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INTERVIEW: Francesca Gregorini on the queerness of “The Truth About Emanuel”

Out director Francesca Gregorini premiered her second film The Truth About Emaneul (then called Emanuel and the Fishes) at Sundance last year, receiving accolades for her writing, directing and performances by stars Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel. Now the drama will hit select theaters in the U.S. on January 10, and the innate queerness of the film will not be lost on LGBT viewers.

Kaya Scodelario is Emanuel, a bored but witty 17-year-old who lives with her father and Stepford wife step-mom. She spends her time riding the train into the city for a job at a general store pharmacy, but quickly becomes intrigued by her new neighbor, Linda (Jessica Biel), a gorgeous and mysterious mother to a newborn named Chloe. Emanuel, whose mother died during the C-section she had while Emanuel was being born, offers to babysit for Linda when she needs to get out of the house. They embark on a relationship that is not quite understood by the people around them, causing Emanuel’s stepmother to urge Linda to make sure her interest in men is known to Emanuel, as she can sense Emanuel’s “unnatural” feelings for her.

Although both Emanuel and Linda have inner-turmoil over loss in their lives, they find a bond with one another that borders on mother/daughter and romantic/sexual. It’s a delicate dance that the actors play well and that Francesca has executed beautifully. We spoke with Francesca about the relationship between her female protagonists and what makes a gay film “gay.”

Francesca Gregorini with her stars at Sundance: Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel.

Lily, Kat and Kaya: Reunited and it feels so good.