JUSTINA BUSTOS: “THROUGH CINEMA I SAW A WORLD THAT WAS OUT OF MY REACH”
Name: Justina Bustos
Zodiac sign: Pisces
LATINNESS: Justina, we were together recently to welcome Olivier Polge, In House Perfumer for Chanel, to Buenos Aires. Coincidentally, you two have something in common, which is that you both studied Art History before switching to your respective careers. In your case, what led you to the cinema?
JUSTINA: Cinema has always been present in my life. Movies were a huge source of inspiration for me when I was little.
I lived in the countryside until I was 17 years old, and through cinema I saw a world that was out of my reach. It made me believe that anything was possible. When I was attending school in the capital of Cordoba, my mother would take me to Blockbuster to choose a movie every Friday– it was our ritual.
Curiosity led me to the cinema, as well as my determination to discover what it was all about. Today, I’m finishing my debut as director and producer of Alone in Paradise, a documentary about existence, loneliness, freedom and community.
LATINNESS: Was there a turning point in your career?
JUSTINA: I think it was the movie Volley. It opened a beautiful door for me; I met people who transformed me and made me feel part of something new.
LATINNESS: Your repertoire of films and roles ranges from drama and comedy to soap operas. How do you prepare for your roles? Is it difficult to move from one character to another?
JUSTINA: It’s not a difficult task for me. I prepare for all my characters with Monica Bruni, my theater teacher.
LATINNESS: What attracts you to a role?
JUSTINA: I don’t really know what attracts me to a role many times. It either seduces me or it doesn’t. I can’t rationalize it too much.
LATINNESS: You’ve said that you’re not afraid to decline a proposal that doesn’t contribute something to you? Is this a philosophy you apply to everything?
JUSTINA: Yes, I try to be in constant relationship with freedom, to question the reason behind my decisions. If I pass on a project that doesn’t appeal to me, then I’ll try to use that time to create or participate in activities that actually do make me feel vital, whether it be taking dance classes or ideating a play.
LATINNESS: Within recent years, you relocated to Madrid and Paris. What led you there and how has that experience influenced you?
JUSTINA: I’ve lived all over and have made families in different places. I think these experiences have made me more attentive to generosity. When you don’t have your close people with you… when someone allows you to count on them, it’s a beautiful act of love. Being aware of that makes me more open with them. Meeting different people and discovering new stories and ways of living fascinates me.
LATINNESS: You’re currently in Buenos Aires for the second season of Argentina, tierra de amor y venganza. What’s the first thing you do when you arrive back home?
JUSTINA: I take a flight to my parents’ house, to the countryside… To the comfort of the familiar. That’s what makes me travel.
LATINNESS: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout your journey thus far?
JUSTINA: “El camino es la piedra” (The road is the stone), a phrase my brother Joaquin and I reread recently in Borges’ Shakespeare’s Memory.
LATINNESS: In an industry that can be challenging, how do you take care of your mental health?
JUSTINA: By surrounding myself with people who love me and whom I love. I don’t spend too much time on social media. I try to be in a constant conversation with what’s good for me and what’s not good for me.
LATINNESS: Argentines stand out for their casual, effortless style. Do you identify with this? How do you define yours?
JUSTINA: Yes, obviously, ha ha ha. Simple and elegant.
LATINNESS: You have strong ties with fashion. Has it always played an important role in your life?
JUSTINA: My mother is someone who is passionate about fashion. Since I can remember, she used to buy Vogue, and I’d read them all. Fashion was always present in my life.
LATINNESS: We met through the industry, specifically with Chanel. They’ve accompanied you during important moments in your career. What was your first memory with them?
JUSTINA: I’ve been part of the Chanel family for a long time. I don’t remember the first, but I do remember the day my mother and I were invited to their fashion show at the Grand Palais. I fulfilled one of her dreams that day… I was sitting in the first row and Monica, my mother, in the second.
I turned around to see her face during the show. I’ll never forget her expression! She was an enchanted girl with tears of emotion.
Chanel has made me feel at home at every film festival I’ve been to. Many times, on those occasions, I traveled alone, and knowing that I had the Chanel team waiting for me to accompany me on that carpet or to that interview, made me feel reassured.
Chanel dressed me for my first Cannes Film Festival. That’s also a memory I’ll never forget.
LATINNESS: Is there a dream you’ve yet to fulfill?
JUSTINA: Sharing my documentary Alone In Paradise with people.