listening, because when an actor knows the lines and is waiting for his cue, he's not listening, because he already knows what the response will be: when you don't know how someone will answer you, the whole thing turns out more natural. And the rhythms when you're listening can't be faked. I notice the rhythm a lot when a dialogue is learnt by heart: it smacks of soap opera, which I don't like. I also like working with non-professional actors, like the character of the maid: she harbours a mystery that really captivates me – it's that robot-like air that Asians have, and you don't know whether she's good or mad.
How is your movie different from the Australian original?
In the Australian version, the character played by Natalia de Molina wanted to be raped, and I thought that was a pretty delicate matter; then we looked for a similar kind of abnormal attraction, and we settled on violent robbery. The story of the love triangle I'm involved in doesn't have any particular abnormal attraction attached to it, but rather it gradually passes through various sexual practices in search of things: "polyamory" isn't a fetish, but it's a sexual concept. While we were researching, we discovered thousands of abnormal attractions, all of which are very interesting: there are enough to make a lot of Kikis…
Why did you give it this title?
In Spanish, echar un kiki means “to have sex” and stems from the English word "quickly". Then you've also got the French name Kiki and another African one; and it's also an English concept that refers to a type of party: there's a very famous song by the Scissor Sisters that's called Let's Have a Kiki. And so the word "kiki" could apply to all of that: the childish euphemism echar un kiki also has that festive and international side to it.
Which erotic films were you inspired by? While I was watching it, it reminded me of the scatological scene from Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom by Pedro Almodóvar.
Yes, that is one of the few “golden showers” seen in cinema. I don't have any references, although they surface later on because they are the films that I've seen and that I like. I'm inspired more by reality, photography or music. I draw inspiration from things that have happened to me or things I've been told, or from conversations that I hear on the underground, on the bus or in the street. And while I'm not mad on porn, I prefer the stuff from the 1970s – with all the long hair, the hay lofts, amongst the wheat, completely natural – much more than the stuff with the painted nails, pearls and high heels… All of that seems a bit uncouth to me, like your local neighbourhood sex shop, all seedy and trashy. I believe Kiki, Love to Love had to have a more modern, more natural and younger vibe.
(Translated from Spanish)
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