Cultural survival kit for the running of the bulls (day 3) | Babelia

BOOK: The entenadoby Juan José Saer

Cultural survival kit for the running of the bulls (day 3)

Is there a novel that we could recommend to a viewer hooked on Big Brother lover of travel literature and a professor of History fond of Anthropology? It exists and has less than 200 pages: it is titled The entenado, published by the Argentine Juan José Saer in 1983 and soon became recognized as a landmark of Spanish literature in the 20th century. He arrived in Spain in 1988, a year after Saer (1937-2005) won the Nadal Prize, an award that, unfortunately, it did not help the average reader to be interested by post-boom Latin American authors.

Why The entenado Would you be able to convince such different people (separated by a meter)? Because it has the right doses of adventure, intrigue, reflection and emotion. It narrates the adventures of a Spanish cabin boy who, at the beginning of the 16th century, enrolled in an expedition to the Río de la Plata. Once there, the colastinés Indians capture the crew of the ship and their conqueror fortune changes radically because the colastinés have a virtue and a defect: they are peaceful but man-eating. So they eat all the sailors except him. Why? That is the question the boy asks himself every day he lives with a tribe whose language and gestures he does not understand.

The entenado it is a mixture of training narrative and narrative inquiry about what we call humanity and civilization. “For some, they were not men; for others, they were men but not Christians, and for the majority they were not men because they were not Christians ”. That is the mental frame in which a protagonist moves who does not know why he is still alive or until when. And that before embarking, he asked himself about the Indians the same as those to whom the information came to him by hearsay: do they have government? Properties? How do they defecate? What hand do they eat? "The unknown is an abstraction", we read in a passage, "the known, a desert, but the half-known, the glimpsed, is the perfect place to undulate desire and hallucination". In those we continue. Javier Rodríguez Marcos

A DISC: Moondanceby Van Morrison

Cultural survival kit for the running of the bulls (day 3)

Never did a grumpy person distribute so much happiness. The always sulking man named Van Morrison starts singing on this record the second he starts the first song, And It Stoned Me. Over the next 40 minutes the listener's mood will become happy, joyous. Is named Moondance and it was the work that saved the career of its author, who came from a commercial setback with Astral Weeks (1968), an album that only with the passage of time was fairly valued.

Moondance It is the record where one of the best popular music vocalists in history sings best. It is surprising to review data on this album. Morrison (Belfast, 1945) was only 24 years old when he entered to record this immaculate work. The deep feelings that Irish transmits in the ten songs are not typical of a twenty-year-old. It would have to be admitted that the curmudgeon was always a mature man plagued by the setbacks and happiness of a long and full life. Even at that tender age. In 1970 he was heartily in love. Janet's Planet Rigsbee, with whom he had a daughter, then also a singer, Shana Morrison (father and daughter have met on stage on several occasions).

There are love songs in Moondance dedicated to Rigsbee, like Crazy love or the same Moondance. They are pieces that celebrate: even the ballad Crazy love It has a rhythmic swing with which it is impossible to contain the swing of the head. It is Moondance a chorus album of humming songs (those “la, la, la” de Caravan), an album that evokes nature (there are lyrics that appeal to the sea, to the wind ...), perfect for traveling mentally in these moments of seclusion. But above all, it is a collection of songs that transmits optimism. Moondance It is an evening spree suitable (and obligatory) for all audiences. Carlos Marcos

A MOVIE: The last man on Earth, by Ubaldo B. Ragona and Sidney Salkow

Cultural survival kit for the running of the bulls (day 3)

Anyone who has read the novel I'm legend, by Richard Matheson, published in 1954, you will know that a great movie is hidden in those pages. Unfortunately, he has never been that lucky. Probably because the heart of the book harbors an incredible reflection on what majorities and minorities, racism and classism, legend and reality. The story takes place between January 1976 and January 1979, when a pandemic travels the world infecting humanity. In the film, the main character, played by the immense Vincent PriceScientist Robert Morgan warns his wife at the start of the infection: "I can't accept the idea of ​​a universal disease." And she asks fearfully: "This germ or this virus is transmitted through the air?". Does it ring a bell? The sick become a mix of vampires and zombies, although they retain quite a bit of intelligence (to varying degrees). During the day, Morgan goes out to hunt them, at night he takes refuge in his mansion covered in garlic perfume and other tricks. He falls into despair - there appears the great talent of Prince capable of going from crying to laughter (his trademark of the house) without pause - to finally become the only human being on Earth.

Matheson already wrote a script in 1957 for Fritz Lang to direct a version produced by the Hammer. It could not be. Pity. This version from 1964, shot in Italy, is the best shot (Will Smith's in 2007 is trapped by the Hollywood norm of despairing audiences), although the writer did not end up happy with either the script (which he started himself) or the cast: he did not like Price. However, the actor saves this movie, accessible for free on-line with a new dub in Spanish and in its original version, recommended for the formidable modulation of the interpreter. In the last pages of the novel, trapped by those zombies, the protagonist, who has previously reflected on the legends of vampires, realizes that for the rest of the beings he is strange, he will be a legend narrated from generation to generation: They all turned pale faces to Neville. Nelville watched them calmly. And suddenly he understood. I am the abnormal now. Normality is a majority concept. Norm of many, not of a single human being ”. Which leads us to the current pandemic, since when the months pass, the abnormal thing will be not having been infected: they will be legends. Gregorio Belinchón

A SERIES: Years and Years

Cultural survival kit for the running of the bulls (day 3)

Before the coronavirus turned our lives upside down, citizens had already become accustomed to living with daily uncertainty. The news about Brexit and the emergence of the extreme right were (and still are) our daily bread. We have become used to living through rare times when nobody knows what will be found around the corner. When the BBC premiered Years and Years last year, very little was known about its content. A family drama crossed with a sociopolitical dystopia? What the hell? However, the thing works. Through the daily life of a British middle-class family, and with temporary leaps that allow more than a decade to be covered in just six episodes, this production shows the social, political, economic, moral and technological consequences of a world very close to ours in which extremisms have seized power.

Unlike other dystopias that imagine cities with flying cars, here the alterations are so feasible, everything is as real as the chill that the viewer feels when they see how a foolish decision can leave you in ruins without being able to do anything or converts you from overnight in a refugee who struggles to get ahead with the entire Administration against it. This creation by Russel T. Davies strikes the guts of the viewer and leaves him breathless with a frantic narrative with increasing tension in each episode. Whoever dares with her, prepare for the trip. All six episodes of the miniseries are available on HBO Spain. Natalia Marcos

A COMIC: Silver Surfer

Cultural survival kit for the running of the bulls (day 3)

The superhero genre seems to forget its humble origin in the pages of comic books, augmented by the glamor of the big screen, the shocking special effects and the bulky box office collections. The transfer from paper to audiovisual is an unquestionable fact, but paper superheroes, faithful to their characters, resist fighting for loss and take advantage of seeking new perspectives. Small publishers take advantage to create different characters, while majors (Disney and ATT, aka Marvel and DC), already blinded by the fleece of the billionaire box offices, allow the authors to experiment in the printed redoubt with the heroes who do not reach the big screen. And in that tough village, authorship proves again that imagination is more powerful than millions of dollars in special effects.

A good example may be Silver Surfer, our Silver Stele, who had lost in his cinematographic step the cosmic power that breathed into him its creator, Jack Kirby, and how well cartoonists like John Buscema knew how to interpret, accompanied by the grandiloquence and pomposity of Stan Lee's dialogues. Fortunately, the series reached the hands of Dan Slott, Mike and Laura Allred, who developed a saga (published in Spain in five volumes by Panini Comics) that reinvented the character as a naive pawn of the cosmic greatness of the Marvel Universe. While the other heroes are dedicated to saving the world, this Silver Wake incarnation poses a double love story: on the one hand, the one we read, the story of the young Dan Greenwood and the silver herald. On the other, the background, a declaration of unconditional love for comics and genre, passionate, turning the herald of Galactus into a guide to a journey through the unleashed imagination. Álvaro Pons

A VIDEOGAME: Red Dead Redemption 2

Cultural survival kit for the running of the bulls (day 3)

In 2018, a miracle occurred that would transcend the ability of video games to reformulate. Two games (two blockbusters) took two established franchises and deconstructed them thus creating two milestones. Both games dared to pass, with great risk, through the eye of two very specific needles, and the result was two masterpieces. The first is greek mythological fantasy God of war (Sony, PS4), that passed through the eye of the parenting needle, transforming its protagonist, the god of war Kratos, into a father. And to the game in something different. In something greater.

But it is not the God of war the game that begins our recommendations to play in these days of national alert and forced home stay. That's the other game that in 2018 dared to change the course of a franchise: the Red Dead Redemption 2. The first game in the Rockstar saga, in 2010, had been an orgy of violence (in this case, in the American Wild West), maddened, wild and fun to rage. But the game that came to us two years ago was something very different, which transformed the franchise at its roots, passing, this time, through the eye of another needle: precisely, that of the disease. Halfway through his adventure, the protagonist, Arthur Morgan, falls ill with tuberculosis after hitting a sick man who demands repayment of a loan. From there, what we thought was going to be an ascending adventure, more and more exciting, pauses. She becomes reflective. The protagonist's dying lungs no longer allow the adrenaline explosions that we had seen until then. The new rhythm of the game gives the incurable Arthur the possibility to reevaluate his own existence and, to the player, to recontextualize all the actions he had committed. How much violence? How much chaos? In such a hurry to get to… where?

In the paused world to which the disease compels him, Arthur will put aside everything that the others demand to him, for the first time, to have a dialogue with himself. The game has many other virtues - unforgettable characters, a dreamy graphic section - but let's stay with the narrative aspect today: the disease as a full stop. Moment of calm and calm. Time to step back if necessary. If only to gain momentum and move on. Jorge Morla


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