The Eden Hostel is a humble and dirty place, run by an elderly couple. Hanging from the wall of one of its rooms, there’s a statue of the Virgin Mary – who narrates, from her peculiar point of view, the stories of the various guests who stayed there throughout the years.
THE BIG SUFFERINGS AND LOVES
> At the heart of your story is a question of loneliness. Why was this important to you?
The truth is that this story comes from a pretty personal situation in which I needed that affection, and when I felt very alone – all of this story is inspired in how I felt when I was 18 years old, in how I felt like I didn’t fit, and didn’t have any kind of “stable” group of friends that I could feel a part of, so the story speaks about that, about loneliness, and about how we connect or disconnect from each other.
Regarding if the contemporary society suffers from that – at the end, as I said, this is a personal story, but I think that this could be applied to society as well. In the end, we’re living in this world of social media, and we have this constant need to be in contact with each other, even though we don’t really communicate much. I think nowadays, even though we’re more connected than ever, we also feel lonelier than ever before.
> The narrator of your film is personified as a small porcelain virgin hanging on the wall. Why did you decide on such an unexpected perspective?
The virgin was a way to have a narrator that could guide the viewer throughout the film, and at the same time give that narrator a kind of tone and mood – and I really like the fact that the virgin is at the same time someone innocent and maternal, but also ironic. In the beginning, when we started to write the script, I thought of having the room be the narrator itself, but it felt very impersonal and empty, soul-less, so we came up with the idea of the hanging porcelain virgin to make things a little bit more interesting.
When sharing this story, I wanted to do it in a kind of humorous and ironic way, and through some extreme characterization, because I think that all truths go down better if they’re mixed with a little bit of humor. I felt that trying to convey this message through a kind of profound and transcendental narration would have been wrong, so I tried to humanize it a little bit, to make it closer to earth, simpler, easier, more irreverent.
> Why were you so drawn to make a short film about the connections between people?
A big inspiration for me in writing the script was an e-mail that I received from my first love, a girl I dated from 17 to 21 years old, and who, after having talked with me about how lonely and disconnected I felt from the true intentions of people and the purpose of life, wrote a phrase in this e-mail which said: “the big sufferings and loves are both universal”.
Throughout the history of humanity, there have been many mothers to lose their children, youngsters to fall in love, all of this universal experiences, and at the end we’re all connected somehow, because we feel the same things – if you lose someone close to you, or have any kind of big problem, and you go back a little bit, you can realise that you’re not the only one to have gone through that process, or have that problem before. Maybe it’s foolish to think that way, but for me, it’s been very helpful to feel closer to other people, and to feel that my problems are not as big as they may seem.
At the point of the interview, the future plans of Gonzaga -in his own words-, were to “triumph”; but in the meantime, he had just released a new short movie, titled “Fortune-teller”, and was working in the world of advertising.