Sunday, December 5

A documentary pays tribute to Berlanga, the director who captured a society that laughs at itself in film


A handful of actors, a motorcycle car, a Roman helmet, funeral pomp and even a special surprise guest whose identity is not revealed until the end. One hundred years have passed since the birth of Luis García Berlanga and the documentary is premiered at the Seminci in Valladolid Berlanga !!!, that honors the historic director through the testimony of filmmakers, family members, and actors.

Anarchist, bourgeois, anticlerical and erotomaniac: this was the hidden face of Berlanga, an unrepeatable filmmaker

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The feature film is directed by Rafael Maluenda, who worked in the directing team of Berlanga’s last three films. “We wanted to create a story through which the viewer feels that he has met Berlanga, as far as possible, that he understands the value of his cinema,” he explains in a bustling Valladolid cafeteria, which they do not stop entering. and get people out of the world of cinema.

From the hand of the family of Luis García Berlanga; directors such as Fernando Trueba and Paco Plaza and actors such as Santiago Segura, the documentary covers Berlanga’s personal history (his time in the Blue Division and that being ‘bad Spanish’ that Francisco Franco coined) and delves into his cinema, without losing sight of that its target audience is the unspecialized, even those who have never seen a Berlanga film.

“We repeat that he is the great Spanish filmmaker, but it seems that they have to believe us,” says Maluenda, who has wanted to introduce elements “so that the viewer can decide for himself if what there is in the cinema makes him one of the great classics or no”. “We wanted the film to be popular, but also for it to be offered to everyone who wants to meet Berlanga. That relevant people tell them why and not have to believe it out of a pure act of faith,” explains Maluenda.

Welcome Mr. Marshall, Placid, The national shotgun or The Heifer These are just some of the titles on which the protagonists of the world of cinema reflect: the fight against censorship during the Franco regime, the taunts of political leaders already in democracy and that social criticism that always shone between jokes. “When Berlanga died, I said: ‘at last the factual powers of the country are going to breathe easy’, and it is true”, reflects on his visit to the Seminci Guillermo Montesinos, who starred The Heifer together with Alfredo Landa and José Sacristán. “For me [La Vaquilla] It was the professional thesis “, ditch.

There is something that everyone understands: miseries, hopes, illusions. That makes us continue to recognize ourselves

Berlanga went beyond the anecdotal to get many Spaniards to reflect in the mirror that he showed with his tapes. “There is something immutable and it does not matter if there are other political regimes or we dress differently. There is something that everyone understands: miseries, hopes, illusions. That makes us continue to recognize each other”, sums up Rafael Maluenda, who was a friend of Luis García Berlanga. “Luis was a genius supported and helped by Alfredo Matas, his producer; Rafael Azcona, the screenwriter; and people like Sol Carnicero, the production director. And you cannot ignore any of them for this success”, Montesinos emphasizes.

The documentary focuses on the importance of sequence shots in Berlanga’s films. “Shooting them in the 60s was crazy, lighting the entire space was much more complicated,” says Maluenda, who recalls how Berlanga transported in Placid the viewer from room to room in the house. “Besides, it was done without tricks,” says Maluenda.

The director of the documentary still remembers the “madness” involved in recording those sequence shots in All to jail. “The camera danced with all the actors, but all the tables that were arranged that were seen on the plane had to be raised in silence because there was live sound and we were all dancing, removing and setting tables,” he says.

Berlanga always said that he resorted to the sequence shot out of laziness, which Maluenda sees as “a lie like the top of a pine tree.” The director of the documentary underlines how “virtuous” Berlanga was, who “did not pretend to be so”. “We would rehearse a sequence all day and end the day without having shot a single shot. And the producers would put him off, with how expensive a day of recording is. He would laugh and the next day we would record and he had gotten away from it all. half ten pages at a time. And the producers stayed calm, “recalls Maluenda.

“You do not have to see that repeating [las escenas] as something tiresome, is that that is the cinema “, remarks Montesinos, who remembers how” rigorous “Berlanga was, aware of the actors who were in the foreground and in the fifth term.” Then, thanks to rehearsing it, then it comes out so fresh that It seems that it has been a marine joke. He controlled everything, “he highlights.

The value of Berlanga is in having put his finger on a sore that is historical in the human being

Berlanga !!! it outlines the director’s personality and her ability to laugh at herself. In parallel, he articulates a story in which Antonio Resines receives a call to participate in a documentary about Berlanga with actors who have worked with him. Together with Luisa, Guillermo Montesinos and other comedians they star in an adventure towards the filming set that will take place in the most berlanguiana possible.

“The value of Berlanga is in having put the finger on a sore that is historical in the human being”, Maluenda emphasizes. Sol Carnicero was head of production for several Berlanga films. Butcher qualifies the director as a “genius.” “All the work with Berlanga has been unequaled, because a director has not been repeated with that combination of so many things,” he glossed.



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