Rapture and devotion (to Mario Camus)

The canary who has reached the highest in this festival – you cannot go higher, he won the Golden Shell with Days Counted (Imanol Uribe, 1994) – is the producer Andrés Santana and he tells us by phone that this edition has decided in the last time to decline the invitation you receive each year. We spoke with him from the Oquendo restaurant, the gastronomic nerve center of the event. The producer of Mararía (Antonio José Betancor, 1998) tells us in advance that his documentary on the Cantabrian director Mario Camus is already in post-production.

With Camus, director of the unforgettable adaptation of the Galdosian Fortunata and Jacinta to a television series in 1980, Andrés Santana was production director on Los santos inocentes (1984), there is nothing. One of the variants of the cinema of the most important of the Canarian filmmakers has been to pay tribute in documentary films to relevant names in Spanish cinema, such as the editor Pablo G. del Amo (in Un montador de ilusiones, 2005) and the visual effects specialist Emilio Ruíz del Río (in The Last Trick, 2008). The film about Camus is directed by Sigfrid Monleón, a permanent signature in the documentaries of the producer of El Trigo Diego (San Mateo).

The canary participated in the production of ‘The Holy Innocents’, in 1984


To Mario Camus. The day I close this chronicle, the news of the death of Mario Camus is known. Santana has always come just before. Neither Del Amo nor Ruiz del Río got to see their finished films. Camus won’t either. I repeatedly try to contact him. He knew it first thing in the morning. «I had a lot of relationship with him, especially close since we started shooting last March, we have remembered a lot that time when we worked together. He was a great film director and, above all, a great person “, says Santana on the other end of the line.

Spells. With social distancing and masks in the rooms at half capacity, the enormous container that is this festival leaves succulent options out of the possibilities of viewing from the first day. This is the case of the documentary by the Peruvian Javier Corcuera We are not nothing, about the musical group La Polla Records, in the Zinemira section, dedicated to Basque cinema, or the jewel of classic Korean cinema La criada (Kim Ki-young, 1960), in the Flowers in Hell flashback cycle. The golden age of Korean cinema.

Documentaries can be divided into two main types, those in which the director looks at his own navel (they are the least, but with a lot of popularity in public aid and among certain critics and festivals) and others that try to discover and teach things that they pass out into the world. The latter are the essential ones, the ones that serve and like the public the most. Inspiring and sobering is Bigger Than Us (Flore Vasseur), produced by actress Marion Cotillard, which portrays a series of extraordinary adolescent and youth activists working in places like Jakarta in Indonesia, Malawi and Uganda in Africa, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Colorado in the United States or the Greek island of Lesbos.

The precociousness of these activists is astonishing, most of them since childhood, all leading movements that seek to end the terrible conditions in the places where they live. The stories shrink and overwhelm. And some images are astonishing, such as those of the largest open-air landfill in Asia, where 2,000 families live and 20,000 people work scavenging. Among so many tons of shit, the film portrays the vibrant beauty with a capital b of the human being. Bigger Than Us is a documentary that should be screened in all schools in the world.

The Cotillard

The Parisian actress Cotillard appeared at a press conference on the occasion of this year’s Donostia Award. “The Oscar for the role of Edith Piaf was a before and after in my career, it gave me access to world cinema, the dream was amplified with it,” he began by stating. Regarding acting work, I explain that “actors depend on the wishes of others, so I have to thank the directors for how lucky I have been because they have projected their wishes through me.” Regarding the keys to his work, he said: «The more different the character is from my way of being, the more I like it. Imagination and observation are key in acting work. I am passionate about the human being and the reason why I am an actress is to increase my knowledge about him ».

With her hair in a small bun, elegantly dressed in pink pants, a white blouse with a broken round neck that made her face more distinguished, and beautiful silver earrings that shone, enhancing her facial features when the light from flashes and spotlights shone on them. , Cotillard was questioned on several occasions about the very high level of French cinema and the recognition it has in her country, in comparison with what happens in Spain: «France is a country of cinema», she replied, «there it was born and is part of our cultural DNA. We are fortunate to have great film wealth and we benefit from the support of the Government, which is necessary. Cinema helps to question the world, and for the French it is very important to question everything. As for why it is not like that in Spain, I don’t know what to answer ». I would have told him that what happens here is no longer fixed by the Chinese doctor.

Canaries have the right to feel closer to Marion Cotillard. She was the protagonist with Brad Pitt of the very interesting Aliados (Robert Zemeckis, 2016), the film that was filmed in the city of Las Palmas as if it were the Moroccan city of Casablanca during the Second World War and that has been the one that has been the one that has been the most anticipated has generated between the people of Gran Canaria since Tirma and Moby Dick, shot in 1954. That film, with an unforgettable -and torrid- sequence inside a vehicle in the middle of a sandstorm in Fuerteventura, supposed -it was said- his romance with the American actor and the straw that broke the camel’s back for Angelina Jolie, who after that film began the proceedings for her most notorious divorce. Pitt offered Cotillard his private jet to travel from the Cannes festival – where he was – to Gran Canaria, while he took the plane from Heathrow (London) with the rest of the team. An unforgettable day, as it was May 18, 2014, the same as the Islamist attack against an EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean in front of Cairo, and which had taken off hours before from the same London airport.

Untimely and fierce

Never faint. If at the exit of a film like Titane, by the French Julia Ducournau, the last winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes festival, you are suddenly caught in an untimely and ferocious rain, and all around you you see only people like you running in disarray, terrified, you think that all that may also have to do with the strange movie. The truth is that the first day of the festival was a hot day with bright sunshine, but Titane arrived and the weather changed.

There are movies whose starting point has never been seen before. That is why they are unpredictable. In the case of Titane, which tells the story of a young woman who is a serial murderer and is also pregnant … with a car. A huge Cadillac, just to be sure. As I dictate this to my mobile phone, two tall and exuberant French women, soaked, one black and the other with North African features, stand next to me at the door of the McDonald’s on Alameda del Boulevard in Donostia to protect themselves from the rain. They look like something out of the movie.

Do not give up. The androgynous young woman has changed her appearance, has concealed her chest and her incipient pregnant belly, and ends up being welcomed as a male child by an eccentric fire chief who is God to his crew. She, Alexia, therefore, is Jesus Christ.

Marion Cotillard, we canaries have the right to feel closer for the filming of ‘Aliados’


Everything else that is told about the fantastic Titane is left over, it is one of those films that must be seen to be believed. Of course, it is not for any type of viewer. It has moments of great violence, typical of extreme horror movies, in which you are forced to look away from the screen. But you must stay until the final lighter. As the inscription in pink typography on Alexia’s green tank top reads: “Never give up”, “never give up.” All of us who are and have been would not fit alive on earth. That is why we die, as the great Mario Camus did yesterday, as perhaps Alexia does too, to generously leave our space to new creatures. Squeeze it for that while you have it.


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