Few creative tandems as solid as Rodrigo Sorogoyen's and Isa Pena. Together they have created one of the best series in the history of television in Spain, Anti-riot, and films that have marked Spanish cinema in recent years, such as The Kingdom or May God forgive us. They pamper the stories down to the last detail, they fight and defend them. From his head another title is now born to remember. It is called As bestas, and with it they have managed to be at the Cannes Film Festival within the Cannes Premiere section.
A rural thriller that acts as a metaphor for a Europe that points to the immigrant. That implants the hatred towards the different. An increasingly masculinized society where the only solution is to feminize everything. But as always in his films, nothing is so simple, everything is more ambiguous. In the background there are more conflicts. It is very easy to have principles when there is a privilege. Money allows you to be faithful to your ideas, but when you live with misery, everything ends. All this through a story based on the real event of the conflict of two brothers with a Frenchman who moves to a Galician village. The newcomer opposes the installation of windmills. Those born in the town see in that money their opportunity to flee. A slow-burning thriller begins, where Sorogoyen turns to the western to make his best film, also the most austere. The tension builds until the inevitable happens.
Sorogoyen and Isa Peña attend the Spanish press hours before the film's premiere. They have already crossed out that box that every director has, that of being in Cannes, but they don't think it's a matter of ego, but that everyone dreams "of being here". "It's a dream come true, since we found out we've been ecstatic with emotion and now we're living it," he says. A "good ambition", as defined by his partner.
The script began to be written in 2015, although it seems that they saw the future. There is an x-ray through the rural thriller of the problems and how the extreme right uses the fear of being different. "These six years we have taken the opportunity to get closer to the script from time to time. That gave us distance, which is a luxury that many times you do not have and that allows you to face script decisions that sometimes age badly. In addition, it allows you to sharpen themes that were already there but now there are more, and that happens with the issue that Europe has been involuting, and time has allowed us to sharpen and deepen that," explains Isabel Peña about the script process.
In a thriller where masculine energy expresses itself with violence, it is the women who solve the problem. All thanks to a change of point of view that turns the film and elevates it. Sorogoyen explains that they realized that As bestas "is a film that talks about many issues" and they had to find a way "so that they don't seem stoned". But they all emerged from that news: "The masculine and the feminine, the violence, the xenophobia and the idea of the homeland, which interests me a lot, to whom the land belongs more, to who takes care of it or to who was born there."
That is why they were interested in that turn to the feminine, because they were always clear that "she was the protagonist". "Over the years it has deepened, but if the movie had been about rural violence between men, that was already done, and very well done, we knew we had to change the story towards it and that made it interesting," he ditches. . A turn that they make with a radical break from the point of view, a memory that they love and that they already made in Stockholm and in May God forgive us. "It's that it's an obsession that we have, it's something that we talk about movies even when we go to the movies," says Isabel Peña.
His next project should have been another series. A project about the Civil War that Movistar + announced with great fanfare and that has canceled after a year and a half of work of Sorogoyen and Isa Peña. They do not shy away from the question about what has happened and confirm that it has been a cancellation that they sense is for political reasons: "What has happened...? Well, Movistar has canceled it. For political reasons? We assume so. The Civil War is the most sensitive issue, unfortunately, in this country. We thought, optimistically, that things had changed, but those in charge have decided not to talk about the Civil War".
Isa Peña adds that, after a year and a half, they thought there would be no problem, and that they will share this cancellation trying to "do it in the future, whether in the short, medium or long term." "We are going to try to resume it because there is a lot of work and it is very good. We are passionate about it and we want to do it. We are going to try to get other people to help us raise it, and hopefully it will happen," she says.