Interview with Elvira Lindo, screenwriter of “The Unexpected Life”

The Unexpected Life is the story of Juanito, a Spanish actor whose career hasn’t taken off. His cousin Jorge, one of life’s winners supposedly, visits him from Spain. Where does this story come from?
Naturally, this story comes from my years of living abroad. Juanito’s experience is a very familiar one to many Spanish people living abroad; people who have left Spain to advance their professional careers –  not because of the financial crisis, but because they want to broaden their horizons. I’ve met many actors like Juanito in NY, as well Spanish teachers, painters, and scientists… The story comes from many conversations, sharing experiences, feelings, loneliness and happiness far from the home country.

There’s more than 20,000 of us Spanish people living in Edinburgh. What do you think we’ll draw from this story?
Juan’s life in particular resonates with Spanish people living abroad. Obviously, it’s not a movie just for them, but it’s normal that they should feel more of a connection with it. I wrote it as a tribute to those who enjoy and suffer the experience of living abroad.

Without giving anything away, at the end of the movie the “unexpected life” from the title turns up. Is happiness closer to home than we think without having to search for it far away?
We all know that complete happiness doesn’t exist, but joyful moments do, and we must be open to that joy. We have our childhood dreams and sometimes we have to forget them as we mature, especially if we don’t want to miss out on those unexpected opportunities. Some people idealise youth and youthful hopes, but I don’t think they’re the happiest of people as they live in the frustration of unfulfilled dreams. This is a story about accepting maturity. I imagine it’s not the trendiest idea at the moment, but I thought it was important to tell this story as I’ve met too many people hung up on the dreams of their youth that have long set sail.

Elvira Lindo will be in Edinburgh presenting and discussing “The Unexpected Life” on Friday 2nd October, 8.15pm, at Filmhouse. Buy your tickets here.

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