“The film is a lot about women’s desire”: An interview with The Intruder director Natalia Meta
Based upon the popular Argentine novel El Mal Menor by C.E. Feiling, director Natalia Meta’s El Prófugo is a genre-straddling work which plays with audience expectations while asking questions about the nature of female desire. Meta wrote the screenplay, adapting it in a way that enabled the creation of something original, as opposed to a straightforward cinematic version of the source material. We met up with Meta to talk about the process of adaptation, and whether El Prófugo can be confined to a single genre.
How did you tackle adapting a cult horror novel into a film?
It’s a very free adaptation – it’s kind of inspired by the novel. I like the idea of crossing the boundaries between dreams and reality. I like the idea about the unexpected, and about a woman who doesn’t fit into a stereotype, so I liked the voice of the novel. I hope the novel gets translated into English, so you can appreciate it.
We first see the character of Inés at work – dubbing some footage into Spanish. It actually looks like she’s dubbing a bondage or snuff film – were these clips chosen to create a specific mood?
These were films made especially for our movie. We thought a lot about what kinds of movies they should be – there are scenes that are part of the novel, parts of Japanese movies, so these are little references. The novel is set in Argentina, it’s quite different. For me, the film is a lot about desire – about a woman’s desire, and even about love, about how one would envisage love in present times, so I thought that the idea of a movie that could be – in a way – erotic, this would be interesting for the beginning of our film. If people were expecting a lot of sex in the film, this is not the idea, but I think it’s a sensual movie, and it’s a whole theme in the film, in the sense of the discovery of desire.
Do you consider El Prófugo to be a horror film?
I think it’s a horror film in the sense in which one talks about the films that treat horror… you know there’s a subgenre with films like The Uncanny, or Cat People – typical examples of films that are disquieting, but it’s not about the horror and the gore, but the horror that really takes you to a place where you’re feeling great tension throughout the whole film. El Prófugo talks about crossing different realities, so I thought I should cross different genres, and I really think it has elements from horror films, elements from love stories, comedy, drama.
Photo: Natalia Meta © Valeria Fiorini
The Intruder (El Prófugo) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2020 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for The Intruder (El Prófugo) here: