Interview with Sarah Santamaria-Mertens , director of Blind Sex Why did you decide to open the film with a love scene that is imposed on the character? That scene is the first one that I had in mind while writing the script and it remained intact through the final editing. Entering the film through her face allows the viewer to be directly at her level, to very quickly share a moment of intimacy with her and feel that the moment her sister is experiencing just above her head is an external element.
The opening is meant to shock, but in the end it pretty much sums up where she is in her relationship to sexuality, which we can easily imagine she experiences vicariously, through her sister. What interested you about our relationship to the body and to nudity? From my childhood up to about the age of twenty, I spent part of each summer in a nudist colony. When everyone is naked no one checks anyone out.
Nudity is no longer an issue; the idea is for everyone to be equal despite our physical differences, and whatever our complexes. But there definitely was an issue with filming the naked bodies: It was important for me to keep some modesty.
And what about the impact of the gaze and of touch in romantic relations? When I was younger, during the holidays, I spent a week with a group friends that included a blind woman. My first reflex was to wonder if we were going to have to wash and clothe her… it was stupid! Then I wondered how the blind experience sexuality, and homosexuality in particular.
The minute disabilities come into the picture, management becomes an issue. We want to protect the person, or else we simply do not admit that their sexuality exists because the idea is too disturbing. So for me, hers is a story of emancipation, a character frees herself from the gaze of others and re-appropriates her own body.
The other human relations in the film are treated with much greater simplicity. Why did sexuality have to be special? I was interested in using sex to talk about independence and autonomy.
You can tell that everyone gave their all without hesitation, every scene takes risks. And it makes you laugh and cry at the same time! That breadth is rare, perhaps even more so in comedies. If not, what are your expectations for this year? This will be the first time and with a first film to boot! Are any other screenings scheduled? Yes, it was selected to participate in a competition at the Angers Festival Premiers Plans.
Are you taking part in any other events during the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival Espressos, conferences, other? Following the reading there will be a discussion on directing actors on Friday 10 February at 10 am in the Conchon room.