Kill Your Darlings: The Queen

  • Festival
  • November 27, 2013
  • By Paul van de Graaf

With a heavy heart, filmmakers delete scenes they love - because they don't fit the story or don't really add anything for instance. Here, the respective directors explain why they had to kill one of their darlings. This time, Manuel Abramovich of The Queen.

In The Queen, director Manuel Abramovich follows ten-year-old Memi, who will be crowned carnival queen in her Argentinian village. 

"At first, the film started with the ending: the coronation for which everyone is preparing so industriously," says Abramovich. "Or it might have been used as an epilogue, breaking with what has come before: Memi, a toothy fake grin on her face, between the two losing finalists. The scene lasts for 40 seconds, I could have run the credits over it, but in the end I cut it. It ruined the hermetic form of the film, its strange and cruel atmosphere. The open ending the film has now leaves something to imagine for the audience."

The 18 minute film focuses exclusively on Memi, isolated from her environment, observed as she prepares for the carnival. Abramovich: "You wonder why she doesn't smile, why her face is so devoid of expression. Off screen everybody is talking and talking and talking, but Memi just passively lets everything happen." Except for an emotional outburst, that is, when the heavy crown is placed on her fragile head. Her mother comments that Memi should ignore the pain and that a numbing hairspray and some pills will help.

"It all happens in February, when it's summer in Argentina. That huge thing on her head is going to be quite sweaty. Back in my home town of Buenos Aires, people asked me how I could film this, but it's a tradition that happens in every Argentinian village. Every girl wants to be the carnival queen. It's difficult to explain why such a tradition should still exist to people who didn't grow up with it."

The Queen

  • Manuel Abramovich
  • 2013
  • 19 min

    Memi is around 11 years old, and she's going to be Queen of the Carnival. It's a dazzling honor, but you have to suffer to be beautiful.

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