VENICE, September 4 – Maggie Gyllenhaal chose an unconventional novel about motherhood for her directorial debut in The lost girl, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival yesterday.
In the film, Olivia Colman plays Leda, a middle-aged British literature professor vacationing alone in Greece who finds herself fascinated by a young mother (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter on the same beach.
Watching them, Leda dwells on her own emotional conflicts as a mother to two young girls years ago and the guilty decisions she made in order to be able to live her life.
The script is adapted from the eponymous 2006 book by Elena Ferrante – a pseudonym of the notoriously secret Italian author, best known for his Neapolitan novels with whom Gyllenhaal only corresponded by letter.
Gyllenhaal said that at first, when she read the book, she thought the protagonist was mentally damaged, but then realized how she could relate to her.
“I realized that a lot of people have this experience and no one is talking about it. These are secret truths about a female experience, ”she told reporters after a press screening.
“I think I would be really shocked to learn that there was a mother who hadn’t thought once, what if I walked out the door?” “
Making the film was a revelation for the Oscar-nominated actress, who comes from a family of filmmakers and married to fellow American actor Peter Sarsgaard, who also stars in the film.
“I think I’ve always been a director and I just didn’t feel entitled to admit it,” she said. “I think it’s a better job for me actually.”
Colman said she relished the prospect of playing someone who sometimes does something horrible.
“All people want to be one person, it turns out they’re not that person and they’re probably someone else,” she said. “It was intriguing to play a character who does something that I wouldn’t do, even if you think about it sometimes.”
The lost girl is one of 21 films in the running for the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, which runs until September 11. – Reuters