Eleven years ago Enrique Urbizu (Bilbao, 1962) underwent a triple bypass. «I have the potato well, what was clogged were the arteries. They are called microinfartitos. I was going to buy the newspaper and had to stop twice. Crap life, he swears, had nothing to do with it. “Drugs and staying up late were far behind, in the 90s. Sedentary lifestyle, smoking, carelessness, stress … They were years without shooting, emotional breakdowns … We are old. I now take care of the plants in the morning and have changed the tobacco for things without nicotine. Can you say that from time to time I do a chini? ».
The new Urbizu faced in 2011 the filming of ‘There will be no peace for the wicked’ “made a Sandokan”, but the six Goyas did not help him to have continuity in the cinema. “I think I’ve signed the best works since then,” he reflects. After ‘Gigantes’ he returns with another series for Movistar, which is also a film and opens the same day in theaters: March 26. With ‘Libertad’, Urbizu fulfills his dream of filming his own ‘Curro Jiménez’, a story of bandits in 19th century Spain. Heads cut off in oil jars, corrupt governors, knife duels and a woman, La Llanera, who wants to leave behind the violence embodied by a ravishing Bebe on her return to the movies after fourteen years.
–’Curro Jiménez ‘associates him with his Andalusian maternal grandmother, Raimunda.
-He took care of me when I was little. She was an Andalusian woman by birth, illiterate by decision of her context and from a previous century. Since I was little, I have been aware of that past and of Andalusian culture. It greatly qualified my condition from Bilbao. We were very fortunate, because my mother and her many brothers, the Jáuregui, had emotional and cultural ties with Andalusia. For example, the love of the world of bullfighting.
–I always dream of shooting one of bandits outdoors.
-Lifelong. Carlos Giménez’s comic, Vajda’s film (‘Carne de gallo’, 1953)… All the imaginary of adventure cinema is there. Robin Hood was a bandit, Dick Turpin, Guillermo Tell … The vigilante Andalusian bandit was very anchored from ‘Crying for a bandit’ and ‘Curro Jiménez’, but we did not want to show romantic or righteous people.
– Are these bandits born political conscience?
-Do not. El Aceituno has no social conscience. The Lizard is not a bandit, but a landowner who wants to be remembered, wants a shield on a facade. La Llanera wants to flee the violence. The only one with two fingers of a forehead when it comes to understanding the country and the future is the Governor. He is clear about what is happening and what has to happen. Chaos and destiny.
-There is no romanticism.
-Not in the sense of evocation of other times and other ways of life. In the treatment of the landscape, there can be some romanticism, influenced by the romantic landscapers. But they are very private things, nobody sees them.
– The bandits are our western?
–Bandaleros, explorers, kings, vassals … Well, we don’t have a history. The muscle is lacking, there is no tradition, distrust … They are expensive films. Much less has been done than we should have for the past we have. If you see a guy on horseback with a hat, you immediately think of the western. But it is not the fault of that guy from Zaragoza who rides in 1714. There was no western when they were going through the mountains. There is an aesthetic charge in the western as we know it that is Spanish heritage. It owes much to the Spanish presence on the southern border of the United States. From the name of the cities and the churches, the saddle … The Indians spoke Spanish when the English arrived. In ‘Libertad’ we are 70 years before the American Civil War and many years before the colt was invented. And I am in my country with my characters, I am not imitating a Texan.
– Does ‘Liberty’ speak of current Spain?
–It is inevitable to think about her watching the series and the movie. There are themes that are still valid. How would this country have changed if it had a phenomenon similar to the French Revolution? And all the stumbling blocks that mark the history of the XIX century: the failed constitutions, the war with Napoleon, the harmful reign of the useless Ferdinand VII. We are a country that has not managed to achieve stability behind closed doors and two hundred years later we are still slapping our heads.
– Why a series and a movie?
–The movie called out for it. We saw the series on the big screen and the first people convinced that we had to give it the opportunity to enjoy it in theaters were the people from Movistar. I locked myself in with the editor and we saw right away that the series contained a central kernel that was a solid and coherent length. A film that asked to be subtly different in many aspects of the series: rundown, rhythm, soundtrack … Let’s see what happens, it’s a commercial experiment in these times.
-It is your first movie in theaters since ‘There will be no peace for the wicked’, a decade ago.
–The projects we presented were judged as very risky. We were about to do a picaresque comedy, but we did not reach an agreement with the network regarding the casting.
–’2014 sons of bitches’ was titled.
– You just have to change the year, ha ha. With each passing year there are more.
– He has taught at the university for many years. Meet these new generations trained on the internet and those of us who assume a great audiovisual culture.
– We have been destroying education for forty years. Never has a fucking attention been paid to audiovisual culture in any educational section. Compare it to France. The kids only consume audiovisuals, but they think that things are like that, that there is no intention in language, that there is no meaning or staging. And then culture. You say ‘Berlanga’ and there is silence. ‘Buñuel’ and they look at each other. I do not expect more results given what has been sown. Eight educational plans in forty years. If it had to be the other way around: an educational plan for eight generations.
– What a paradox, they do not know a history of the cinema that they have just a click away.
– An old friend expresses it very well: greater access, less knowledge. The infinite fridge syndrome: it’s all there but you’re not hungry. We premiered one and we were running.
– He tried to take to the cinema ‘Those skies’ and ‘A man alone’. Will you address the Basque issue again?
–If I get a good story… A priori I have no intention, but you never know. Much remains to be told there. I come from the XIX, a comfortable place, with mountains and without telephones or screens.
–We are experiencing a boom in movies and series about what happened in the Basque Country.
– That is why it is not a good time to insist.
“Far fewer films have been made than we should have for the past we have”
«You say ‘Berlanga’ to the students and there is silence. ‘Buñuel’ and they look at each other. I do not expect more results given what has been sown »
–The cinemas have a hard time and we are all turned on the platforms. Are you nostalgic for cinephilia as we knew it?
-The cinephilia has been something useless. It alludes to the emotional likes and dislikes for a gender, or a star. You know the data, who directed that movie and in that year. I believe that the debate has to be elsewhere, not in taste. You have to have criteria, culture, which is not the same as taste. Understand complex texts and not that you like to wear a John Wayne or Brad Pitt sticker. The cinephilia is a romantic vision that serves to sell, but the cinema does not live there.
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