Steve McQueen is not complacent. Neither as an artist nor as a person. The only Oscar winner – the best film by Twelve years of slavery– and the Turner Prize – in 1999, since he stores decades of fruitful work as a video artist, which also led him to be named Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the visual arts – passes through Madrid in a swift promotion of his new job, Widows, his version of a BBC series that impressed him as a teenager. This time, McQueen (London, 1969) does not have time to visit the Prado Museum to walk through the rooms dedicated to Francisco de Goya. "Ya, I still shake, but I have not had time to repeat my ritual in Madrid."
In Widows, McQueen abandons the creation of atmospheres that marked his previous films: Hunger (2008), Shame (2001) and Twelve years of slavery (2013). "No, what are you talking about?" From an oppression felt by the spectator. "No I dont think so". But do not you feel that you have left behind more pictorial references? "No, I've never had them, cinema is just one thing: history, narration, better still, it's life, I've never used art as a reference." If in Twelve years of slavery the sequence of the hanging of the character of Chiwetel Ejiofor served as an X-ray of everything that was told (he died while life continued to take place around him), Widows Another moment captures the corruption that portrays the film in the background: a car transports the character of Colin Farrell from an electoral act in a depauperate area to his mansion. The public sees the car and listens to what is spoken inside. "I do not think they look alike, come on, they do not even remember me." Neither complacency nor doubts.
McQueen delights further in the original BBC series: "I remember her a lot, I saw her as a teenager, and I enjoyed her because she was starring people who were judged by their appearances. Black youth in the England of the 80. When I decided to make the film I understood that the series was loaded with a ballast, none of its protagonists had children, they could look like male characters incarnated by actresses. Widows, my women are women, with or without children. They can never be played by men. "And that comes a year after the #MeToo movement broke out." Times in the movies are different from those in life. I was already with this movie before it emerged. And I like that it has exploded. Because there are things to improve. For my wife, for my daughter, I even say it for myself. "So he does not mind a possible label of thriller feminist. "No, I hope the cinema is always a feminist, because that will mean that it's human, and that's where the heart of the cinema should be."
In Widows the location has also varied: from London to Chicago. "I know Chicago well, I've lived in that city for some time, before I met my wife and after, it seems to me the summit of Gotham City, a variegated cocktail of ethnic groups, corruption, religions … Probably it could have also taken Widows to Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Sao Paulo … Today there are many similar examples. "Because McQueen insists on illustrating different visions of the human being's lack of freedom." True, and of rebellion against fate. We have never been so free, and we have never been so aware of the prisoners we are by social networks, certain capitalist yokes, power, religions. We are individuals and we sail in a sea of despair seeking our salvation. We try not to drown in that situation and at the same time find a spiritual and material outlet to this suffocation. We can not and should not give up. "