exist two Joaquin Sabina. One, the one who puts on his bowler hat and goes on stage. The one who displays his most 'scoundrel' side and sings of heartbreak with a scratchy voice. The other is the one that appears when he comes down from the stage and takes off his bowler hat. He is the one that nobody knows, the one who vomits before singing, the one who has panic attacks, the one who reads the letters of all his fans and the one who has led a life of excess that is impossible to hide. Sabina is like Chaplinan actor sheltered in his costume, in his hat and his characterization.
In Feeling it a lot, the documentary about him that has been presented at the Zinemaldia San Sebastián Film Festival and directed by his friend Fernando León de Aranoa for 13 years, he takes off his bowler hat to see the person behind the character. To the artist behind the scenes. The director has accompanied him in vital moments of this decade and a half. The composition of an album, his tours in Latin America and…. dropping him at the Wizink Center.
With that fall into the void from a height of two meters, the documentary begins. Sabina tells Fernando León that she hopes that she does not dare to open "with the hell", but the director is clear. It is the beginning of a film that will delight the singer's fans, who will receive a gift in the form of a twilight documentary, which sounds like a farewell. In fact, it ends with a song composed by Sabina together with Leiva and that sounds like an encore. Of course, the singer was in charge of avoiding rumors about withdrawals and at the press conference he announced a new album for Christmas and tour in February.
Fernando León acknowledges that he lived through that moment "with terror". He was backstage at the time, he was distracted for a moment and heard the fall. The music stopped abruptly, people screamed, and he ran downstairs to see what had happened. "What we did was stop recording automatically, that's where my friend got me, I didn't want to record that." What does remain in his camera is the reaction of the thousands of people who were there, in which after the cry of fright there was a painful silence. "Not a single telephone could be heard, that seemed impressive to me, there was fear and respect, so I asked the operator to record that, to record that image of that place. So until we knew that everything was more or less straightened out and we resumed the recording to be able to tell it", he adds.
The director joins that moment with another captured in these years, when Sabina, declared bullfighting, lived the serious fuck of his friend José Tomás in Mexico. "Being 13 years recording, some internal rhymes appear that express the same thing in different ways. I saw that the accident had to do with that other accident ten years ago. It seems to me that when he talks about what happened, it's as if , almost without knowing it, he was talking about what was going to happen to him. Because he was talking about when you expose your public life and everything is great, but you also have an accident in public and it's tremendous, everything happens in front of thousands of people " .
The singer has gone to present the film in San Sebastián, and there he has pulled on his sarcastic charisma and has spoken to the press about the modesty of making this film. "I am more modest than what my caricature says. My wife, who is not given to complimenting, told me that Fernando had taken my soul. And that already seemed like a tremendous rudeness to me, who does not even like to show my ass ", he let out between laughs. Sabina was partying, without taking herself seriously, without seriousness, because there is nothing she hates more than solemnity: "The artist must take very seriously what he creates for the public but never himself. The end of any artistic adventure is the solemnity
Feeling it a lot, he travels all the time along the fine line of hagiography. He does not go to the knife to show the shadows of the singer, they appear only when Sabina himself counts them, especially when he talks about drugs. Sabina jokes when the camera records a plate before a concert and says, "it's salt, huh", and defines his career as "sex, drugs and rock and roll", something that "lasted until he was 50 years old". "I gave up cocaine 20 years ago. And I gave it up without hospitalization and the things that people do. What if I miss him? Yes. Would he fall again? No," he says at another point in the film.
Fernando León doesn't like hagiographies, even from people he likes, they bore him. It's something he set out to do. He did not fall for excessive praise, although this time it was easy to fall for it, but he believes that they were "lucky that he has lights and shadows." "He is very aware of his strengths and weaknesses, his fears and his vulnerability. And all of that inevitably appears in the film, because he doesn't hide it. I think he is someone who is very happy with all of that, who at this point in life you know yourself very well and that is a gift when making a documentary".
For Sabina, the film is less condescending than she imagined when she got involved in this shoot. "When he saw it, he told me that if it wasn't a little hagiographic. Because in the end I've exhibited a few complex moments there, like the ones before acting, when he's scared to death, vomiting," says the director, who achieves a moment of great beauty when he brings together Sabina's original band and makes them play on the same stage they played years ago, now converted into a vacant lot where there was a shopping center in those years. A metaphor for the weight of art and the transformation of music and movie theaters into consumer zones.
A documentary that sounds like a farewell, where we see a Sabina aware of her vital moment, of "her maturity and her age". That of someone who, as he himself explains in Feeling a lot, went "from adolescence to old age without touching maturity."