The Telegraph have the following article about Patagonia. With all this press it is a real shame that a second single wasn't released to coincide with the movie. :-(
Duffy: My role is like the misfit I used to be
The Welsh pop star tells Bernadette McNulty that she didn't have to look too far from home to find inspiration for her acting debut.
By Bernadette McNulty, The Telegraph
'Patagonia is so alluring because it is almost like an imaginary place, like El Dorado. Does it have a flag? Or borders? Nobody knows.” Cardiff-born director Marc Evans is explaining to me the ideas behind his new film, Patagonia. It is a gorgeous, tender road movie set half in the inhospitable desert of Patagonia, the Argentinian colony established by Welsh settlers in the 19th century, and half in the lush mountains of Wales.
Interweaving two stories – in one, a thirtysomething Cardiff couple travel to South America and find their relationship unravelling; in the other, an old Patagonian woman, Cerys, returns to the country of her ancestors with a young neighbour, Alejandro, in tow – the film portrays both the dream of flight and the impossibility of escape.
Patagonia was, says Evans, “the perfect place to make a film about the duality of leaving and longing. If you stay somewhere you want to leave. And if you go somewhere there is always a desire to come back.”
Patagonia also happens to star Wales’s biggest pop star of the past few years, Duffy, in her first acting role. The 26-year-old singer has a small but pivotal part as Sissy, the alluring Welsh student with whom Alejandro strikes up a sweet holiday romance. Appropriately for a film about chance encounters, it was a dashing gesture from the director that persuaded the singer to make the leap onto the big screen.
“I had a lot of interest in film and it was something that I was considering when I received a romantic and heartfelt letter from Marc,” Duffy says. “It said all the right things, comparing my presence to all these beautiful actresses. As a girl I was wooed.”
Evans, who is married to the film’s lead actress, Nia Roberts, explains: “From Duffy’s style, I knew that her influences were very cinematic. I knew from [the promotional video she made for her single] Rockferry that I would get reaction – the most important part in film acting. And that’s exactly what I got.
“My favourite bit with Duffy in the film is when she is saying goodbye to Alejandro at the bus stop. Not only has she got mascara running down her cheek but she wipes it away. That is about being in the moment.”
Sissy, Duffy says, “is a bit like the misfit I used to represent. You get a bit more polished as you get older. You learn to hold your champagne glass by the stem rather than at the top. In the past I would have probably been holding the bottle.”
In her scenes as a siren-like, ukulele-playing character, Duffy gives the film a real lift, filling the screen with the glamorous, enigmatic presence of an old-fashioned movie actress such as Diana Dors or Julie Christie. She also seems impressively natural, despite having to cover a lot of emotional ground in a short time, from an intimate love scene to a funeral and a tearful farewell.
'I know as a young woman you make mistakes. The twist between real love and holiday romance is so bitter sweet,” she says. “I liked that [Sissy] didn’t mind what people think of her. She was totally at one with herself. And she has a liberty because she is a nobody.
“She reminded me of part of my former self who didn’t care,” she adds, wistfully.
Patagonia seamlessly shifts between Welsh and Spanish with only a smattering of English, another reason Evans approached Duffy, who he knew had grown up speaking Welsh as her first language.
“I thought it was really good that the first film Duffy would make would be in Welsh. But then of course I didn’t realise she would actually be speaking Spanish for most of it,” he says, laughing.
“I hate the mythology that when an English man goes into a pub in Wales, he thinks everyone starts speaking Welsh — the presumption being that they would rather speak English and that they do it to exclude the person,” Evans continues. “It is the language we use and by putting it next to Spanish, it made it seem less political.”
Accustomed to being the centre of attention, the young pop star clearly enjoyed the more collaborative process of making a film. “It was nice to be inconspicuous, to be a part of something and to be following rather than leading,” she says. “It is an innocent place to be, whereas when you are a leader it is quite scary.”
Cautious about revealing what her next film project might be, Duffy is proud of her first step in this perfect vehicle for her old-fashioned style. “Smokey Robinson said he wrote about love because it was everlasting. It is the one emotion that will still remain. The world may completely change but we will still probably love each other,” she says.
“I like to go for the more fundamental rules of existence. I think this is what this film stands for.”