THE LAST SUIT: Interview with Director Pablo Solarz

the last suit poster_The new drama of Argentine director Pablo Solarz, The Last Suit (El ultimo Traje, Original Title), which opens March 23 in South Florida, explores a story of friendship, understanding, discovery and love. At 88, Abraham Bursztein, played by Miguel Ángel Solá, is seeing his place in the world rapidly disappear. His kids have sold his Buenos Aires residence, set him up to move to a retirement home, and disagree on how to handle his fading health. But Abraham survived the Holocaust, made a successful life in a foreign land, and isn’t about to quietly fade away.  Instead, he plots a secret one-way trip to Poland, where he plans to find the Christian friend who saved him from certain death at the end of World War II, and to keep his promise to return one day.

Comedic and poignant in equal measure, from Argentina to Spain, across Germany and finally to Poland, Abraham is on his own but, also accompanied by the characters he meets along the way, who both help him and need his help. A standout among these is the iconic Spanish actress Angela Molina, as the proprietor of the Madrid hotel where he stays.

This is the second film by the director, which was filmed in four countries and has a stellar cast, which includes Angela Molina, Natalia Verbeke and Martín Piroyansky, as well as Miguiel Ángel Solá. Pablo also wrote the script.

Let’s check out the interview:

How was the transition from comedy to drama?

I always liked experimenting with genres. Since the 90s, when I was doing theater, I jumped from tragedy to comedy and from tragicomedy to melodrama. I do not believe in the existence of major or minor genres. A story is a story and, if I feel it, if I am passionate enough to decide to tell it, or to spread its emotions, I get into the genre without problems. For me, I feel more “comfortable” with doing either comedy or drama.

What was the inspiration behind the script?

The hatred my paternal grandfather felt for Poland and from the Poles. The silence I had in my childhood when I asked my family questions about it, some stories I read or stories I heard about the Holocaust, survivors, and the reunions after decades. And, also, the love for some Polish artists, the desire to get out of the ignorance that reigned in my family on the subject, because they could not see the true reality due to the immense pain.

What is it about Miguel Ángel Solá works that got your attention? Or did you always have him in mind?

When I found out that I had to work with an actor much younger than the character (Abraham), I thought about Solá right away, simply because he is the best Argentinian (and possibly Ibero-American) actor of his generation.

Miguel Ángel Solá

Since Miguel is younger than the character, how was his characterization?

It was very difficult and hard. Two hours of makeup per day, a lot of latex on his face that bothered him, itching, chemicals products that we used on his hair that caused some head burn, an impressive physical and vocal characterization. All this led to many setbacks and discomforts, but it also led to the wonderful interpretation that Solá manages to make of his character, Abraham Bursztein.

What were the challenges to do this movie?

There were many challenges. I spent years to achieve a version of the script that put together everything I wanted into it, four different territories, to finance and to produce. There was an impressive logistics work on the pre-production and shoot stages. Scenes shot in two different countries, several languages, constant changes in the technical team, the challenge in finding an eight-year-old girl capable of speaking in Yiddish (language that is practically no longer taught in any school in the world).

The movie has strong female character, can you talk about them? Also, how was it working with Angela Molina, Natalia Verbeke e Olga Boladz?

Three great women. Three great actresses. All different, but sharing the same passion for acting. Natalia only participated in one scene, but I think she made a big difference and leaves a very strong emotional mark on her small and immense contribution. Angela is a diva, a master of acting who has worked on more than 100 films with directors like Luis Buñel, and taught me a lot and was able to put all her talent at the disposal of other actors, and in this film she had a supporting role. No doubt, she added a lot to the team and to the movie. And Olga… I can only say that just by framing it, there is a story, she fills the screen, like a magnet that attracts, it captures. There is something in her look, in her voice, in her way of interpreting, which is incredible, organic, almost effortless. I would love to and would like to have another opportunity to work with Olga Boladz.

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