BERLIN – British film director Sally Potter presented on Wednesday her latest movie “The Roads Not Taken” at the 70th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival.
Starring Javier Bardem, Ellie Fanning and Salma Hayek, the film depicts a day in the lives of Leo (Bardem) and his daughter Molly (Fanning) in New York City.
Leo, a writer with dementia, starts mixing memories from his past, like moments he lived with his first wife Dolores (Salma Hayek), with fictional versions of what his life could have been.
“The story I found in my life because my brother, unfortunately, had a form of early-onset dementia and I cared for him for two years in the two years until he died,” filmmaker Sally Potter said.
“I learned an enormous amount by being with him about how the mind works.”
During the film, Potter (“Orlando,” 1992; “The Tango Lesson,” 1996; “The Party,” 2020) explored many “possible selves” within a person.
“We tend to choose one and perform it. This is me. But, in fact, the me is illusory in a sense. We are full of potentialities,” she said.
During the press conference, Bardem recalled some moments in which, during the shooting, Potter had to remind him that the Leo who was living with Dolores was the same Leo that would suffer from dementia later.
“When I was doing the story with Molly I had to get into that journey,” Bardem said.
“It was the most challenging for various reasons. When I was working with Salma I was into the pain.”
For Ellie Fanning, “The Roads Not Taken” was “an extremely special film” since it was the second time she worked with Potter and the first time she was going to perform with Javier Bardem.
“Him (Javier Bardem) being a part of it for me was like ‘Oh, I have to be on screen with him’ and it was not necessarily scary but nervous.”
“We were extremely close on set and had a really amazing time,” she added.
“You were always holding me as an actor and as a father,” Bardem replied.
Being asked about her character speaking in Spanish during the film, Mexican star Salma Hayek said it was a great experience.
“When it comes to poetry, it’s never a challenge to speak in Spanish,” Hayek told press.
“I’m very grateful to Sally, who kept it in our language and was always looking for the truth in the characters.”
Along with Potter’s “The Roads Not Taken,” “Berlin Alexanderplatz” by Burhan Qurbani and DAU, “Natasha” by Ilya Khrzhanovskiy and Jekaterina Oertel also premiered on Wednesday at the Berlinale’s competition section.