Mejorada del Campo is a town in Madrid that rarely makes the news. Surrounded by other larger towns such as Rivas or San Fernando de Henares, its 23,000 inhabitants do not usually star in great feats. Recently, only one is remembered, Justo, the man who set out to build there a cathedral with your own hands. However, a film director believes he has found another person who deserves a place in history: a better girl who appeared on the national news briefly in the spring of 2015 and who was never heard from again. She, Cristina Carrascosa, is the protagonist of her film.
“We need positive stories that come from politics because we are suffocated with corruption, talking about people who behave in a dignified way and rebel against the unfair,” explains the director of the film, Alejandro Zumaquero, in conversation with this newspaper.
He learned the story of Cristina at that time in Madrid in which a story about corruption covered the previous one and the scandals lasted a week at most. The one uncovered by the former mayor happened in April 2015, shortly before the elections: an envoy from Esperanza Aguirre, then president of the PP in Madrid, demanded that she change her electoral list to include three members of the party who had joined the election. remained “off the hook” and that they had no relationship with Mejorada. She flatly refused, while defending her four-year tenure as mayor in a square where the right had never ruled. A few days later, the Popular Party struck her and her team off the electoral list.
A week later, elDiario.es published the details of the meeting, which were recorded in an audio recorded during the meeting. In it you could see the sewers of the Madrid PP operation and the tension to which Aguirre’s messenger, Bartolomé González, led Cristina Carrascosa and her companions. Alejandro Zumaquero listened to that audio and, after several years, decided to reproduce it word for word in a short film, with actors who behaved exactly like the real protagonists.
“The reality is sometimes so complex and so strong that those of us who tell stories only have to reflect it,” explains the director about the imitation format he chose for his film. He focused only on enriching it with an impressive staging, which exalted what was being said. Then he added some context at the beginning of the recording and titled it Hope vs. Hope, with the idea that it will begin to be seen in festivals shortly. This is his trailer:
Alejandro did not contact Cristina Carrascosa until the short was shot. He wanted to avoid that meeting her could change his opinion of her or be influenced by the real person in what he wanted to represent. “The recording is very faithful to what happened, although the office that appears is very cute, they put us in a den,” recalls the former mayor in a telephone conversation with Somos Madrid. Six years after all that, Carrascosa clearly remembers how it happened:
“At no time did I have the feeling that I was talking to colleagues, despite the fact that I knew Bartolo forever,” he says in reference to Aguirre’s representative. Although the order itself hurt him, what hurt him the most was his cocky attitude, with constant interruptions and an inappropriate position of superiority. “I imagine that he was in a situation where if he did not do that his position and his working life would surely be at stake,” he adds.
A victory in an impossible square
Cristina Carrascosa was chosen for the first time as a PP candidate in Mejorada del Campo in 2003. She was going to move to this town, so at the age of 35 she asked for a leave of absence from her job – she is a psychologist and a civil servant – and took the offer with Caution, because in that town the left had always ruled with a lot of margin. “They asked me as a favor and I knew how I had to work, doing a lot of street work, talking to people so that they would tell you what they liked, what they did not like and adding whoever wanted to join,” he explains, detailing a classic manual of what a local politician should be: “People want to meet you and talk to you, that you are not someone who only appears on a poster,” he says. This is how she spent the first eight years as a councilor and her strategy worked: in 2011 she won the mayor’s office for the PP, an unprecedented event in this town.
“When I managed to make everyone in the party feel part of the project, those who were there before and those who arrived new, they came and told me to do without them and put who they said,” recalls Cristina returning at the time of the meeting in the one who asked him to betray the trust of his people to sneak in the paratroopers imposed on him from Genoa. “I was not going to plant myself at the Thursday market to distribute lighters of propaganda with an unknown man, to later say that I have put him on my list and I have removed one of those who has been working with me all these years. “” At that point it was not feasible to continue. I was not going to do anything to continue leading the game in Mejorada. I’m not worth it for that, “he says.
I was not going to do anything to continue leading the game in Mejorada. For that i’m not worth
Carrascosa attended the meeting with four more people from his team, although only three are represented in the short for scripting reasons. Before, they had decided in committee to keep the list immovable – it had been approved by the management since February – because they imagined that the meeting to which they had been summoned would not be cordial. “When you take a shot, you imagine what could happen, but I didn’t think they were going to take 19 people out of the 21 on the list without warning.” The then mayor of Mejorada learned from the Official Gazette of the Community of Madrid that she was out of the electoral candidacy. He tried to meet with Cristina Cifuentes, who at that time chaired the Guarantees Committee, and did not receive her. “After that day, nobody called me again to tell me anything.” He had no further communication with the party than a letter sent to his home in which he was informed of his final and unappealable withdrawal from the PP due to the broadcast of the audio. “There are people who are charged and temporarily suspended, I was expelled forever,” he ironically.
The elections were held on May 20 and the list imposed by Esperanza Aguirre hit the ballot in Mejorada, losing a mayor’s office that has never been recovered by the PP. When the new elected councilors took office, Cristina returned to her position as a civil servant, in which she continues to work and does not consider leaving for any other political adventure, although people continue to ask her on the street. “At the time I thought that in politics I could do things, but when you have been in your normal work for a while you begin to realize that you have taken a lot of time from your family that is very difficult to recover, and if you put it on a scale you do not know to what extent it has been worth it, “he values now.
Returning to the short film, its director now wants to highlight a positive example that “was buried by the media voice of Esperanza Aguirre”, who dedicated herself to disqualifying Cristina Carrascosa by infusing false information, despite the former mayor’s attempts to defend herself. Alejandro Zumaquero tries “that history is not distorted even though there is no criminal conviction and that it is known what Aguirre’s management was in the PP in Madrid.” In fiction, the character of Cristina “offers the only hope we have: those who in the institutions try to do things well, even if the leaders do not want to”, adds Alejandro Zumaquero. “They are people who offer something positive for society, who fight like lionesses.”
The film, which follows in the wake of fictionalized documentaries such as B from Barcenas or inquire into dark aspects of the PP such as The kingdom, will begin its distribution by festivals from January next year and, when it has completed this journey, it will be hung open for anyone to see. The director’s illusion is that he fights the polarization in which Spanish society is immersing itself and serves as a starting point to create a trilogy of the same theme. “I would like it to reach the whole world and, although it is a bit chimera, to inspire politicians to see that society values people who are not corrupted, who behave in a dignified and ethical manner.”
Cristina Carrascosa confesses to feeling a bit overwhelmed by this position in which the director of the short puts her and limits herself to suggesting that everything would be less corrupt “if politicians had a separate profession to return to, that would make them look a little more for the neighbors”. He believes that the short film “is not going to please” people who are in politics, because it will seem to them that his was “an outing that is not done.” But he thinks that he can inspire the younger generations, while he proudly recalls how his older children – then they were 15 and 17 years old – and his gang of friends took him as a reference when he stood before the power of Aguirre: “They learned that you can fight in another way, you don’t have to put up with everything they tell you. ”