March 7, 2021

«Journalism in Spain is pure neo-realist cinema»

Cinema, journalism and literature. Three arts whose common dialogue has few mediators of the likes of David Felipe Arranz. Journalist, writer, associate professor of Communication and Documentation of the University Carlos III of Madrid and omnipresent cinephile, puts – puts us – the servants of the "fourth power" in front of our cinematographic mirror in "The one hundred best films about journalism" (Cacitel ). Are we closer to the despicable Kirk Dou-glas of "The Great Carnival" (1951) or the incorruptible reporters of "Spotlight" (2015)?

-A fire threatens to reduce to ash all the films about journalism and you can only save three …

-Probably my favorite is "All the President's Men" (1976), paradigm of cinema helping journalism. Robert Redford bought the project for $ 450,000, when Bernstein and Woodward wrote the book. Meanwhile, the director, Alan J. Pakula, and the screenwriter, William Goldman, helped them in the investigations. All the team was involved in the final writing not only of the script, but also in the investigation.

– You have two left.

– «Network» (1976) and «The dilemma» (1999). The first part of an exceptional work of the playwright and journalist Paddy Chayefsky, able to foresee that a presenter of the Florida news, Christine Chubbuck, was going to commit suicide live. The rhythm of life of the news can lead to absolute madness due to the competitiveness of introducing "telebasura" content. As for «The dilemma», it raises the pulse of the big tobacco corporations to the journalistic companies, getting to buy part of their actions to influence their work.

-The cinema has taught us that the journalist is …

-A romantic being, envied and mistreated by the system. All the films, many based on real events, show us that the journalist is a heterodox and misunderstood, but also that journalism is a necessary element of democratic regulation against the excesses of power. The cinema has wanted to authentically document that odyssey and persecution, which has led many times to the murder of professionals. Journalism is a profession as envied as persecuted.

– What kind of film would be a film about journalism in Spain?

– Pure neorealism and celluloid survival, domestic trench. In the sense that the office is devalued by some people who have arrived and who do not know the routines of journalism.

– What film about journalism would be necessary?

-One about 23-F from the information point of view, about the journalists who were inside the hemicycle. The parents of "transitional" journalism were up to the task. I would give for an excellent film script.

– Are there more heroes or more villains in real journalism?

-In the past generations there were journalists who maintained a suspicious collusion with the political and business powers. But younger generations do not agree with permanent genuflection. There are independent media that live on the visits of their readers and advertisers "on-line".

-Who would be your hero?

-A journalist who taught me not to give my arm to twist with respect to the powerful and who was fired consecutively from a lot of exciting projects that he was riding. It's Julian Lago, whom he once called the Royal House to raise inconvenient information. Fortunately, I witnessed that melancholy heroism.

– And his villain?

-It could be Umberto Bassi. In 1971 he was director of the «Corriere Mercantile». Serialized a case of rape to increase sales of the newspaper, recreating in the most rugged. And the Italian public went crazy. It's something we see on television: journalists taking advantage of humble people.

-What fiction journalist would you like to never look like?

-There is a very recent film that struck me: «Nightcrawler» (2014), with Jake Gyllenhaal. Very documented in regards to malpractice. It is based on the story of RMG News, an agency in Los Angeles that has "pirated" the police station. They go to the place where a tragedy has taken place and distribute images to the big chains. The protagonist is a predator, but what about the system? And the chains that buy the contents? And the viewers who watch that channel?

(tagsToTranslate) journalism

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