Grandson of the Prime Minister Antonio Maura, he grew up in a family of the upper bourgeoisie before embarking in adolescence on the road to exile. He joined the French Resistance against the German occupation forces, ended up detained in the concentration camp of Buchenwald until April 1945, acted as an undercover agent of the Communist Party in Franco's Spain, hit a loud slam in the sixties to the political formation directed with an iron hand by Santiago Carrillo, and turned to literature and cinema, although he returned to Spanish politics as Minister of Culture in the Government of Felipe González at the end of the eighties. He had at least three names (Jorge, Georges as he was known among the intelligentsia Parisian and Federico Sánchez, his alias in hiding), and the magnetism that surrounded his figure was never without glamor or an aura of mystery.
The intense life of Jorge Semprún (Madrid, 1923-Paris 2011) may well seem an exciting plot of fiction about the European twentieth century. He was the first to understand and pulled his story in the long dozen novels and essays he published, and in the 15 scripts he wrote, one of which earned him an Oscar nomination. Now a new posthumous chapter is added to this fictional existence of the author of Writing or life, with a television miniseries of between six and eight chapters. Once again, the starting point is reality: in this case the biography Round trip. The life of Jorge Semprún, from the Williams College professor Soledad Fox Maura. "When I was writing I imagined even the soundtrack, but it seemed inconceivable that a research biography would turn into a series", says the author who spent more than five years writing the book, in which she collects about 50 interviews with friends and collaborators of the Spanish intellectual.
This will not be the first television incursion, the appearances of Semprún in the legendary literary program Apostrophe Bernard Pivot was placed in the living room of millions of homes in France. His new reincarnation will turn him into a fictional hero.
The Telespan production company of Vertigo 360 group announced on Wednesday the project, which is still in its embryonic phase. "With this we open a new line of work, with high budget series that are international co-productions. We are in talks with possible partners in France. The dimension of Semprún outside of Spain and the so convulsive moment that we live in Europe, makes it particularly appropriate to recover its history, "said producer Alberto Rull. "It will not be a hagiography, but neither will it be a documentary, like the one RTVE did. We will use his films and writings to reconstruct the era. " In 2019 they will select the casting international, in which we will have to find actors that interpret from Yves Montand to Javier Pradera. The script, executive production and possibly also the direction of the series will be borne by Agustín Díaz Yanes.
"If you tried to invent a character like Semprún, it would not come out," explains the director and screenwriter. "In Spain he has always been surrounded by controversy, because we are very rare. He was received as a Frenchman, although he defined himself as a Spanish red, "says Díaz Yanes, and frames in this context the hard battle he had as Minister of Culture with the law of cinema. The first thing that the Spanish director read about him, when he was still a 20-year-old and was affiliated with the PC, was also the first book that the intellectual published, the one he started writing in hiding, The long trip. Years later they agreed in the jury of a literary prize, but it was through the stories that they told him two good common friends, Domingo Dominguín and Javier Pradera, as he knew Semprún better. In the biography of Fox Maura where he says he has discovered a multitude of unknown stories about his childhood, youth and Parisian life.
Intellectual and man of action, "the exceptional thing about Semprún's life is not that it coincided in time with the political convulsions that marked his time, but that he got involved so often in so many of them," writes Fox Maura. He maintains that in the daily reports that he wrote for the PC as a clandestine agent, he found the germ of his novelistic drive: "There he found the discipline of writing every day, as in a personal diary that he presents to the public. Later, Jorge was aware of his own character, he was also obsessed with leaving a visual archive.He could have gone to Hollywood, but decided to go ahead with his personal and political commitment.Its influence in Costa Gavras or Alain Resnais is evident; in Yves Montand he found his alter ego fiction. " In spite of the fame and recognition that Semprún had in life, "there is a generation that hardly knows him and the new series will allow to change this, it will be a way to spread his figure and educate". The fascination that Semprún accused lasted.
Round trip, the first biography about the Spanish intellectual on which the series is inspired was originally published in 2016 in Spanish (Debate) and that same year in French (Flammarion). Last fall the American edition came out on the Arcade label and under the title Exile, writer, soldier, spy (exiled, writer, spy soldier). The launch was accompanied by a program dedicated to the facet cinematography of Semprún at the Film Forum in New York. The next 7 and 8 of February will be celebrated two colloquia in that same city about the biography, in the Albertine bookstore and in the Bobst library of the New York University, respectively.