We were casting Land and Freedom, a film about the civil war in Spain. Inevitably, there were more parts for men than for women. Yet time after time we were meeting young actresses who were imaginative and committed to their work. There was one in particular we felt just had to be part of the project. Slight but strong, with a halo of red hair, she had bright eyes and a lively chuckle. She was, along with Rosana Pastor, perfect for the people’s militia, through whose actions we were to experience the war. Only one problem – there was no part to cast her in. The answer? We had to write a new character. Maite – Iciar Bollain – became indispensible and – to us at least – one of the most memorable fighters in the militia. Looking back, it was inevitable that Iciar would one day make her own films. That feisty determination and that vivid imagination would not be contained within the work of others. And her experience as an actress was a good preparation. Her performances are true and delicate and instinctive. It is the same with her directing. I think actors can make good directors. They understand how actors function, how they can be made secure or, in some cases, undermined. They know when to speak and when to stay silent. They know, because they have been in the same situation, how vulnerable actors are and what mechanisms they use to hide that. But Iciar is more than a good director of actors. The biggest question is not ‘how do we make this film?’ but ‘what film should we make?’ Iciar’s choices have been impeccable. Her stories are humane, compassionate and show a commitment to justice and tolerance. And the chuckle is never far away. As you will have guessed by now, I can not be objective about Iciar. She is my friend and comrade. Ken Loach August 2011

Foreword Introduction I. In front of the camera 1. El Sur (Víctor Erice, 1983): teenage-star for the New Spanish Cinema 2. Un paraguas para tres (Felipe Vega, 1991): RomCom Bollaín 3. Land and Freedom (Ken Loach, 1995): acting history without a script 4. Leo (José Luis Borau, 2000): redhead reckoning II. Behind the camera 1. Short films: shortcuts and longshots. Baja corazón (1992), Los amigos del muerto (1995), Amores que matan (2000), Por tu bien (2004) 2. Hola, ¿estás sola? (1995): the roads to freedom 3. Flores de otro mundo (1999): homeward the women 4. Te doy mis ojos (2003): eyes wide open 5. Mataharis (2007): secrets, lies and truths 6. También la lluvia (2010): El Dorado burning Conclusion Filmography Films by Iciar Bollaín Other films mentioned References

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