A Stroll through the Jaipur flower market with Irene Baque

Irene Baque is a prominent documentary film director born in Barcelona and now based in Madrid after eleven years in London. Her love for visual storytelling and her dedication to addressing themes of identity, resistance, and the role of women have defined her career. Through her films, Baque takes us to corners of the world such as El Salvador, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Ethiopia, exploring and revealing the realities of their inhabitants.


Where are you from? Where do you come from?
I was born and raised in Barcelona, but after 11 years living in London, I feel it has left a big mark on me. Now I live in Madrid.

What inspired you to become a documentary film director?
I'm not very sure; it was a gradual process. I'm a very visual person, and ever since I was little, I used to make what we now call mood boards by cutting out things I liked from teenage magazines. This ties in with the idea of being a storyteller and telling stories, which is something that fascinates me.



How would you describe your professional evolution from your first projects to your most recent works?
I have learned a lot about listening to myself and following my intuition to truly explore the topics that seem relevant to me. I started working at The Guardian when I was very young, I was very limited to telling stories that had relevance to a more mainstream audience. Now, not only do I do what I want but I also experiment with formats and im in a constant limbo between documentary and fiction. I also give much more importance to the aesthetic element, which is something that has always mattered to me.



 What motivates you to focus your stories on women and themes of resistance and identity?

I suppose these are topics close to me, as a woman. They are also themes with which, in one way or another, I feel identified or reflected, no matter how distant the story may seem. In the end, the feelings of women are quite universal.


What would you like people to take away after watching your films?

I suppose optimism. Because even though I have touched on very negative themes, I always do so from the perspective of the heroine, never the victim. I like my audience to consider things from this angle. 


What projects are you currently working on?
I am in the middle of producing a short fiction film that talks about the fears inherited within a family of women. It is based in a village in La Mancha called Lagartera, famous for its embroidery and its very ancient regional dresses.


What drew you to Romualda?
I really like the shape of the hats; they are like architectural pieces that are fun to use for compositions on camera. I am also a lover of color, so it is a piece that perfectly fits the visuals I create.


Tell us more about your trip to India with Romualda. What is it like to be at the flower market?
You have to arrive at the flower market in Jaipur very early in the morning, at dawn. It's the wholesale market where they buy the daily flowers by weight to make garlands and sell them on the streets. When you leave the hotel at dawn and appreciate that unique silence in the streets that will disappear for the rest of the day, you can’t imagine the hustle and bustle you will find in a nearby square. Upon arriving, it is an explosion of color, smells, and incredible characters. Visually, it has everything I like: obviously the flowers but also unique fabric scraps that help wrap the petals. I really enjoyed experiencing it through the camera.



We have already had the great pleasure of working together, but if you had to create another piece for Romualda, how do you imagine it?
I think Romualda's hats fit into any of my pieces! I am fascinated by summer, family life, old estates, and nostalgia, so any short film that brings together those themes would fit with the hats, which I feel are timeless and fit my aesthetic.


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