At one point in the conversation about eternity between
Hitchcock and Truffaut
, the Briton reminded the Frenchman on behalf of '
' of the recurring anecdote of the two goats who ate the reels of a movie based on a '
"I prefer the book," says Hitchcock, who ended up confessing one of the omnivorous creatures.
The recent premiere on
of a new version of
Daphne du Maurier's novel
places bulimic viewers in perhaps a similar situation and faced with the obligation to ruminate on a response that forces them to compare the 1940 classic starring
Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine
with its update '
Ben Wheatley, the new director, knew it.
"Honestly, I never feared the comparison. But I did fear the chorus of doomsayers saying that 'How dare you!" He says on the other side of Zoom and laughs.
The one who speaks, to place us, is anything but a well-off, conventional or simply sad filmmaker.
Films like '
Kill list', 'Tourists'
' define their ways between violent and scandalously free of prejudices.
And the masterful adaptation that he made in 2015 of
, the novel by
, managed to combine fidelity to the letter with simple brutality with a harmony close to any imaginable revolution.
The movie just exploded.
With these precedents, why bring one of the most remembered and universally acclaimed classics from one of the most remembered and universally acclaimed directors to the cinema again?
"I deny the major," Wheatley points out.
"I never tire of repeating that what I have done is not a 'remake' at all.
Hitchcock's is not the only version of the novel.
I have seen them all and I can say that I have kept my distance from any of them for the simple reason that my source of inspiration has always been the book. That and the impeccable script of
. Simply ".
Be that as it may, and without the intention of arguing more than is fair and obvious, the truth is that against any prognosis of Weathley's fans, which there are, and to the joy of the doomsayers from before,
in this new '
Lily James and Armie Hammer
in the lead roles.
Out of ideas, overproduced, and so abducted by each of the recurring obsessions of the original text that it would seem only lost
, the film barely manages to be a diffuse shadow of Hitchcock's goats tape.
And that despite the fact that, whether the author recognizes it or not, there are more elements that unite the 1940 production with that of Netfllix than those that separate them.
Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson in Hitchcock's 'Rebecca'.
From the outset, and not to move from the easy coincidences, the two films share the one that their directors, both British, use the same novel to debut in the '
'Posada de Jamaica'
, Hitchcock was hired by the almighty
to shoot a movie about the sinking of the Titanic.
It would be his first job in Hollywood and with the greatest and brightest independent producer.
The project, as it happens, was shipwrecked and the producer of '
Lo que el viento took
' devoted all his efforts to what came out best: a new literary adaptation.
In Wheatley's case, it is the Netflix platform that acts as a gateway not so much to Hollywood as to the entire world.
Not in vain, his next project, far from any '
, is none other than the umpteenth sequel to
Tomb Raider with Alice Vikander
as the protagonist.
"It is not up to me to find coherence in my filmography. In each project I start from scratch", the director comments, immediately afterwards confessing the power of seduction of a story that rises all over "the memory of a dream ".
"Last night I dreamed I was going back to Manderley,"
is the entrance again with its rusty gate.
But beyond biographies and common places, the two directors confess (or confessed) subject to the novel.
Hitchcock lamented his producer's obsession with the text in the same way that Weathley relies on fidelity to the letter to justify precisely the distance with any of the other versions.
In both cases, in addition, the mansion,
Manderley, functions as one
in the story.
Hitchcock spoke of using the property "as an abstraction" convinced that his film was nothing more than "the story of a house."
"I must place that house isolated to make sure that fear will have no resources in it," he commented to Truffaut.
And along the same lines of reasoning, Wheatley painstakingly describes the myriad different locations that make up a whole (the house) exactly as strange.
"We did not shoot in a single stage. To achieve the feeling of strangeness and labyrinth that we were looking for we used a thousand houses, a thousand rooms, different that
composed like in a puzzle," he
The two films, moreover, flee from an easy definition.
They are '
' to the same extent as romantic dramas without giving up the most elemental terror.
Hitchcock referred to his film as
"a fairy tale"
while his French interlocutor made him see the psychological components so far removed from the usual work to date of the director of '
Wheatley, in the same way, refuses to inscribe in a single category a film that is judicial intrigue as well as a ghost story or pure romantic tragedy.
"As in the golden age of Hollywood, the idea is to offer everything at once. You leave the cinema convinced of having invested your money very well, of having lived an odyssey that is also an unforgettable trip through France, England and the whole world .
like living several lives in one movie ,
And at this point, the roads part.
And in what way.
On the one hand, there are the differences in the plot that end up being so also in the same sense of the film (In what follows a good part of the resolution of the film is revealed. There are '
', come on).
is the coldest incarnation of evil in Hitchcock ("She is a motionless face ... She is hardly walking ... She appears suddenly ... The heroine never knows where she is so that it seems more terrifying, "he explained to Truffaut), in Wheatley it emerges" humanized. "
"I didn't want him to be just a stereotype or just the villain. He wanted to expose his obsession, infatuation, with the omnipresent ghost that is Rebeca," he says.
Kristin Scott Thomas
succeeds in characterizing the character with a clarity as close to panic as it is to pure passion.
But still, the most radical decision, however different, awaits at the end.
In Hitchcock the outcome is due to a
, but cruel.
Manderley, like Rebecca's own memory, perishes in the flames that not only consume from the depths the rancid tradition of the De Winters but that destroy an impossible love in the burning body of Mrs. Danvers.
Wheatley accentuates the romantic component to the point of exasperation.
Or so it pretends.
Scott Thomas does not burn but runs to jump into the sea to meet there, in the depths, to meet his beloved.
"There is even a possibility that she is not dead," says the director to add mystery to the mystery.
For the end there is the shared secret (we will not say which one) in this new installment of two lovers who have learned not so much to love each other as to cover up each other's crimes.
Let's say that now '
' does not surrender to the happy ending either, but rather allows bitterness to penetrate the bodies of a marriage that are now something else: they
are accomplices of a crime and, therefore, guilty forever.
"It is not a minor matter that in the end both, she and he, benefit from a death," he concludes.
Cold, on paper, it is impossible not to agree with Wheatley.
Without daring of course to take it from Hitchcock.
And yet, on the screen, Weathley's meticulous and stiff calculation for distancing himself, for underlining each anomaly and for evidencing the will to originality at every step is
so forced, so evident and didactic
that he ends up forgetting what is important: " The film's mechanism is to achieve increasing oppression only by talking about a dead woman,
a corpse, that we never see
And, of course, the goat knows what it eats.
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See links of interest
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