Every time a cinephile forgives life to the comedy of developmentalism by mentioning its sociological value, the demon of condescension smiles in silence. Come to Germany, Pepe (1971) by Pedro Lazaga still possesses an evident sociological value, not only as a testimony of a reality -the phenomenon of emigration-, but also as an instrument of identification and recording of a street experience of failure, frustration and disconnection with official discourses, skillfully channeled through the codes of popular culture. In that film -and many others- there was not only formula, but also talent: that of some comedians who defended their characters with the same conviction and efficiency with which, in the cinema of the Transition, they would face other records that the average movie-goer would leave to handle with tweezers.
LOSING THE EAST
Address: Paco Caballero
Interpreters: Julián López, Chacha Huang, Edu Soo, Miki Esparbé.
Gender: comedy. Spain, 2019.
Duration: 88 minutes
Losing the north (2015) by Nacho G. Velilla was clear about his debts to Lazaga's film: the presence of José Sacristán spoke for himself, although his character was put at the service of touching and emotional notes that the story did not handle too delicately. His presence also betrayed an absence – where Lazaga put an exile (Ferrandis), Velilla put an old man with Alzheimer's – and the overall tone of the production was closer to that of a hypermusculated Antena 3 sitcom than to the memory of the popular comedy. There was, in short, more formula than authenticity. However, the film did not stop responding to something: the reactivation of migratory dynamics on a generational spectrum whose formation marked a considerable distance with that of their grandparents.
In Losing the east of Paco Caballero not only changes the scenario -from Berlin to Hong Kong-, but also dilutes that social comment in favor of a certain bruguerization of the adventures of the characters: it is hard to imagine the figures of López, Esparbé, Soto, Bachir, Alterio and Machi drawn by Raf or Antonio Segura. They play in favor of the result the fusion of the comic and romantic plot and the protagonism of Julián López – his overload of charisma could revive a Titanic of comedy -. The farce of cultural prejudices is mechanical, as well as the lazy verbal buff of some secondary, but the real Achilles heel is in visual humor, shot with a reluctance that blurs a final climax set in the Sanfermines and sabotages the body language of Edu Soto.