Rodrigo Cortés, Paula Ortiz, Paco Plaza and Rodrigo Sorogoyen premiere their ‘Stories to not sleep’ on November 5 on Amazon
It marked a whole generation of viewers. ‘Stories to not sleep’, by the great Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, was the ‘Alfred Hitchcock presents …’ on our television. With those low-budget plots, often inspired by short stories by masters of science fiction and horror, Chicho scared and amused the millions of unwary who were seduced by the then small screen. The anthological series now returns from the hand of his son, Alejandro, as producer and with four outstanding directors behind the cameras: Rodrigo Cortés, Paula Ortiz, Paco Plaza and Rodrigo Sorogoyen.
The fiction will arrive on Amazon Prime Video on November 5 and, in the future, it will be able to be seen openly on TVE. There are no new arguments. Each filmmaker has chosen one of the stories that the Uruguayan-born director has already directed and has remade it to their liking. “What interested us is that each one had permission to make a radical and rabidly personal story,” says Rodrigo Cortés, responsible for ‘La broma’, “and that, unlike Chicho, we were going to have the means and the necessary resources to develop them in our own way.
His episode, an entertaining suspense story about a love triangle, follows in the footsteps of a wealthy prankster (Eduard Fernández), his wife (Nathalie Poza) and his right hand man (Raúl Arevalo). Exquisitely shot and performed, it loses steam towards the end, with a less ingenious resolution than Chicho’s own.
The truth is that for these filmmakers Chicho was always “the one of ‘One, two, three …’ and not so much the ‘Stories to not sleep’ that we saw through the slits, furtively”. Rediscovered his work, Cortés assures that the one that has marked him the most “is the cinematographic one, because the ‘Stories’ were made with the means that he could, many times in a couple of days of filming, with recycled sets and with actors capable of sustaining twenty minutes of dialogue, while in his films he shows a fully trained and gifted filmmaker. ‘ In his opinion, ‘The residence’ “is a magnificent film in terms of angulation, use of light, atmosphere, interpretation and montage.” And ‘Who can kill a child?’ “It is a quantum leap in modernity.”
Coincides with Cortés, Paula Ortiz, the director of the feature film ‘La novia’. «It is true that we do not belong to that generation, but if you don’t like genre cinema, you end up falling for it. He only made two films and look at the depth he had. Chicho had that pioneer paste, the courage to open new paths in the cinema and on a gray and artisanal television », he affirms.
Ortiz has signed one of the most mythologized episodes of fiction: ‘El asfalto’. In this case, the victim of such a fearsome trap is a rider (Dani Rovira) who is making his last delivery before going to the gynecologist with his wife (Inma Cuesta). The most surprising thing is that despite the allegorical approach, the episode, written between Manuel Jabois and Rodrigo Cortés, works like a charm.
“Bring it back to life”
More surprising is the decision that Paco Plaza has made when carrying out ‘Freddy’, one of the stories that Chicho addressed in the eighties, when RTVE gave the green light to a new batch of episodes of ‘Stories to not sleep’, this time recorded on video –there is the odd joke about it in the Plaza piece–. The filmmaker has not made a usual remake but has written a story that takes place in the eighties, in a universe in which Chicho is a fictional character (Carlos Santos), who gives a failed ventriloquist (Miki Esparbé) a doll to try to change your luck. “For me it was especially exciting because it meant bringing him back to life,” says the director. Santos is spectacular, without falling into caricature, and the chapter is round.
There has not been, Plaza says, greater pressure to adapt these stories of the teacher. «More than respect, you live it with enthusiasm because it is like being able to wallow in the legacy of someone you admire. It’s very nice because it’s almost like rewriting something that you found interesting, instead of starting from scratch, ”he says.
It is worth asking them if a kind of pique or healthy competition arises in these projects. “Sana no,” replies Plaza laughing. “We are friends,” answers Paula. “The truth is that we are a somewhat strange generation of filmmakers because I think we have always helped each other,” says Cortés. “And we have always had the feeling that there is an omelette for everyone and that the success of some does not lead to the failure of others, at all, but synergies and from the first moment we have formed a group to talk to each other and feel protected”, he concludes Cuts.