After bringing his international sensation The Clan to TIFF in 2015, Argentine auteur Pablo Trapero is back at the festival this week with his latest family drama, The Quietude. Marking his fifth collaboration with spouse Martina Gusman, the film examines the complicated, intimate relationship between two sisters (portrayed by Gusman and Oscar nominee Bérénice Bejo), living on separate continents, who are reunited when their father suffers a stroke.
While the visually kinetic film is, first and foremost, “a female portrait of two sisters,” it is notably set against the backdrop of a bloody military dictatorship in Argentina’s past—a past which lingers continuously in the memory of those who lived through it decades ago, but has “nothing to do with [the] reality” of younger generations. “This movie, it’s [portraying] the past in different ways, and different layers of the past. This reencounter is not only about these two sisters, but about the whole ecosystem in the family,” Trapero told Deadline, appearing in Toronto today. “Not only [do] they have things to fix and to solve from their personal, intimate past, but also we learn that the family is linked with this moment in Argentina, this dark moment we all lived.”
Challenging himself to write an entirely new character for Gusman with The Quietude, Trapero’s major focus was on developing and honing the intimate sibling relationship at its core. “From the very beginning, I started to work [in] the writing with Martina, and then I started to share part of this process with Bérénice. That was in the writing process, and then we spent some time in Paris doing table [reads]. We did camera tests in Paris, and then when we were close to starting production, Bérénice came to Buenos Aires,” the director shared. “We worked all together, and Martina and Bérénice did an amazing job, between the two of them, rehearsing and finding details here and there.”
“I think this is one of the things that the audience will enjoy the most,” Trapero added, “this really symbiotic link they have.”
Premiering at the Venice Film Festival before moving on to Toronto, The Quietude is Sony Pictures International’s first-ever Argentine co-production. For more from our conversation with Trapero, take a look above.