“Without scholarships, I couldn’t have ended up making movies”

Three years after receiving the first call from Cinema Jove, Lynne Ramsay arrives in Valencia with a mixture of enthusiasm, gratitude and humility that does not seem typical of one of the favorite directors of the exclusive Cannes film festival. “It is the first time that I am here and it is a beautiful place. This blue light reminds me of the four years I spent living in Santorini ”, he confesses from the terrace of the seventh floor of the Rialto, a historic building that serves as the main venue for a festival specialized in promoting the careers of young international filmmakers. Today the star is her. The person in charge of films like We need to talk about Kevin Y I was never really here is in the capital of Turia to receive the Luna de Valencia Award in tribute to his career.

I carry Spain in my heart”. They could be the classic words of thanks that every international guest repeats every time they are promoting outside their country. In Ramsay’s case, it seems like a real sentiment. The Scotswoman has shot four feature films in her 51 years of existence, half of them dedicated to storytelling. Two of them passed through Spain to capture the author’s fascination with popular Spanish festivals. Ohanes, Almerimar and the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Níjar were some of the locations in Movern shut up, the story of a young woman who hits the road after her boyfriend’s suicide. Years later, Ramsay competed for the Palme d’Or with a brutal portrait of motherhood that It started with Tilda Swinton in La Tomatina de Buñol.

Lynne Ramsay in Valencia.

Dani Garcia-Sala

Cinema Jove

“Running We need to talk about Kevin, Tilda discovered how good tomato was for her skin”, The director jokes about a filming held 40 kilometers from the roof where she talks to EL ESPAÑOL today. That film was the beginning of his friendship story with a woman that he defines as “a goddess.” Four years later, the Londoner became her daughter’s godmother. The protagonists of his latest films, Joaquin Phoenix and the star of Human voice, break with the classic Hollywood actor model. “I’m more comfortable working with actors who behave like real human beings,” she acknowledges.

On the set of I was never really here, the director had trouble communicating with the actor of the Joker. Ramsay’s thick Glasgow accent was to blame. It didn’t matter: it was the beginning of another love story. “He is the best actor in the world”, He confesses with evident admiration. “Now I am working on a script that we are going to do together”, Anticipates in scoop on his visit to Valencia. “It is much more difficult when you come up with an original idea, but it is impossible not to get excited when you are preparing a film with Joaquin. Polaris, whose plot or genre details are unknown, will be co-starring Rooney Mara (Carol), partner of the actor in real life.

The couple’s previous collaboration was a resounding success, with prizes for the best script for her and the best actor for him at the most prestigious festival on the planet. “I get nervous every time I go to Cannes. The critics are brutal. They have always behaved very well with me, but it is a difficult situation. The festival is a fundamental part of my career ”, admits someone who has presented six of his works in a not particularly generous appointment with women filmmakers. Francis Ford Coppola was the president of the jury the first time that Ramsay was in the contest with Small Death, your graduation project at the National School of Film and Television. Won the jury award. Two years later he won the same award again with his second short film, Gasman.

Lynne Ramsay and Joaquin Phoenix on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.

Lynne Ramsay and Joaquin Phoenix on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.


At 51, he insists that he would never have been able to access this prestigious training center if he had not had a scholarship. “We had no money at home, although they had always liked the cinema ”. Ramsay began to love movies thanks to his mother, with whom he has reunited in Valencia after a year without seeing each other due to the pandemic. She still remembers how, at just 7 years old, she fell in love with the shocking start of Shadow threat, the classic of Nicolas Roeg. To his mother he also owes his first contacts with thriller, melodrama and the career of Alfred Hitchcok.

Despite loving cinema since she was a child, her first passion was photography. “When I got to film school, I didn’t know how to move the camera. They told me I was the worst director in the world and what I should have learned before I signed up for school, ”he laughs. “It took me a year or two to catch up and catch up with my peers, but it was clear to me that I wanted to make movies.” Before turning 30, he had already presented three works on the Croisette.

“In the United Kingdom most of the stories are told by men, whites and people from the privileged classes”. Ramsay endorses the criticisms of the system that actors such as Daniel Mays, Judi Dench and Julie Walters launched years ago. “It is very important that they continue to give scholarships and grants for film schools. If not, they will always end up telling the same stories. Even in America, where there are many more places to train, you can only reach them if you are rich. “

Tilda Swinton in 'We need to talk about Kevin'.

Tilda Swinton in ‘We need to talk about Kevin’.

BBC Films

Ramsay has a weakness for the new generations, to which she returns on several occasions in our encounter with her. “I met Barry Jenkins at the Telluride Film Festival when I was a film student, almost 20 years ago. He showed me pictures of his film school work and I was impressed. ” Director of Moonlight recognizes the Scottish as one of the great influences in his career behind the cameras. Now the filmmaker is obsessed with an Asian promise who is barely 20 years old and who will help to produce her first film. “It’s honestly the best script I’ve ever read.”

After directing four films in 20 years, the Briton has put fifth gear and is currently working on three projects. His most immediate shooting should be the adaptation of a short story by Margaret Atwood, the revered author of The Handmaid’s Tale. Stone Mattress is the story of a woman who goes on a cruise to the Arctic. There she meets a man who raped her fifty years ago, when she was fourteen. “It’s an incredible story, tough but also very funny,” promises the director.

Ramsay just finished the script for The girl who loved Tom Gordon, an adaptation of a best-seller by Stephen King about a 9-year-old girl who gets lost in a forest where she must survive with the only company of a walkman and the memories of her favorite baseball player. “It is a survival story rather than a horror story. It is a simple film, but very powerful ”, anticipates the director of what will be her first major project in Hollywood.

'Jane Got a Gun', Ramsay's cursed movie.

‘Jane Got a Gun’, Ramsay’s cursed movie.

Relativity Media

In the past Two frustrated experiences in the Mecca of cinema stand out. “In case of The Lovely Bones It was something natural ”, the director removes iron in reference to her unsuccessful attempt to bring to the cinema From my sky, the popular novel by Alice Sebold. “So I had only made two films and we are in the early stages of production when Peter Jackson became interested in the project. Came from doing The Lord of the rings. There was nothing to do. Hollywood is like that and nothing happens ”, he admits from a distance.

In case of Jane got a gun, the western that he ended up directing Gavin O’Connor with Natalie Portman, it was more complicated. Ramsay left the film on his third day of shooting. “Suddenly the producers changed their minds and wanted to make a different film than the one that had been talked about from the beginning. I should have quit the project earlier”. Despite these experiences, this fan confesses to Black Panther He’s not reluctant to make a great Hollywood movie. “The important thing is to have the support of an important actor who is by your side.”

Nor does he rule out following the path of his friend Jenkins and turning to television. “What Barry has done with The Underground Railroad is incredible. I’m working on some stories that could have a longer development. What does not attract my attention is to make series that are lengthened and they last over time ”, he explains before highlighting his passion for Peaky Blinders. Our time with Lynne Ramsay is up. The great star of the 36th edition of Cinema Jove must continue with his route of commitments, meetings and escapades in Valencia. The next time we meet her it will be, hopefully, in a movie theater.