10th Annual Cine LatinoIn Focus: Lucía Gajá Ferrer

November 6, 2017
By Jan Willms
Subject: Lucía Gajá, director of Intimate Battles

For director Lucía Gajá, cinema is the best way for her to express how she feels about the world and the way we live in it. This is emphasized in the documentary Intimate Battles, the story of five women from different countries who have survived or are trying to survive domestic violence.

“I wanted to explore this theme as a terrible problem that happens everywhere, not only in poor countries or the ones that are developing, but in many more places. I wanted to know if domestic violence could be a big problem in rich and developed countries, making no distinction of race, culture or language. This way I could explore domestic violence as a worldwide problem which is very rooted down deep in our societies,” Gajá said.

Gajá was able to get these women to share their pain in a film. “I think the work I did during the investigation process, trying to know and get closer to this theme, helped me a lot,” she related. “I really wanted to make a film about this because I thought it was very urgent to talk about domestic violence, and I shared this with them. Our method of shooting was very simple and humble, and I think this made it easier for them to talk with me. And I also think it was very important for them to talk about their personal experiences so they could share it with other women.”

Gaja found that the women shared many more common factors than she had expected to find, and that was exactly what she had wanted to get in the film. “The thing that impressed me the most is that the way they suffer the process of domestic violence was very similar,” Gaja noted. “How it started and developed; they way they were taken apart from their personal life, their families, friends and work; the way they were threatened, humiliated and physically abused.”

“Also, all of them felt at some point that it was their fault they received this violence, and they felt very guilty and ashamed,” she continued. “At one point I imagined a classroom filled with men from very different parts of the world learning how to be an aggressor and how to develop the violence in their relationships little by little. So what we have to think is that what lies underneath rooted very deep in our countries and provokes this violence obviously is the patriarchy and how we preserve it and live it every day.”