“Juana Banana”: laughter to face adulthood to all demand and anxiety

At age 10 Ringo Star was already Ringo Star and at 24, Orson Welles had already written “Citizen Kane” (“Citizen Kane”, 1941). But at 28, Juana goes from casting to casting looking for or waiting for her opportunity as an actress. Some of this he shares with his teacher from a literary workshop, to whom he also confesses that he was writing some stories. “Then you’re not depressed,” he replies. “I told you I’m not depressed,” she insists, inquiring for consistency. And so, the first image with which this film starts, a close-up of her speaking with her mouth full, presents us without preamble or overexplanation to a smiling and dazed Juana.

The conversations with Esteban, his teacher of the workshop, become something like those of a psychologist but out of context. Or rather, they are the metaphor of that return that he gives her, once he has read the stories: that all the stories seem to start from it, from the discussion of a couple who has a carpet. In the universe of the film, the talks between Juana and Esteban (played by the director, Matías Szulanski) could quietly function as the backbone of the story. The classic: life is what happens while these two characters meet for lunch and Juana tells her misadventures; Because true, he doesn’t stop to ask him how he’s doing. Quietly, everything that happens to him leads to these conversations in which he tries to find meaning in adult life that becomes a vicious circle, of expectation, anxiety, and the responsibility of finding a roof under which to sleep, or a partner (Franco Sintoff) with whom to deal. A loop that like a dog when it tries to grab its tail, tries to reach itself. As in the film but in reality, Szulanski summoned Julieta Raponi in a café to tell her that she was going to be Juana. “She saw me in an Instagram story and contacted me for a casting,” the actress tells us as in another coincidence with fiction. “I sniffed out a couple of scenes virtually because it was still pandemic. Then he called me for coffee, he told me if I wanted to do the character. I didn’t know I was the protagonist, I got the script and I couldn’t believe it was that,” she says in a dialogue with Filo.News.Juana, la loca

Photo: Courtesy of the press

The turning point of the film happens when the protagonist finds in a book in a friend’s library. A novel collapsed, which her friend does not even seem to register. These pages begin to be for Juana more than a place to transport, the obsession that there is a refuge, a truce for oneself.” I am very inspired by literature”, details the director who assures composing from close experiences such as feeling that “restlessness, anxiety, worry, wanting to do something, be someone”. “That does happen to me a lot. At 24, Orson Welles did ‘Citizen Kane’, and I was past 24 and didn’t do ‘Citizen Kane’; that pressure that sometimes I put on myself,” he acknowledges. We all have a little bit of Juana and Juana has a little bit of everyone. Because although it seems like a shot in the air, he likes reading a lot and getting veneer of what he knows or reads, then he cites actors who are not well known, but who are a reference in the field of readers. Always showing it with affection, because I am like that too. With a career marked by previous releases such as “Pendeja, payasa y gorda” (2017), “Astrogauchos” (2019), “Flipper” (2021), as well as the foundation of Kligger, a studio dedicated to promotion and production, the director defines this ninth film as “the most personal”.

Photo: Courtesy of the press

Laughing and caricatured portrait of a young castaway in the streets of Villa Crespo, who with a grotesque laugh -and intentionally composed for the film- escapes conventionalism, to compose that most of the time, behind the filters with which we show ourselves in networks, we expose ourselves to the ridicule of an oasis that is success -stick it in what one does- whose fine print does not warn -and in this it does betray- how much you can despair in the attempt.” It seemed very fair to me the moment of my life when the movie came to me, “says the protagonist, recalling the quarantine period due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. “It was like finding a little bit my place in the world, my Juliet, channeling the confinement, the fear, everything there,” he says. “I find the character so deep and interesting,” he continues, “There is something that Juana goes, comes, runs, but at the same time this depth that hits us all: Juana from the performance and everyone in different situations. It goes beyond gender, how We define ourselves but by what happens to us, at some point in life we all go through that of seeing where we are going, what is our place in the world, how we function. ” Juliet is also recognized in Juana. “Acting is what interests me most; May what I do be of truth, of the heart, that comes from me. I feel that Juana has, obviously, my things because I’m tackling a character, but I also put together a lot of little things that distance me: her speed to speak, her wasteful way of throwing herself into bed, the reluctance, the laughter all the time. Details to distance myself but I know it happens and I agree that it happens, “he says.

Photo: Courtesy pressPhoto: Courtesy press

The actress is named after one of Shakespeare’s characters that take us back to shortly after the origin of tragedy and comedy. But thinking about it in contemporary terms, we are facing an ambivalent mixture of what in the film is expressed from Juana’s clumsy laughter.” It was not thought how laughter represents this, but rather we were realizing and watching the movie many times. Some of the discomfort and sadness is put in that laughter and not necessarily in crying, like what we usually expect when we see that someone is sad or frustrated. The idea was to show it from another place: running from the solemnity, and it appeared naturally, “says Julieta. And how much happens that when we laugh we cry a little, and when we get anguish, we try to laugh.

Filmed in emblematic spaces of the City of Buenos Aires, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the San Martín Theater, the Ecological Reserve (which is effectively a space under discussion for the native communities), “Juana Banana” is the hyperbole of a Buenos Aires generation to the hurries and the pulls, demanded by unattainable rents, and some affection where to fall to drown the daily sorrows. But he neither composes nor defines it, because his own world puts at the center of the questioning with characters like his friend (Jenni Merla) who serve you as the wall of reality with which he collides. Necessary to keep in mind that Juana does not represent the under-30 humanity, far from it. But it is likely that his freneticism nests something of that irritating and sympathetic naivety, and adrenaline generated by the idea of an imminent but inevitable future that at the same time arrives without stability and few things clear.

“Juana Banana” premieres this Thursday, November 17, after having participated in the Argentine Competition of the 37th edition of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival.
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Original source in Spanish

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