Wednesday, November 30

‘La sagrada familia’, the secular biography of Jordi Pujol that was needed

Historical figures generate discord. Even more so if, as Jordi Pujol Soley did one day in Santiago Apóstol in 2014, they confess to having deceived the Treasury after decades giving moral lessons. Part of Catalonia prefers to continue venerating Pujol, but many on both sides of the Ebro see him as the head of a gang. Although it is entitled ‘The Holy Family’, David Trueba and Jordi Ferrerons have managed to make a secular biography of the character for HBO Max. The documentary flees from both glorification and the temptation to convict him before trial.

The accusation of Rajoy in Andorra seeks the X of Operation Catalonia that the Spanish Justice is reluctant to investigate

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‘La sagrada familia’, which opens this Thursday, is a first-rate journalistic exercise. Throughout four chapters lasting about an hour, more than 60 interviewees dissect the personal, political and allegedly criminal life – is it possible to separate them into watertight compartments? – of Jordi Pujol. The narrative is chronological, which helps to understand one of the most complex characters in Catalan and Spanish politics. The documentary ends with its own conclusion, but it is not emphatic, rather it gives the viewer all the elements to form their own opinion about Pujol.

In recent times, audiovisual work on Jordi Pujol had focused exclusively on his legal case. TV3 dedicated a documentary to him in 2021, six years after the outbreak of the case. Yes, more books and biographies had been written. The most recent, the political testament dictated by Pujol himself to one of his leading intellectuals, Vicenç Villatoro, in which the former president once again atone for his sins in a more extensive way than in his 2014 confession letter .

The documentary flees from any exercise of religiosity (pietist or inquisitorial). There is no ‘off’ voice, rather it is the interviewees who carry out the narration. Comrades of anti-Franco militancy such as Miquel Esquirol, Enric Bastardes or Miquel Sellarès explain Pujol’s beginnings in politics and his period as a political prisoner of the dictatorship. Felipe González and José María Aznar remember Pujol as a statesman and “committed to the constitutional project”, in the words of the former socialist president.

Lluís Prenafeta, his trusted man in the Generalitat, reviews his 23 years as president. The family side and his role as an absent father (Marta Ferrusola was told that they would be a marriage of three, since Catalonia would always be there) is provided by Josep Pujol Ferrusola, the only member of the family who agrees to speak in the documentary. And journalists who know the indictment opened in the National Court –Rossi García (EFE)– and who lived through the Banco Catalana case –Santi Tarín (La Vanguardia), Enric González and Pere Ríos (El País)–, as well as the lawyer Javier Melero, provide the objective data and the historical context necessary to understand the judicial intricacies.

The documentary not only reviews in detail the cause for which the former president and his children have been waiting for a trial date for two years. It also provides details about the family conclave in which Jordi Pujol Ferrusola prevailed over Oriol and the famous letter was decided. “I wish I could have looked at that scene through the peephole,” confesses, for everyone, the former CUP parliamentarian David Fernàndez. Years later this confession, rejected by several criminal lawyers who advise the family, has been found to be an error.

The letter allowed the Justice to investigate the family assets without having to resort to the tricks to which the PP political brigade also subjected the family. On this point, Trueba’s documentary provides an important witness in the case opened in Andorra in which Mariano Rajoy is accused: the former Andorran head of government Antoni Martí denies any pressure from the PP government to obtain the family’s bank details.

At the family level, the documentary shows that the atonement and forgiveness expressed by Pujol these years is not professed by all his children. Josep Pujol Ferrusola, who took advantage of Cristóbal Montoro’s tax amnesty, excuses his father but justifies having kept untaxed money in Andorra: “It was ugly, but it was not possible to prosper in the real estate world in Spain without it because there was a part in A and another in B. Does my father deserve a ridicule? Zero. Does it destroy his government work? Zero”. An echo of impunity resounds in almost all the interventions of the family spokesperson.

However the trial ends, the witnesses in the documentary anticipate a debate that Catalan society is already experiencing and that will emerge in all its harshness the day Pujol is absent. Do the decades of untaxed money and corruption sink 23 years of government work and have left their skin against the dictatorship? Perhaps there is no unequivocal answer and it takes the passing of the years, but Trueba’s documentary is a good starting point to begin answering.

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