Joey Nolfi April 24, at Read on for the full interview. Why was it essential for you to tell a story about the repression of identity at this time? I wanted to tell a story that had two great female roles. I read a lot of lesbian literature [to prepare]. How do you maintain a connection to what you come from or what you want to be? Do you view the film as a critique of religion? I, personally, have a problem with that, but I have empathy for people who are religious. Is there something specific about the Orthodox Jewish religion that makes it the right dramatic backdrop for a movie like this?
Naomi Alderman, who wrote the novel, she grew up in this community. As beautiful as the film is as a whole, the big sex scene is so arresting and absolutely gorgeous. Was there a significance and sensitivity to how it was plotted and shot?
The sex scene is a massively important and beautiful scene. He made it clear everything he wanted: So it was carefully constructed from the beginning? It can come out a bit meaningless and generalized. It was important to him. We had a whole day to shoot it. But this scene felt so integral to the plot and moving the story forward.
There was camaraderie to it. We both felt safe and free…. All those things that you love about being a woman, you get to be with [in the scene], so I understand the attraction and appeal to that in a sexual context.
I certainly hope so! What was your reaction to that? The makeup department tested out different flavors of lube the night before to use as the spit. We settled on lychee-flavored! Bleecker Street Was it hard to get into the groove of the scene at first? How did you foster comfort? Everyone was very quiet and there was such warmth in the room. It was a wonderful day. They should all make you feel vulnerable, some more than others, but they should all be risky.
In became another day at work, in that way. Esti was the woman that I loved. But I thought the aspiration of sexuality and desire… in the middle of repression for the first powerful minutes of the film, you get into this moment where the women are alone in the hotel room and I think the scene is very beautiful and emotional.
Like Sebastian had plotted it out so there were coordinates and pieces of music we had to play. As actresses we had to fill it with emotion like a musician would fill a note. I knew we were telling a lesbian story and that was necessary to concentrate on. I saw the film for a second time in a press screening, and there were a few people nervously laughing during the sex scene.
Are people still that uncomfortable watching gay sex in movies? It comes down to a lack of exposure or understanding. Humanity goes in weird phases. We kind of seem to forget the lessons that we learn through history…. But we have to keep knocking on the door all the time to remind ourselves that we can be better and be compassionate.