Beatriz Sanchís (Valencia, 1976) presented her second feature film, The Gigantes, to the competition last year at the Malaga festival, a female western that won a special mention from the Jury and the prize for best photography that Filmin has released on its platform this Friday.

If in his debut feature, Everyone is dead, the camera entered an interior space such as the house in which Elena Anaya’s character lived locked up, The Gigantes expands its gaze to the outside, through the landscapes that JJ and Esmeralda drive through Baja California. “Although the two films have different locations, I think The Gigantes is also very introspective and lysergic and is reflected in the desert. It’s something that has to do with my trip to Mexico, where I lived for seven years, and the energy that is lived in that country. It is something more mystical and magical that marked me and the seed of history was born there,” he admits in a chat with this newspaper.

Between one film and another there is a seven-year difference. “It took me a lot to get the project up, it was a long journey due to many bureaucratic things,” confesses the director, who currently lives in Madrid. Esmeralda is a freckled teenager who harms herself and lives bitter with a mother with whom she doesn’t connect. She dreams of visiting the place where her filmmaker father shot a movie. When she sees JJ working at her house during a party and gets fired from her for beating up a man who wanted to abuse her, she promises him that she will pay him if he takes her to her dream destination. JJ is a tattooed thirty-something homeless woman who also dreams of getting an ex-boyfriend back in Mexico. “The two of them are looking for their roots. Esmeralda is Mexican and she is looking for them in Mexico and JJ is looking for her ex-partner because she has no family. At the end of the trip they understand that they have nothing to hold on to and they must learn to live for themselves “.

A car, a road and a border make up his next adventure. “The film covers two countries, the United States, and Mexico, and five cities. It has been like a road movie within a road movie – he says between laughs – and we have had spectacular experiences. The Gigantes is very pure, because of that contact with nature and the characters are super exposed in this immensity. They are like two little dots that cling to each other to survive,” he points out.

The giants in the title allude to those huge cacti up to 20 meters high in the desert. “The landscape of Baja California has this spectacle and there is a place called The Valley of the Giants with the oldest and tallest cacti that can be found and they represent almost like the windmills in Don Quixote. I think the film is full of metaphors and is very poetic. You need to be surrounded by desert to find some meaning in your life,” he adds.

During the long quixotic journey, both will gradually gain confidence. JJ will defend Esmeralda from some man with a very long hand and she will be attracted to her travel companion. “Wounds weave like an invisible thread between people and that often has to do with attraction and sex,” says Sanchís. “That’s why I wanted to put two very different characters who are strongly united by that wound and the dreams they are looking for. In Esmeralda there is a sexual awakening and JJ ends up taking an immense affection for her.”

The role of that rude woman is taken on by the newcomer Samantha Jane Smith, discovered in a ‘street casting’ made by a friend of the director in the US. “I think there are many things about the character in her and many shared experiences. In addition, “She has a particular physique. I wanted her eyes, her skin and the way she moved to speak. Samantha has done an extraordinary job.” For the role of Esmeralda, she needed someone who spoke both English and Spanish. “I loved the image of Andrea Sutton, that sadness, beauty and melancholy that she transmitted.”

Sanchís has subsequently directed two episodes of the television series Nacho, which premiered on Wednesday at the Capitol cinemas in Madrid and arrives this Sunday, March 5, on the Atresplayer premium platform with Martiño Rivas starring in the biopic of the porn actor Nacho Vidal. “The experience has been wonderful. It has been a project where the directors have been given a lot of creative freedom,” he says enthusiastically. She is now writing her next film, “which after my tour of Mexico is like a return to my roots. It will be shot in Valencia and it is a compilation of memories from when I was little”, she advances to La Vanguardia.