This is how Berlanga is Berlanga’s own life and this is how he wants to show it. single-chain director Rafael Maluenda in his movie Berlanga !!, a documentary whose filming has just ended and that starts from his own friendship with the director to transcend the person and the character through his production and also of great cinema figures.
And there are directors like Fernando Trueba, Santiago Segura, Gonzalo Suárez, José Luis Garci, Gracia Querejeta, Daniel Monzón (with whom they shot in Dénia), Enrique Urbizu, the from Alicante Miguel Albadalejo or Alexander Payne, a great admirer of the Valencian who was interviewed in Nebraska. And actors like Antonio Resines, José Mota, Joaquín Climent, Guillermo Montesinos or Luisa Martín, “whom he considered the best actress of her generation.” In some way, he affirms, “these presences are also a vindication of our cinema that Luis liked so much.” In fact it was promoter of the Film Academy and also of the City of Light in Alicante, although he called it City of Cinema. «It hurt him that everything ended in a berlanguian way. He believed in this project, the problem was that extra-cinematic things crossed. At one point he said that he hoped it wouldn’t end up being a ham dryer … judge for yourself ».
The objective of Maluenda, who through this documentary makes the vital journey through the scenes of his films, is that Berlanga be known “through the turning points” of his life. “It is about spending time with Berlanga, with a friend, getting to know him and knowing the reason for the imperishable value of his work, also having fun because otherwise he would not forgive us,” says Maluenda, who met Berlanga in 1991 and went on to be part of its management team. «The film is also a tribute in style and we have ensured that what we are telling, even if they are dramatic episodes in his life, is approached from the perspective of humor.
There were many hours shared, many conversations, many walks and confidences those left behind by the relationship of the monovero director with the Valencian director. “Working with him is a core part of my training in the world of cinema,” he says. So much so, that the Alicante-born man was the creator of the Berlanga Film Museum, the first online museum dedicated to a filmmaker, as well as curating several exhibitions. Three years ago he embarked on the path of making this film. “In the end with these things of the production we have planted in the Berlanga Year and thanks to the producer Regina Enguídanos who took the reins”.
Reality or fiction
The humor and scathing criticism of the director of Welcome Mister Marshall, The Executioner or The National Shotgun are two of its fundamental characteristics, which went beyond celluloid. “Luis had a fabulous point that was very funny and you did not know where the truth ended and how much there was to joke or play … then you realize that even what seemed more absurd was true.”
Maluenda remembers that when Berlanga decided to make movies on the one hand he faced Franco’s censorship, “That cut the films or prevented him from making them”, and on the other to the rejection of the producers opposed to the Franco regime. “That speaks to his independent spirit that is above ideological corsets.” In fact, he highlights, “the cinema he made during the Franco regime became popular during the Transition; his cinema put his finger on the sore of everything he did not like and that transcended political regimes ».
Teaching the Spanish to laugh at themselves was another of his great achievements. «His idea was that if you have to correct something, do it with humor, and beware that he was not a sermonizer; he made a general portrait of society in which he included himself because he was able to look at himself from a distance and talk about his own contradictions. As Gómez de la Serna said, humor is an attitude towards life ».
«I would like this movie to be a happy meeting between popular wisdom and Berlanga». We will have to wait for its premiere, predictably at the end of this year, to verify it.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.