“Thank you for being there, for your friendship and your company. You are the best that life has given me,” can be heard on the lead single from the latest Jarabe de Palo album. Despite its happy rhythms, it denoted a certain air of farewell, and we could see why shortly after launch: Pau Donés passed away last June at the age of 53 after suffering a relapse of the cancer he suffered.
The singer who taught us to give stick syrup to life’s problems with themes like The skinny girl, Beautiful or The dark side He said goodbye to us, but first he wanted to leave a message. Two weeks before his death, Donés decided to call Jordi Évole to invite him to his home in the Arán Valley (in Lérida), where he had decided to spend the last days of his life in the company of his close friends and the imposing beauty of the Pyrenees .
The result is That you give me, a documentary that for practical purposes is the intimate conversation between two friends about to say goodbye forever. The feature film previously went through the Malaga Film Festival, earning good critical acclaim, and now reaches the big screen, allocating part of its proceeds to research in the fight against cancer.
The first bars of the tape are probably the hardest. It begins with a shot from a car ascending a road to the Aran Valley, almost as tortuous and uncomfortable as the conversation that Évole has with the oncologist of her next interviewee. What he will look like, the humor he will be in, what questions are appropriate … The journalist’s initial nerves reach the seats of the spectators, who still do not put a face on Donés’s face. And when shock appears it is inevitable.
That person we remember full of energy on stage now appears extremely thin, plugged into a probe and with a timid thread of voice from which the words can barely be distinguished. But that is precisely Donés’s intention: that instead of looking the other way, we normalize the image of someone sick. And it succeeds. As the minutes go by, the feeling of tension disappears and thus achieves what he has been pursuing throughout his treatment: destigmatizing the cancer.
“Sardà and Donés serve to talk about cancer in a different way. Facing it, making it visible and talking about the disease without euphemisms. And both showing their faces until practically the last moment. They are great examples of how the way of understanding and talk about the disease, “said the journalist in an interview published by elDiario.es.
a singing to life
“You know that when this documentary comes out you’ll already be dead, right?” Évole says to the singer, to which he responds by looking at the camera and making a gesture to scare the audience. The documentary does not avoid talking about sensitive issues about Pau, such as what his mother’s suicide meant or what opinion he has of himself as a father figure after having been for a while without knowing about his daughter. It could have lent itself to the easy tear, to indulge in the misnamed “fight” against cancer (because it implies that those who lose that “battle” and have not won have been less strong). And it deals with the subject of death, yes, but above all it affects why life is worth living.
The conversation with Donés celebrates life by appreciating the daily routine. Get up in the morning, buy cheese from the neighbor across the street and go for a walk in the bush before eating with the family. And he does not approach it from the escapism of death, but from the acceptance that this is part of our condition as living beings.
The leader of Jarabe de Palo had the idea of continuing to tour around the world to present his latest album. “The serene way that Pau had to leave, that tranquility that he offered us in that interview that he asked us to do and, above all, the song to life that he does in that interview: it is an example of life that makes us very excited take them to movie theaters so that viewers can find it useful, “Évole told this newspaper.
In fact, at one point during the interview, the journalist asked him to put on camera advice for someone who has also been diagnosed with cancer and is going through a situation like his: “Don’t worry, take care,” recommends Donés.
An example of this is the last section of the feature film. The end of the interview was filmed in a meadow in the Aran Valley, where the singer arrived driving a 4×4 with his own hands while still connected to the dripper. Once there, the timid thread of voice disappeared for a few moments and Donés, as his song says, said goodbye thanking everyone.