MUBI is partnering with the New York Film Festival to present highlights from Projections, a festival program of film and video work that expands upon our notions of what the moving image can do and be. Nicolás Pereda's Minotaur (2015) is showing on MUBI nearly worldwide from October 6 - November 5, 2016.
Minotaur has different origins. First I thought of it as a kind of continuation/extension of a short I made called The Palace that dealt with issues of hired domestic labor. In Minotaur, I wanted to make a film about my social class in Mexico, and our relation with their servants. I was interested in creating a surreal atmosphere, and not a melodrama about class relations.
I made a film 9 years ago with the same cast (Luisa, Paco, Gabino) in what back then was Gabino's apartment—it's called Juntos (Together). With Minotaur, I wanted to make a very different film, yet in very similar circumstances: the same people, Gabino's current apartment, some of the same books and furniture...but with radically new, cinematographic, political and social interests. Also my relationship with the actors has changed over time and the relationships with each another as well, so I wanted to keep that present.
While I was finishing the screenplay, Andrea suggested I take a look again at Last Year at Marienbad. I was intrigued by the ambiguous love triangle, the setting, and in general the opulence displayed on screen. I didn't watch the film again, but I did read the screenplay. Some of the things they read in Minotaur and the ambiguity of their relationships were inspired by that film.
The books were of particular importance. Gabino reads more than most people I know. His apartment has very little things and many, many books. He is proud of this. At the same time, I think in the context of Mexico, his ability to read a couple of books a week not only speaks of his intellectual ambitions, but also of his privileged social status. I wanted to convey this tension. Also, I think I found something interesting that I'm still enjoying, which is the fact that what the characters read out loud what can be interpreted as their real or imagined relationships.
Books give the characters the ability to have hopes and dreams, whereas in the house of the maids there are no books.