Alejandro Amenábar says that he coincides daily in the square closest to his house with a group of retirees. Each with his dog. One of them boasts a Republican, the one next door seems Franco (or he was at the time) and the third is there. No one is ever missing. «Among them there is an interesting game. They are friends, ” says the film director. And he continues: «I see them and I can't help wondering what happened 80 years ago, what happened right here in Spain» . And one went further: "If I had seen myself in their situation, what would I have done?" The reflection comes a good part of the meeting held on Monday by the film director on one side and the director of The Paper Sphere , Antonio Lucas , on the other. This is the first of the events that commemorate the 30th anniversary of EL MUNDO , a newspaper, as its director Francisco Rosell said in the presentation, intended for debate, for the exchange of views and for the meeting. Among the public, the president of the Editorial Unit, Antonio Fernández-Galiano , and many more people to fill the auditorium of the imposing and at the same time balanced building of rusty steel that Sáenz de Oiza thought to preside over the Madrid Castellana. For that and for BBVA, of course.
The question, that of war, remained there. It seemed rhetorical and it wasn't. Proof of this is both the silence between the audience after the forced dramatic pause and the film itself While the war lasts , which since the day of the premiere there in September has made about 1,700,000 spectators have been formulated in exactly the same terms, although with different dogs probably. «That, in short, is the dilemma presented to Unamuno and that is why this final turn is so incredible and courageous that it gives meaning to his life as a politician, thinker and human being. Talking as he did at the most inopportune moment is the one that justifies his entire career », concludes the filmmaker. It refers, needless to remember, at the moment already famous and mythical of winning without convincing in the center of the paraninfo of the University of Salamanca and who presides over the whole film and who knows if all the recent history of Spain from 1936 until today.
In fact, much of the dialogue between Lucas and Amenábar focused on that: to analyze parallels and look for causalities rather than just coincidences. The first says that the film is a mirror "in which we must look again"; who questions us and at the same time welcomes us; that questions us and portrays us. And Amenábar at his side nods and thanks. "We were always clear," explains the director (the film director), "that Unamuno was our anchor. While the war lasts, it begins as a film about the anecdote [emblematic and majestic, but anecdote at the end of the day], to later be a story about the beginning of the war and Spain ».
And having said that, the conversation stops in the doubts, in that third Spain that, in the interviewer's opinion, welcomes figures such as that of the journalist Chaves Nogales and the Bilbao philosopher who lived in Salamanca. He was the first to see the deviations of the Republic and the first to repent to the excesses of the rebels. He was wrong and ran to make clear the depth of his mistake. "When they accused him of changing," Amenábar reasons, "he replied that the ones who changed were the others . There is something immutable in Unamuno that is what made him change precisely. And that which does not move is reason, humanity ». And when the reflection is complete, he adds: «For my part, just confess that I like the contradiction. I connect with people who make mistakes and recognize them ».
Lucas remembers that Christian Boltanski, an artist, warns from the pages of the magazine he directs that he fears people who only have answers. And Amenábar, with the voice of his Unamuno, gives him the reason again: «Unamuno was vehement without a doubt and those intellectual overturns of which he displayed are those that bring him greatness. Now, precisely, I miss just that. Bad is, in the opinion of the filmmaker, that in the democracy we step on "humor and dissension are so badly seen." And there, for now, leave it.
The director (the film director) remembers that he left Chile as a baby when he was just a year and a half old. He fled with his family from the threat of a dictatorship to reach another. And while explaining this episode of his life he realizes that the script of the film was written by two, in his own way, immigrants. He for what he just commented and Alejandro Hernández, for a former Cuban military. And the data hides in a somewhat cryptic way a key: «The idea was always to confront the public, to the Spaniards wherever they came from, with our national symbols to ask who we are and where we are going». And, indeed, there are the flag and the anthem. That is not little. «One of the most obvious certainties of the film is the sense of orphanhood that it produces when you contemplate where those symbols come from. They are symbols created by Franco, ”he says and continues as stepping on crystals:“ Part of what was organized in the Transition came, in reality, from behind, from the dictatorship. And hence that strange feeling ... It's a bit like discovering that Darth Vader is your father.
The time comes for the question.
- How much present is Franco among us?
- The last time I answered this question, he messed up. But it is and the proof is that it has cost a lot to finance and take out this film. By Franco. His ghost floats and generates suspicion.
What if we look to the future? What happens to us? Asks the first and breathes relieved the second. «Lately I have to compare Spain with a community of neighbors. I always bet on living together. Moreover, I have been president of my community for years and we manage quite well despite being completely different from each other, ”he says and laughs. All followed. And he insists with a correction: «I bet on coexistence and unity». Razona Amenábar that surprises him that 80 years later we are still at the same point. What happens to make it so hard for us to move forward? "It is surprising how current is the speech of a man who was a speaker in the Statute of Catalonia of 1932, who with many reservations was a member of the Basque Nationalist Party and that, eventually, ended up being a Spanishist." And in the surprise, without a doubt, is the root of a vocationally modern production by ancient , aspirationally present by pure past. As Faulkner would say, the past does not exist; The past is the present.
So much coincidence of verb tenses, exhumations, unveiled wills and confronted Spanish, in fact, made at any given time the director himself doubted the opportunity to release the film right now. «We think about it. We did not know if it was a happy coincidence or the greatest misfortune. A movie is not improvised and there is nothing sought. However, public acceptance has ended up making the decision to move forward, ”he reflects.
The speaker speaks the son of the generation he calls Naranjito himself . He who speaks and has been committed to being a film director since the mid-90s confesses, now that the meeting is over, which led him to Unamuno, which was nothing other than everything he did not know about him and about the War . «All my generation, despite being born in democracy, tiptoed through the Civil War. It was on the agenda, yes, but it was not arriving or arriving late. I am not an expert, but I have a feeling that in the Transition there was an attempt to turn the page quickly and that is what we have inherited. But sometimes you have to look back. It is inevitable to look back so as not to repeat mistakes.
And here, yes, everyone agrees. Each of those present in the room and each of those who have turned the last work of the author of Thesis, Open your eyes or Sea in the film of the moment. And it remains.
"And now?" Asks the director (the one from La Esfera). And here, the director (the other) tells that he prepares a television series about the Odissey , the ship that fell to the bottom of the sea loaded with 500,000 gold coins . The production is based on the comic by Paco Roca and Guillermo Corral The treasure of the black swan and recounts the confrontation between the US treasure hunters and the Spanish State. And so.
When THE WORLD was born, Amenábar was 17 years old. Now, although slightly more skeptical, he says he would never like to lose the illusion of his work. A wish that applies to filmmakers and journalists. And even for dogs.
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