Mother and son return to their country, their city, their past, after years spent abroad. They take diverging paths to reclaim what has been lost; the son in search of an absent father, the mother seeking the possibility of love.
AN OVERWHELMING CHANGE
> Your short films deals with the effects of returning home after a long time. Why were you interested in this process?
This film is based on a very strong feeling that I experienced when I was 14: I returned to Portugal after 7 years, having left when I was only 7 myself, and experienced this coming across the things, people and places that I left behind, being forced to see them through different eyes, after having grown and changed so much.
Here in the film, this confrontation is not only faced by the boy, but also by his mother. We have two different characters here, with two different points of view, and the ways in which they face this shock are very different, and lived very differently. The teenager keeps his thoughts to himself, and acts compulsively, while his mother shares her feelings with us, even if they are abstract.
> Do you think it’s necessary to suffer in order to mature?
I think that this “pain of growth” is what makes us grow. It’s a part of life. As the mother says in the beginning, “the decisions we make are somehow the result from an outward provocation that calls us, like a voice whispering”. We’re always taking small steps, giving ourselves small opportunities now and then.
Although the mother’s world is a kind of fantasy one, she still deals with her own “ghosts” – and the world of the kid, while on the physical order, still goes through some necessary actions. In the film, both characters are confronted with an inevitable shock against the past, and with a rejection that causes in them an inevitable change. Moving on, they’ll have to deal with this change individually, but also in relation to each other. They’ll have to grow together.
> The whole short film takes place in little more than a few days, beginning and ending in midpoints, never reaching a full conclusion. Was this on purpose?
The changes in our lives are sometimes unclear. Transformations often happen without we realizing it. We do feel a reaction to certain events, but it’s not always in a conscious way, and it’s not always immediate. So I decided that the film shouldn’t be closed as a clear episode, with a beginning, middle and end – it should be more flexible.
We’re seeing this moment in the life of this mother and her child, and there’s not really any conclusion to it, only a breakthrough and a moving on, a following with their lives. My dealing with the story was not attuned to the rules of “classical” narrative, in that it would require a clear conclusion, but it was more like a moment and a confrontation in the lives of this people. And nothing else.
After “September”, Leonor directed another short film titled “All I Imagine”, and at the point of the interview, she was starting to work on a feature film script that, in her own words, “may take some time to complete”.