Filmmaker Interview: Bye Bye C’est Fini

Last week, Rooftop Films was proud to partner with the Swedish Film Institute to bring an exciting selection of new Swedish cinema to New York audiences. The films were extremely well received, with Wednesday’s screening of Swedish short films drawing over 1,200 people to Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens.

One of the films screened last Wednesday was Bye Bye C’est Fini by Tora Mårtens. In it, a 74 year old Brazilian woman gives us a peek into a life full of excitement and trysts with younger lovers. Contradicting stereotypical notions of how older women are “supposed to act,” Lina shows us that her adventures keep her spirit young and happy. Throughout the film she shines with a remarkable self confidence and an outlandish persona that is unavoidably captivating.

Rooftop Films’ Dana Arbel spoke to Tora about how she met Lina and what we can learn from someone who defies convention with such passion and flair.

Rooftop Films: Give a brief description of the film for those who haven’t seen it.

Tora Mårtens: The film is about Lina Merceis, a 74 year old woman and her young lovers in Rio.

RF: How did you find Lina, and why did you choose her to make a film about?

TM: Lina is a friend of my friend Idji Maciel and we decided to make a film about her. What inspires me is making film about people who have chosen a different way of living. Rarely do we get to identify with or understand women’s wants and desires. Historically, up until today, women have been objectified. Sexuality is often portrayed and seen through the eyes of men. I also think that it is important to show that also elderly people may have a sex life. Older women who have younger men are looked upon with contempt. As opposed for older men who have younger women which is almost the norm. There is something about Lina. She encompasses all this lived experience and at the same time she seems somewhat vulnerable. This contradiction is what I think makes her so interesting.

RF: She seems so open and candid on camera, was she easy to work with?

TM: Lina is very open and she is not the type of person that feels ashamed to talk about her sex life. On the contrary she was very open and told us about her sexual escapades (and even gave advice on how to best get off).

RF: Do you think her lifestyle is accepted in Brazil, would this be more shocking in Sweden or America?

TM: Yes, I think her lifestyle is more common and accepted in Brazil

RF: There are so many different locations featured in the film, how long did the production last?

TM: We shot the film in 20 days. I was editing for more then three mounths…

RF: Are you a full-time filmmaker? If not, what else do you do?

TM: I work full time as an director, and I also work for others as a photographer and editor.

RF: Tell us about what else you are currently working on.

TM: I am currently editing my first feature documentary.

RF: What excites you about screening your film at Rooftop Films?

TM: Im very excited. I would love to have been there…

See more short films about charming, courageous, and crazy characters at “Capucine: Filmmaking Monkeys and Other Renegades,” TOMORROW in Fort Greene.