Monday, March 4

Fermin Muguruza directs his second animated film: “A Memory Exercise in the Battle for the Story”

Fermin Muguruza’s (Irún, 1963) relationship with comics should not surprise his followers. The debut of his first group, Kortatu, opened with Don Vito and the revolt in the phrenopathy, a theme inspired by a character by the cartoonist Javier Montesol. now the universe Black is Beltza, born from the graphic novel of the same name, delivers its second film part four years after the first. If then several world events were channeled through the protagonist Manex, this time it is his daughter born in Cuba, Ainhoa, who takes the viewer from the Caribbean to Pamplona and from there to Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kurdistan and Marseille in the year 1988 The film has involved the work of 250 people; Among that work is also the dubbing of actors and actresses such as María Cruickshank, Itziar Ituño, Eneko Sagardoy, Antonio de la Torre, Ariadna Gil or Gorka Otxoa.

The night the Kortatu set fire to Malasaña without stepping on it

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It has been four years of work that Muguruza describes as “very intense”. “These are not eight-hour workdays, but almost the whole day except for the time you are trying to rest, and I normally get little sleep,” he explains. “We co-produced with a studio in Argentina and their heaviest hours of work coincided with the time ours finished. Until eleven o’clock at night you were pending because any doubt that can be resolved on the same day is vital so that you can continue working the next day. But animation gives you a lot of joy every time you see a character, a background, the movement of an eye or a hand, the synchronization of music. Of course, there are also monster chants and times when you have to fight many-headed dragons. But it has been a truly grateful journey. The Ithaca we have reached through Ainhoa It has been brand new at the Velodrome”.

Muguruza attaches importance to the fact that the film could be seen for the first time at the Anoeta Velodrome as part of the 70th San Sebastian International Film Festival. 3,000 people filled the same space in which the second group of the musician, Negu Gorriak, celebrated in 2001 his definitive acquittal of the lawsuit filed by the then Lieutenant Colonel of the Civil Guard Enrique Rodríguez Galindo. The song by which he felt his honor injured, Ustelkeria, It reflected the echo that a report had had in the press – known by the name of the chief prosecutor of the Provincial Court of Guipúzcoa Luis Navajas – detailing links between the barracks led by Rodríguez Galindo and drug trafficking.

That is one of the many musical and political references that appear in a Black is Beltza II: Ainhoa which starts with the leading role of Kortatu: the genesis of his theme Sarri, Sarri and the live farewell of the group in 1988. In the film, Fermin and his brother Iñigo Muguruza anticipate that this band would never get together and that the next thing they would do would be totally new, stylistically speaking, and in Basque. Both were, as adults, finishing learning a Basque language that was banned during the dictatorship. The premature death of Iñigo in September 2019 fell like a slab at the beginning of the creative process of the film. “Very few people know that last photo of him that appears in the film. He is wearing a t-shirt that I sent him to Nicaragua, where he was fighting for a new world” says Fermin. “The death of my brother was such a devastation that for the first time in my life there was a moment where I thought I was not going to be able to save a project. It has been very hard, but the film has been a kind of therapy. In the moments of greatest discouragement, Iñigo has been a reason to do Ainhoa”.

The film team has counted, in addition to the executive production of Jone Unanua, with a script analysis by Natalia de Ancos and Kattalin Miner. One of the most notable changes with respect to the first installment is a greater female role. Not only that of Ainhoa, whose voice actress María Cruickshank, according to Muguruza, “has totally become the character.” On her travels, she is accompanied by the journalist Josune, from the Egin newspaper. “At the premiere I saved the director of that medium, Jabier Salutregi, to present him to the public last. I spent three years working on the Egin radio. I remember that its closure, in 1998, caught me on tour with Dut, taking a plane from San Francisco to New York, where we had to play in the CBGB room. Salutregi did not receive any kind of international solidarity, being the director of a newspaper, and years later the closure was declared illegal”, recalls the musician and director. Ainhoa has not had the support of Spanish Television. “They slammed the door on us. They told us, and we have it in writing, that the film does not fit their editorial line. That with the supposedly most progressive government since the Second Republic”, laments Muguruza.

“Nostalgia paralyzes. Ainhoa it is an exercise in historical memory”, affirms the director. “We forget, for example, that in Afghanistan there was a socialist revolution in 1978. We live a battle for the story, and that is already in the first film, where it was key to emphasize the smuggling of ideas and the most important weapon that we have those who want to change the world, which is culture”. For Muguruza, the artistic front line continues to play a major role in the state of things. “Is essential. We are sinful of the obsession of the moment, we think that we are going to achieve things in the period of life that has touched us. Many people have experienced the fascinating time of change, however many other people have not. We are now in a moment of impasse, but culture has to continue to be that hammer that hits the world”, he points out. The one from Irun trusts in the creation of new references and has words of admiration for what is being woven lately in Navarrese lands.

“I find the movement in Pamplona impressive, which even has a name, the ‘resurgence of the east’, and that it also happens around Basque, with gangs that support each other despite their different styles: Chill Mafia, Hofe, Katanga Dub, Ibil Bedi, Tatxers, the Broken Brothers Brass Band and of course venues and publishers like Katakrak”, he points out. That is, in fact, the city in which a film begins, Ainhoa, which maintains a balance between the personal travel notebook and the collective testimony of a time from which it claims valid teachings for a cloudy present. An hour and a half that he knows that every utopia worthy of being called that sounds at a good volume.