Argentina’s Alberto Lecchi on ‘I Will Wait For You’ and Why the Good Guys Win

Emilio Mayorga
Variety

Directed by one of Argentine cinema’s most international directors, Alberto Lecchi’s twelfth feature, “Te esperaré” (I Will Wait For You), a drama with thriller elements – much like Juan José Campanella’s “The Secret in Their Eyes” and indeed Lecchi’s own “Alone with You” (2013) – turns on a Spanish revolutionary who lived through much of last century’s social turmoil and conflicts in Spain and Latin America.

Written by Lecchi and Daniel García Molt (a co-scribe on Lecchi’s “Nuts for Love”) and produced by Alejandro Piñeyro at El Costado Producciones and In Post We Trust, “I Will Wait” stars Darío Grandinetti (“Julieta”), son Juan Grandinetti (Lucía Möller’s “Pinamar”), Juan Echanove (“Arcibel’s Game”) and Blanca Jara (“Go Away from Me”). Variety talked to Cecchi just before his film received an invitation-only screening at Ventana Sur.

You return to feature direction after “Alone With You” but you’ve worked for TV a lot since 2005. Are the boundaries between cinema and TV disappearing?

TV series are getting increasingly closer to film. More and more time is devoted to TV scripts and production design. However, there is still one difference. Films are meant to be watched in a 4 x 8 meter screen, in a dark room, in silence. So the details don’t go unnoticed and the spectator can imagine a story while he is watching the movie. This crucial difference has a language difference. On a computer or TV set there is no need for big, general views, but in a movie theater it does make a difference. This of course changes the way to tell a story. But it’s not about technology.

Could you anticipate some details of the plot?

“I Will Wait For You” is a story of feelings, affection, about the importance of inherited ethics that one can get through education. Disguised as a thriller, two characters who apparently don’t know each other, search for their sense of identity under the pressure of a past that marked their lives.

How does “I Will Wait For You”relate to your other films?

In fact, there’re many links with my previous movies such as “Arcibel,” “Nuts” or “The Salt in the Wound.” I try to build personal stories and of course, entertaining movies. I really felt like making “I Will Wait For You” because it talks about the passage through an era that it-s my lot to live fully.

“I Will Wait” kicks off in some of Spanish history’s darkest times. Is it possible to see this period better from outside than from inside this country? This seems interesting at a time when Spain is debating the right to know its own past in its Civil War.

Of course it’s possible and it’s true that one is more objective with things that happen outside than within oneself. Time helps too to give a more objective viewpoint. There are also people that don’t want to reopen certain wounds. And this is a problem. Someday these scars will open.

A character in the movie says: “Good people always win.” Do you really believe that?

The good guys always win when no one can break their ideals, their convictions, their ethics. Undoubtedly, if the struggle continues, someday all these tremendous things that are hidden will come out.

How did you work to get a balance between the dramatic and thriller elements in the movie? 

I feel very comfortable working with the thriller genre and it’s very useful for me because it’s entertaining. Maybe the biggest effort you have to maker is not to miss the central  concern –the story itself– that is the story of two men that experience difficulties in expressing themselves, desperately try to pass on their ideology. Something that they’ve almost unconsciously received.

After the recent political changes in your country, where is Argentine cinema going? And how could that affect co-productions with Spain?

Policies towards cinema have not changed too much. We benefit from a very good film law. Some aspects might be improved but I think the INCAA Film Institute has the intention of doing that. The relationship with Spain still makes co-production natural, although Spanish producers are less willing to take risks than their Argentine counterparts. Anyway, our common history and language bring us close: Co-productions involving both countries will keep on being made. More co-productions, more good films will ben made and the industries will get closer.

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