by director/co-writer Sebastián Lelio
The film is exclusively and radically told from a single point of view: Gloria’s. There isn’t a single frame in which her body isn’t present. There isn’t a single scene that isn’t about how she’s feeling things and the world. Gloria plays a supporting role of sorts in the lives of those around her.
The film’s game is to turn this supporting character into an absolute leading role. The paradox is that -in most scenes- she operates as a supporting character since important things are usually happening amongst other people. Yet the film forces us to observe these events through Gloria’s eyes: those of a woman searching for her place in a hardened world that doesn’t seem to have too much space for her, but with the attitude of someone defending her individual freedom with heart and pride.
This insistence of following her all the time allows for the spectator to infiltrate beneath Gloria’s skin, to never stop watching her, and to connect directly with her emotions.
The film’s screenplay arises from certain stories that have happened to people that I know or from anecdotes that I’ve been told; they’re real events that, in one way or another, Santiago has made possible. Santiago is practically another character in the film. Gloria is an individual story that takes place over the backdrop of a city thrown into upheaval. The leading character’s quest to be loved and valued is set over the clamors of a Chilean society that wants its rights to be recognized. Chile is a modern and thriving country, but its social contract is very unjust.
Gloria’s personal vindications subtly communicate the community’s latent discontent. In the film, the collective’s transforming power is reinforced by Gloria’s own desire for change. I think that the energy in Gloria’s character is what makes this film vibrant and human. In a certain sense, Gloria is like Rocky: the world strikes at her and beats her down, but she manages to get up once more and carry on forward, holding her head up high. This, to me, was always a great reason for which to film this woman’s story, to film what we can see of her on the surface and to try film her mystery as well.