Intimacy, the English-language debut of writer and director David Trueba, is an intimate movie. It begins with the story of two people meeting in the rain at a funeral and ends with that same woman sitting alone in her kitchen, looking out the window at dawn as if she hasn’t slept all night—or maybe she never sleeps at all. The ending also feels like it’s building toward something more; Begona Uribe (played by Patricia Lopez Arnaiz) sits at her kitchen table with her back to us as if we are entering a darkened room without knowing what we might find inside. The Strange Intimacy of Begona Uribe
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10 Things to Know About Begona Uribe
If you were a fan of Spanish soap opera Televisión Española (TVE)’s late-night series Intimidad, you probably fell in love with Begona Uribe (played by Patricia Lopez Arnaiz). The show, which aired from May to July 2015 on TVE1, was one of its best-rated programs. It followed a variety of characters affected by what is arguably Spain’s most important event in recent history: The financial crisis. Lopez Arnaiz recently sat down with El Confidencial Digital to talk about her role on TVE’s flagship series and how it changed her life. Below are 10 things we learned from our interview.
Intimacy starts with a good script
You don’t need to be a writer to be an actor, but actors do need scripts, and it’s essential that you believe in them. As in, believe that they are good. You may think they are bad—and sometimes they are—but if you want to be able to give a great performance, you have to buy into what you’re doing wholeheartedly.
That requires getting your head around all sorts of things: why your character does what she does; what her internal motivation is; why she says these lines at these times. Ask yourself those kinds of questions even about seemingly mundane scenes.
What it takes to be the lead in the show
From what I remember from that first scene, all I had to do was look scared and cling to César. After a few takes, we were done for that day and it was time to shoot my next scene with Michelle, who played my sister. When she finally picked me up from school, I didn’t tell her anything until she took me home; by then, she’d seen it on TV.
Consider Your Surroundings
To say that Begona’s father takes his children for granted is a terrible understatement. He doesn’t even care what they do as long as they don’t distract him from gambling and drinking. The only time he shows his kids any affection is when he wants sex, and only then does he pester them enough to leave them no choice but to give in to his desires. In one scene, after having just beaten up his own son in order to have sex with Begona, José Luis attempts to justify his behavior by telling her it’s because I love you. Instead of making things better, though, he makes it worse because it becomes evident that love isn’t something José Luis has ever learned about or even cares about learning about.
Focus on Being Nervous Instead of Afraid
Many of us tend to give too much weight to things that don’t actually matter. Being afraid is understandable; but worrying about being afraid makes no sense whatsoever. This can lead to an incessant cycle where your fear and worry makes you anxious, which then makes you even more anxious. Once you overcome your fear and walk in a room filled with strangers, begin by focusing on feeling nervous. Simply think,
My stomach is doing flip-flops right now and I’m completely uncomfortable with everyone looking at me, or I feel like everyone knows I have no idea what I’m doing. Let yourself become really aware of these feelings without giving them additional importance by reacting with worry or fear.
Take your time
When you first start watching Intimacy, you might think you’re seeing something familiar. You’ll watch someone who looks like an ordinary young woman dressed in an ordinary way: jeans, a button-down shirt, maybe she wears her hair down around her shoulders. Her name is Begona and we meet her in a cafe on Plaza Mayor in Madrid talking to two men about starting a business with them. This could be about any business—maybe it’s software; maybe it’s real estate; maybe it’s banking or some other industry. But then one of them reaches out and touches her hand as he speaks to her and there is a strange intimacy between them all at once.
Accept physical contact when it comes naturally
Though it may be hard to get past ingrained social habits, touching is healthy. Studies show hugging and holding hands can reduce stress and increase oxytocin levels (the love hormone), which may help with weight loss efforts. Even more evidence: A 2010 study published in Psychological Science found that affectionate touch actually helps you remember positive emotions, which in turn will help you maintain a positive outlook as you attempt to lose weight. In other words, go ahead and hug your loved ones—touch is good for your health! (But please don’t do it in public if your touch-shyness makes people uncomfortable.)
Get Into Character Before Shoot Starts
While filming, many actors just walk onto set and act. It’s hard to blame them, because it’s a bit surreal—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t helpful. Before you start shooting, try to get into character by whatever means possible: Read books related to your role, discuss your character with someone who can give you valuable feedback on your performance (if possible), go for a run or take a nap. Your mind may wander during these brief moments but before too long you should feel like you’re acting as opposed to acting.
Don’t use sexuality to create intimacy
One of Begona’s biggest problems is that she misuses sex as a way to feel closer to someone. It might seem like she understands intimacy, but in reality, she only knows how to use it for her own gain. When Dario starts to get more involved with another woman, we see Begona getting jealous. This happens before she even thinks about what makes their relationship special. She only sees that he’s spending time with someone else and immediately feels uncomfortable and distrustful—and then uses sex as a way to regain some control over him and make herself feel like his equal. When Dario confronts her about it, we see just how deep these insecurities really run.
Rely on your co-star for help if you need it
Despite working with a cast and crew, it’s easy to fall into a sense of isolation as an actor. You’re creating a character out of thin air and bringing that person to life—you don’t want to let anyone in on your secret. It may be tempting to leave rehearsals or shoots feeling like you’re carrying your secret around with you, but sharing it with your co-stars can actually strengthen trust between everyone involved in your project. The closer everyone is on set, the more comfortable you’ll feel being vulnerable as an actor when it comes time for those intimate scenes. The Strange Intimacy of Begona Uribe
10 Conclusion – A Beautiful Life
The series ends with a montage of scenes that had foreshadowed Begona’s fate, concluding with her dead body floating in space and her last words: They took it all. Everything I had. My family. My freedom. My life fade into black as she is finally reunited with her mother, father and baby brother in heaven (where everybody smiles). In an interview, Arnaiz said that when it comes to creating characters, I am always looking for different ways to express something…since [Begona] was missing from many moments in my life and lived through very difficult ones I used to create a character who did not know what affection was.