Spanish Director Jaione Camborda on Childbirth, Death, Life and Spain’s Galicia in the ‘70s

Selected by Variety as a talent to track, Spain’s Jaione Camborda is developing her sophomore effort, “The Rye Horn,” a story that takes place in ‘70s Galicia. After a terrible event, midwife María is forced to become a fugitive and, to wrestle back her freedom, flee Galicia for Portugal along an old smugglers’ route.

Camborda attended Prague’s FAMU film school and Munich’s University of Film and Television (HFF Munich). After several experimental shorts (“Wild Mane Crop,” “Nimbos”) her feature debut “Arima” took a New Waves Award at the Seville European Fest in 2019.

“The Rye Horn” has been developed at two of Spain’s leading labs, San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak and Madrid’s ECAM Incubator, and has participated at the TIFF Filmmaker Lab. The project is back by Galician pubcaster TVG and the region’s Agency of Cultural Industries (Agadic). “The Rye Horn” is produced by Andrea Vázquez at Miramemira – the company behind Oliver Laxe’s Un Certain Regard winner “Fire Will Come” – and the director’s own label, Esnatu Zinema. Elástica Films, a fledgling distribution company, will release the movie in Spain.

Could you explain “The Rye Horn”?

María is a peasant with a close relation to her animals, a earthy woman who also helps to give life, with a special dedication and care of other women. The main theme that underpins the film is how the ability of women to bring children into existence connects not only to life but also death. I am interested in filming births in a very mammalian way. I want childbirth to acquire more of a corporeal dimension, distant from hegemonic forms of representation. Nature, windy and rainy weather and the animal world have a fundamental presence throughout the film. At the same time, in the ‘70s, a clandestine world, a prohibition period, sisterhood became essential.

Interestingly many high-profile films by a new wave of Spanish women directors – Diana Toucedo, Carla Simón, Meritxell Colell, Neus Ballús –  are set in rural areas. Do you have any explanation?

I think more than a gender issue it’s a generational issue. This generation still feels a strong bond with the land. Female directors are also beginning to have the opportunity to shoot and it seems natural to me that we explore our relationship with the earth, with childhood, with our sexuality or with motherhood as if we looking at each other through cinema for the first time and in a way are seeking to glimpse our own identity.

“The Rye Horn” will offer an existential and personal point of view when it comes to maternity. What’s your target audience?

The film turns on universal dilemmas and emotions and it appeals to an international audience. I think women, 35-55, may particularly identify with the film. But its language is open to a much wider audience.

Could you mention any inspirational references for “The Rye Horn”?

One of the references that inspires me when I address labor is the wonderful and celebratory film “Life” by Artavazd Peleshian in which he looks at the face of pain and dedication of his wife giving birth to their child.

Do you think “The Horn” advances your career?

In “Arima,” I explored more psychological and ethereal dimensions. In this film I would like to delve into a more physical, corporeal and even animal dimension of human beings. I am interested in continuing to deepen the relationship of the characters with space, climate and atmosphere.

What should we expect in your next movies?

I’m interested in a engaged cinema connected to life, with a certain degree of transcendence which is also very physical, almost tangible. Films with their own brand and tempo with women in main roles and shot with vibrant, fresh and visceral camerawork.

By Emilio Mayorga

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