I went after the actress who played me in the movie ′′ Black Venus ′′ and asked her some questions. She literally felt everything I felt and I know it wasn't easy going through the same situations I went through. I loved talking to her because I found someone who understood me and really understood me.
It's true! I was walking down the street in Belleville, where I live, and he approached me. Actually, it was your assistant, who called me and spoke to me, because Abdul is not the guy who approaches a girl on the street as a director who seeks someone to act in his film. At the time, he was preparing
The Secret of the Grain, but he already had his story in mind. He said he was seized by my presence... I had left Havana just before, and I was teaching Spanish until I found something better. Then we lost touch with each other. Then we crossed again by chance, in the same place in 2008.
He had started casting Venus noire but had found no one for the role of Sarah, and I had the honor of playing you.
You seem very outgoing, the opposite of me that I'm quite shy... You had to change a lot to interpret me?
I am very outgoing! Already you communicate through your eyes, and this is fascinating. During the nine months before filming, I gained 13 kilos (28,6 lbs). Took courses in Africanner, theatre, dance, singing and violin.
I learned to hide my Cuban accent and control my breath through my stomach in order to give you Sarah, a deeper voice and to be able to handle the very strenuous dance scenes... And in the end, I shaved my head I never cared about physical transformation: for that role, I was ready for anything.
I am constantly humiliated by my ′′ boss ′′ and the public... How did you handle these scenes? Wasn't it a little violent for a first role?
I made it because of Abdel who was very protective in every way. Without him, I would have felt embarrassed during these terrible scenes where you are being touched by strangers. But he made sure I wouldn't feel uncomfortable, choosing actors and a team that always supported me. But I admit it was a very difficult footage. Then I felt completely drained. Fortunately, I anticipated this and had already booked a flight to Cuba in order to be with my family and become aware of everything that had happened.
At the Venice press conference, Abdellatif Kechiche clearly highlighted the political dimension of his film, drawing a parallel between his film, a class history, contempt and prejudice, and the eviction of gypsies in France. What are your thoughts on this matter?
I prefer to focus on the artistic dimension of the film, although I am happy it brought a humanist message, reminding the world not to. To me, You Sarah is above all a talented and generous artist, a modern woman, who left Africa for Europe alone, then experienced the worst pain for a woman, the loss of her dignity. I respect you so much. I know very well what it's like to leave the country, hoping to improve your life, although in my case, I was lucky enough to be welcomed by France.
I thank you for having interpreted me so well and for showing everything I went through. Will we see you again on screens?
I hope so! I don't have an agent yet, but some people seem interested. I still don't know what kind of paper I want.
On the one hand, I want to do something totally different to this one. After playing such a powerful character, it's hard to move on to something else... I think I've always wanted to do this type of work, but I didn't admit it to myself. When I was very young I was already singing and dancing all the time. Thanks to Abdel and you, I found my calling.
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