Almost two decades after becoming the first (and only) woman of color to win the Oscar for Best Actress and, after a career full of ups and downs, Halle Berry makes her directing debut with the film “Bruised” ("Wound"), who also stars, getting into the shoes of its protagonist, a mixed martial arts champion who comes unless she decides to return to the ring.

A woman, Jackie Justice, who has suffered hard blows but is more willing than ever to hit, since, like the actress herself (United States, 1966) she is a born fighter, according to Efe in an interview.

Berry has chosen for his directorial debut -the film opens this Wednesday worldwide on the Netflix platform- a story of redemption and second chances, a story of an unbreakable woman who somehow talks about her and with whom she intends shed light on uncomfortable topics like violence against women.

Question: How much of Jackie the Fighter is in you?

Answer: A lot. That’s probably why I leaned towards a story like this for my debut. I received advice from some directors that I admire very much and what they told me was that for my debut I had to choose a song that I loved and knew. So, I would say that a lot of me is in this fighter.

Q: Do you consider yourself a born fighter then?

A: Yes, because I have been fighting all my life. As a woman of color, I’ve been fighting to be heard, to be seen, for equality, to find a place in an industry that, 30 years ago, when I started, really had no place for me. It’s changed now, thankfully, for women and people of color, but when I started it was a different kind of fight, so I’m very used to fighting and working hard, being told no, coming through and finding another way. I’m used to not giving up and being tenacious.

Q: And how was the experience of directing, has it surprised you?

A: It was what I expected, very hard. I knew it was going to be difficult, especially since I was also acting, so my days were extremely long with my training and then having to do my directing job, rather than just preparing the role, as I always do. It was a challenge.

Q: The film deals with the issue of violence and abuse against women, can those who suffer from it learn something from watching it?

A: You can probably see your story reflected. I think mental health, abuse and domestic violence are topics that people never really want to talk about, but it is real and it happens in so many communities and in so many families. It’s a bit taboo because we don’t want to act if that’s happening. But it is real. I’ve worked for domestic violence shelters for over twenty years, so I know it’s real. I see it. I grew up with it. So for me this was trying to light up a dark place that we don’t want to talk about.

Q: You said that you were encouraged to direct because you could not find a director who shared your vision of the story. What is that vision?

A: That vision was to be tough and not move away from reality, from the human condition. I wanted to bring truth to the story and authenticity and show a world that can be difficult to experience, but also hopefully help the viewer to ask themselves “what must it be like to live that? If it is difficult for me to see it on the screen, what would it be like to live that situation?" Some people I met didn’t want to go in that direction, they were afraid of it, they didn’t want to bring that aspect of the story to the screen, but that was very important to me, to give it light in this way.

Q: Jackie’s story is also the story of a mother who abandons her son. Did you also want to bring the “bad mothers” dilemma to the screen?

A: I don’t see her as a bad mother, not even at first. She was not a bad person, she was just a damaged and broken person. And I think we have to learn to have compassion for the brokenness of people and not judge them. Yes, it is not something that women do traditionally, but in this story I had to explain why a woman would do that and when you understand it and you realize how broken she is, you can understand why she abandons that child considering the childhood that had. So the goal is to find compassion for these people and not judge them and say "you are a bad mother". These people are broken, they are fractured, they are doing the best they can. They fight to survive and find redemption, forgiveness, and that’s what life is all about. We all try to survive and seek forgiveness for something. None of us are perfect, right?

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