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We met Rocio Munoz Morales in Milan on the occasion of Sguardi Altrove International Women’s Film Festival where she presented her second book Where the sun is born .
What was the trajectory that led you to writing?
Actually it was my first love, I’ve always been, since I was little, a nerd who loves to read and write. I studied to be a journalist before being carried away by the passion for acting.
Where the sun is born it is the story of a woman, Ana, who lands in Capri to celebrate her engagement to her partner, Fabio, a man who immediately presents himself as very controlling. She then realizes that she wants something different for herself and her life. As in her first novel, the protagonist, Ana is Spanish in Italy. Do the similarities with her stop there?
No, it took me a lot of my own, not only because as a Spaniard I too had to make my home in Italy, or rather find my identity in this country, but because I too, like the protagonist, to get here, faced a long and very painful journey. I had lost myself without realizing it. It’s taken a while and things that have happened to me to get to be the woman that I am and that she was kind of hiding over those years, she was kind of hushing, she was putting her head down .
Sguardi Altrove celebrates the gaze of women in cinema. She dedicates her book to her mother, her grandmothers and other women “who had the courage to fight to be themselves”. How important is female solidarity to you, sharing with other women?
Is critical. I like to observe, listen and learn from other women, they are the best life teachers. They have more to teach. Perhaps because we are mothers and therefore have the possibility of generating life and carrying it within us, this gives us both strength and a sweet gaze towards the world. In my family we are three sisters and we all have daughters, I speak from experience!
You spoke clearly of how you suffered from male chauvinism in the world of cinema, for that typecasting that relegated you to roles of beautiful and nothing else.
For me it was a struggle at the beginning, because I came from training as an actress, from studies, but they only saw me as something external, aesthetic, not profound. It seems that if you have certain physical characteristics, such as beauty, which in my opinion is very relative, absolutely non-objective, you cannot be anything else. I fought a lot for the fact that if you have these characteristics then you can’t be prepared, precise, determined, curious, someone who studies, a nerd. But I am.
And so how did he do it?
At the beginning I just wanted to play ugly roles, make myself ugly, I tried in so many ways to wait for those roles to be offered. But they didn’t arrive, they always offered me to play “the beautiful” and that’s it without deepening. It didn’t suit me, it made me angry. Little by little I succeeded, I didn’t give up, I said “I will win this battle” because I believe in it so much.
You can see that it is something that makes her very angry.
Yes, even in life this thing bothers me: being judged like Rocio the tall and thin one. This is how I am, this is how my mother gave birth to me! I could have been short. What should I do? If you want the truth, I eat, I don’t go to the hairdresser, as soon as this interview is over I’ll take off these very uncomfortable heels.
There are many young women who follow you: what advice would you like to give them?
I wouldn’t have thought I’d get to give advice because I still feel like a kid, but in the end the thing I’ve learned is that making mistakes is okay. You learn from mistakes, they are part of life and it’s nice to enjoy life.