October 28, 2011
By Christopher Poore '14
When Saras Gil '08 went to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain during her junior year at Knox, she fell in love with the city.
"I felt as if I was coming home rather than studying abroad," said Gil.
It makes sense, then, that only a few years later, Gil finds herself back in Spain -- only this time, instead of living as a student, she's living the life of an actress playing the student. Her newest movie is Puzzled Love, in which she plays Sun, a young student who comes to Barcelona for a year. Sun ends up sharing an apartment with another student, Lucas, and despite a rocky start between the roommates, a star-crossed affair ensues. Yet what makes the film unique is its 13 student directors, each of whom direct one month in the life of this alternatively enthralling and doomed relationship. The variety of directors allows for the coexistence of a wide range of cinematic approaches -- from sitcom to metacinema.
"Working with these 13 people has been a real gift," said Gil, "because Marcel Borràs [who plays Lucas] and I really had to be very flexible and readily capable of working with people who were as different as their scene style."
In part because of this innovative process, and because of the relative youth of the directors, Puzzled Love has received a unique amount of attention. The film was chosen for the San Sebastian International Film Festival, which is on par with Cannes, Venice, and Berlin Film Festivals.
As Gil prepared to play the part of Sun, she drew on many personal experiences.
"Who hasn't had the ups and downs of a turbulent relationship?" said Gil. "I took the pain and the bliss of my own understanding of love and tried to feel them again as this new person."
But also important to Gil's process were the acting techniques she learned while at Knox as she performed in productions of Ingmar Bergman's Nora and Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9.
"If you've ever taken a Liz Carlin-Metz acting class, you know that your body is a very important tool in discovering character," said Gil. "I think without the prior training that I had in Knox, I would have gotten choked up on trying to ‘act' instead of just being in each moment."
Gil looks back on her time at Knox as a period of her life open to experiment.
"It was a place where you would be able to stretch yourself, stretch your mind and really have the freedom to do ... well, whatever it was that you needed to do," said Gil.
True, Gil might not technically be a student anymore, but her approach to life hasn't changed much.
"We are eternal students," said Gil. "The moment that you think that you have a grasp on how to do things or you start to form an opinion, you know that you should try to do something new."