BUENOS AIRES – Adriana Barraza says she has always been pretty much the boss, but up close and personal she radiates affection and naturalness.
Now, without losing any of that and, as she says, with her heart full of joy, the Mexican actress will accept this week in Mexico the 2018 Platino Prize of Honor for Ibero-American Cinema.
In an interview with EFE in Buenos Aires, the actress said she feels “very proud” and “honored” to receive the award because, after taking part in several galas, she feels part of the Platinos.
Barraza, 62, also said there are few prizes for both Europeans and Americans, which makes these a “delight” and a “blessing” for a great many artists with stories to tell.
“Ibero-America is a vast area, very rich, and the fact that all of us are joining together makes for a very strong industry,” she said.
In the fifth edition, to be held next Sunday in Xcaret on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the Platinos will honor Barraza for her “impressive and multifaceted professional career” as an actress, director, producer and teacher, and for her commitment to the Ibero-American movie industry.
She said she has no particular preference for any of those facets, but feels “comfortable working” on everything in front of and behind the cameras. She also said that constant change helps her “discover, experiment and do research” and keeps her from “getting old” on the set.
Considered the “grande dame of Ibero-American cinema,” she has spent four decades in the world of acting and has made some 50 movies. Among them, the most applauded were those of her compatriot Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu: “Amores perros” (2000) and “Babel” (2006).
The first made her realize she could act in a new way. “Alejandro, with his original methodology, makes the actor less dramatic and more profound.” To do that, he strips away all that is superfluous, leaving a performance “right out of real life,” she said.
With “Babel” she won worldwide acclaim along with many prizes and nominations, including a Golden Globe and an Oscar. “It was the most wonderful thing to start a new career as an actress, because until then I had mostly been working behind the cameras,” she said.
Despite her long career, to which she never stops adding new challenges, as a girl Barraza never dreamed of being an actress.
“It happened by chance – I wanted to be a ballerina. When I was 16 I was forced to choose between basketball, theater or ballet...the ballet class was full, so I said, okay, then it’s theater,” she said.
And so she took her first class, about which she remembers every detail perfectly. “Onstage I met people like me, some very deprived teenagers, and all of us were looking for somewhere it didn’t matter what we were like or where we were accepted,” she recalled very emotionally.
At first she faced some difficulties because she was “a small young girl,” which meant she had to learn fast, develop certain skills and be “more intelligent” to win the respect of her superiors and colleagues.
She suffered most of all while working behind the camera, where she had to put up with discrimination “all the time.”
“There were some very famous actors who mistreated you just because you were a girl, they made demands...and not just the men – the women did too,” she said, but added she never got caught up in cases of violence as happened to some of her colleagues.
Because, the actress said, “there have always been” reports of sexual abuse in the world of movies, and recalled the case of Woody Allen’s daughter, to whom “no one paid any attention,” and that of producer Harvey Weinstein, accused by women who “weren’t famous” and therefore nobody listened to them.
Barraza was born in Toluca, Mexico, has a house in Buenos Aires – the city where her daughter and grandson live – while she herself lives in Miami where she teaches classes at the acting school she founded in 2011 with her manager and husband, the actor Arnaldo Pinke.