On the surface, a paradisiacal landscape: the water mirrors the changing light of the day and the reeds sway caressed by the wind; deep down, everything is mud, a metaphor for the moral degradation of society. It is the wetland of the Albufera of Valencia, which has become the scene of some films that deal with political corruption or develop a fascinating plot and also benefit from its great visual appeal. The last to be released has been the film The silence of the swamp, directed by Marc Vigil, currently on the billboard, a thriller which, inscribed in the tradition of black cinema, puts the focus on the corruption of the ruling class and places criminal action in a city, whose name is associated with numerous political scandals of its recent past.
Two years ago it projected in theaters The burial, by Nacho Ruipérez, in which the reclassification of land and the murky waters of the Albufera play an important role in its intrigue. It was also the year of The kingdom, by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, winner of seven Goyas, which, unlike the previous two titles, focuses its entire argument on corruption in Spain. In fact, it is an x-ray to the rhythm of thriller of various cases (Gürtel, Lezo, Punic, Barcenas …) without mentioning any one in particular. Part of the action takes place in the beaches and restaurants of El Saler, in the natural park of the Valencian freshwater lagoon, protagonist of the Serie The jettyfrom Movistar.
Other films have taken advantage of the breeding ground of native greed to incorporate drops of corruption in their plots. In 2016, One hundred years of forgiveness, Daniel Calparsoro, reported the assault on the headquarters of a bank in Valencia, which also holds political secrets that could blow up a government. In 2011, director Max Lemcke presented Five square meters in which he recreated a case of real estate corruption on the Valencian coast.
‘Crematorio’, of reference
Precisely, in a coastal town of Alicante the action of a founding and referential series takes place in Spanish television, Crematorium, premiered on Canal + in 2011. It is considered as the most acute and profound radiography of the mechanisms of personal perversion that converge in urban and political corruption. This series, precursor of the current quality productions, is based on a novel published in 2007 by the Valencian writer Rafael Chirbes.
“The novel captured very well the state of things, the materialism that prevailed before the crisis. You could see that clouds were coming. And Chirbes does it through a family, a society of corrupt and corrupt, the relationship between construction entrepreneurs, banks, politicians, and when corruption was not on everyone’s lips. When we started to roll it [en 2010], we thought that for its premiere we would be old because of what was being known ”.
“Now,” adds the producer of While the war lasts, Alejandro Amenábar, “as a Valencian, the stigma of corruption bothers me when it has been a phenomenon throughout the State. It is true that there have been many cases and a new rich mentality, but also in other places, even more, and perhaps the media have not reflected so much. ”
The director of the Agency for Prevention and Fight against Fraud and Corruption of the Valencian Community, Joan Llinares, shares this opinion: “As Paul Preston notes in his latest book[[A betrayed town]Corruption is systemic in Spain and runs throughout the state. “There is more to see the cases of Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia or the Basque Country, which seems to be there,” he adds. However, there are objective reasons, such as the many open cases that are judged or investigated or the charges in different proceedings of three Valencian ex-presidents, Eduardo Zaplana, José Luis Olivas and Francisco Camps, all of them from the PP, party that ruled between 1995 and 2015 Llinares adds one more explanation to the greater projection of indigenous corruption: the “spermic or sainete” character of some protagonists and some situations.
The conversations between El Mustaches, the winner of the Gürtel in Valencia, and Francisco Camps; the extra charge who repented dressed as hippy for being “a junkie of money”; the Minister of Cooperation Rafael Blasco, jailed for keeping money from aid; the alleged bites from the visit of Pope Benedict XVI and the celebration of the Formula 1 Grand Prix are some examples. The accumulation of cases made it a topic to mention the penultimate film by Luis García Berlanga, All to jail, of 1993, as a visionary, although it alluded to another context.
Llinares was in charge of recovering the money from the plunder of the Palau de la Música in Barcelona and, as IVAM manager, denounced the practices of former director Consuelo Ciscar, wife of Blasco, prosecuted for the purchase of works allegedly fraudulent and investigated for helping with The museum means to launch the artistic career of his young son, Rablaci. The office of Llinares has co-produced a short version of the documentary Corruption: the harmful organism, Teresa Soler and Albert Sanfeliu, to project it to officials and university students.
Almost a sainete
This documentary was presented at the Valencian Film Library, under the deputy director of Audiovisual and Cinematography, José Luis Moreno. “The cinema reflects reality and here there have been very striking cases, almost taken from a sainete, but it has also focused more on the Valencian Community than on other sites,” says Moreno, who highlights Crematorium as the best x-ray of corruption. His department granted aid to this series and to The burial.
No movie is faithfully based on the facts or real characters. Neither The silence of the swamp. The writer of the novel published in 2015 and now adapted to the cinema, Juanjo Braulio, met as a journalist several cases, but has not tried to make an analysis of corruption. “In any case, it is a novel about power, set in the Albufera and in my neighborhood, El Cabanyal. The corrupt, the government delegate and the former counselor, could be one or the other. I wanted to pay tribute to the Valencian novels of Blasco Ibáñez The hut Y Reeds and mud, in which the young men are going to hunt the Albufera but their riches sink their roots in the mud, ”he says.