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Mercedes Sampietro
By: Cecilia Crespo
Spanish actress Mercedes Sampietro, protagonist of the new Cuban film La edad de la peseta (The Silly Age), is in Havana for the 28th New Latin American Cinema Festival that officially concludes on Friday.

Sampietro is attending the popular event this year because of her lead role as Violeta in the first fiction film by young Cuban director Pavel Giroud. Last year she was a member of the jury.

Sampetro has an impressive career in movies and theater and has received numerous international awards as well as the National Film Prize in her country. She spoke to Granma about her impressions of La edad de la peseta, co-produced by Spain and Venezuela.

"It is all about falling in love with the story. If that happens it doesnt matter who is directing, who else is acting or from what country they are from; all these elements are important, but not decisive. Working with Pavel was marvelous as well as with the rest of the team. Despite being his first full-length film, he was very sure of each action; his composure and serenity really affected me. He had studied each character well and above all the relationships woven between them. He knew what was going on and knew it well. He is one of the few directors that convince you that you are the only person on the planet capable of playing the role and he makes you really believe it."

Pavel has said on many occasions that he didnt direct Sampietro, but rather oversaw her and was always open to suggestions from the actress. When asked about the film, the actress didnt hide her love for Latin American cinema and admiration for Tomas Guiterrez Alea, whom she said had always drawn her to Cuban cinema, a dream that finally came true.

"The character of Violeta fascinated me from the moment I took a first look at the script, thanks to the good work by Arturo Infante and his idea of placing this character in this very moving plot. Violeta is a very inflexible woman, whose arm isnt easy to twist, which leads to a series of losses and frustrations in her life and shows how, to a certain degree, her suffering has made her defensive. It was very interesting, different than anything Id done, an unconventional role, temperamental and intransigent, very attractive for any actress. Violeta has a personality very different than mine; the only thing that unites us is the love for photography, one of my great passions.

"Working with the boy, Ivan Carreira, went better than I expected, it surpassed my expectations. We were wide-eyed over how he even knew my lines. He is brilliant actor without mentioning how handsome he is. We spent entire days flirting with him. I think he has a bright future in this career, just as the rest of the beginners on the team.

"If I had to highlight something, it would be his enthusiasm, positive energy and hopefulness that he oozed throughout the shooting, encouraged by the director. Immediately we established a great trust, we were all on the same wavelength. With lots of generosity we faced all the difficulties, like the July and August heat in that big house.

"I was really comfortable working, for which I am very grateful for this experience, which was an unforgettable gift to me. I dont know if the audience can perceive the affection and fraternity with which everything was done, I think it is evident since it is difficult to hide when you feel good and are in harmony. That good spirit that surrounded us was transferred to the screen so that the audience could feel this warmth which the film transmits at all times. Its something I cant describe to you with words, it was there on every level, when you read the lines and love them, the first scene as well, you continue and like it even more. Im thrilled with this experience, so much so that I would like to repeat it."

Source: Granma

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