Gil Parrondo He never drove. And almost never went on vacation. However, he knew Spain by heart. Thanks to the drivers who took him and his work: the cinematographic artistic direction, a work and a passion to which he dedicated more than seven decades of his life, and for which he won all the possible prizes, including two Oscars, for Patton Y Nicolás and Alejandra, he was a candidate for a third party with Travel with my aunt, and four goyas, all with films directed by José Luis Garci. Gil Parrondo worked in more than 220 films (started in 1939), in the main international shoots that were made in Spain as Spartacus, Mister Arkadin, Lawrence of Arabia, Children of Brazil, Robin and Marian, The Return of the Musketeers, Pride and Passion or Doctor Zhivago, and continued to draw and design until months before his death, on December 24, 2016 in Madrid, at 95 years old. In his office the sketches for a film about Antonio Machado and for Guernica, the frustrated project about Picasso by Carlos Saura and Antonio Banderas.
All that and much more can be seen from today in the exhibition The magic of the ephemeral. Gil Parrondo, 75 years of artistic direction, which will be open until April 21 in the desacralized Church of La Laboral, in Gijón. The exhibition, organized by the Government of the Principality of Asturias with various partners such as the Film Academy, could travel through other cities in Spain such as Madrid. But its beginning in Asturias has all the sense, because Parrondo was born in Luarca in 1921, and exercised as an Asturian. In the immense room the panels with more than a hundred drawings, photographs, manuscripts, travel notebooks, photograms and memories take the form of a star: in some of the tips several videos show their creation process. In the center, his two Oscars, a Goya, his glasses and some memories of his private life, such as his passion for drawing nuns on napkins and a landscape of the garden of the house of his daughter Ima, with the motto "Gin Tonic Time" , an almost sacred hour in the daily life of Parrondo. EL PAÍS has visited the exhibition on a trip paid for by the organization.
At the entrance, the office in Madrid of Gil Parrondo, a cave of Ali Baba for film lovers since the artistic director kept all his material and never threw anything, has been reproduced with an immense portrait made by Gorka Lejarcegi and the table brought from his house, with the flexo and the papers that were there the day of his death included. The show starts with his childhood in Luarca and his training in Madrid until his last job, Cold skin, of Xavier Gens, going through his close collaboration with the director José Luis Garci. The exhibition was curated by Óscar Sempere and was a project developed by Sampere and Parrondo with the purpose of vindicating the value of the work of the art direction. It was never carried out because, yesterday his daughter, Ima Parrondo, told the inauguration with authorities, family and friends, his father was delaying the project "for modesty and humility".
Of the thematic areas in which the work of Gil Parrondo has been divided, the most fascinating focuses on his work for the Hollywood blockbusters in Spain. There appears the work contract for Doctor Zhivago, which stipulated that his name would not appear in the titles of credit, which is why he is not recognized as his third Oscar. Other photographs show the Aqaba of Lawrence of Arabia recreated in the beach of the Algarrobico in Almeria, in which the tower of the Church was disguised as a minaret, or the constructions of the immense decorations of The fall of the Roman Empire or of 55 days in Beijing. In addition, you can see the reconstruction of Moscow Doctor Zhivago in the Madrid road of Canillas or Parrondo himself lying down as if he were Gulliver to measure its size with respect to the Lilliputians.
Among the guests, the film director Jaime Chávarri remembered his two works with the artistic director: in Bearn or the doll room and in Bicycles are for summer: "For Bearn he made the doll room on a set and for months he searched for the perfect fireplace, until he reproduced one that he discovered with skeletons as ornaments. Gil did not care if his work was too much or too little on screen, what he was worried about was that it was well done. "His collaborators and directors with whom he worked remember his legendary ability to create whole worlds and his exhaustive knowledge with few elements. from Spain, which allowed him to know where the perfect locations for any shooting were, drawing magician, in one of the videos of the exhibition, however, relativizes the value of the sketches and their gouaches: "They only have to serve so that the director see what he wants and for the production team to begin his work. "Gil Parrondo: frugality, humility, talent and a lot of work.