Laura Hojman makes a documentary about the playwright, writer and pioneer of feminism, who wrote more than a hundred plays in the 1920s and was unable to sign any with her name
The Sevillian director Laura Hojman has begun filming in Madrid of ‘María Lejárraga, the author in the shadow’, a documentary about the history of the famous playwright, writer and pioneer of feminism in Spain who, during the 1920s, wrote more than 100 works and
She could not sign any with her name, having to do so with that of her husband, the theatrical businessman Gregorio Martínez Sierra.
Numerous studies have been formulated on the history of María Lejárraga (1874-1974) and much has been written in recent years. Rosa Montero dedicated a chapter to him in her ‘Historia de mujeres’, which tells how María wrote the works that she signed on behalf of her husband, and Martínez Sierra, a guy with extraordinary business ability, premiered them in the theater company she founded , success after success. But
the problem came when Martínez Sierra fell in love and made her lover Catalina Bárcena, a young 22-year-old actress. In 2018 the play ‘Firmado Lejárraga’, by Vanessa Montfort, was premiered, highlighting one of the most unknown cases of how, until relatively recently, women were ignored and had to write with pseudonyms or, as in this case, with her husband’s name.
Now Laura Hojman,
after the success of his previous film, ‘Antonio Machado. The blue days’, He returns to bet on another documentary for a look at the past that allows us to better understand our present. On this occasion, through one of the most fascinating women in Spanish literature who, paradoxically, remains a great unknown to the general public. “María Lejárraga was one of the most important authors of the 20th century,” says Hojman.
«The most prolific Spanish playwright of all time, author of works such as ‘Canción de cuna’, made into a movie five times, or the libretto of ‘El amor brujo’, She worked hand in hand with Falla and Turena, founded the magazine Helios with Juan Ramón Jiménez and wrote all the works signed by her husband, the renowned theater businessman Gregorio Martínez Sierra, which received the applause and praise. She was a teacher, translator, essayist, novelist, playwright, introducer of feminist theories in Spain, promoter and founder of institutions such as El Lyceum Club or La Asociación Femenina para la Educación Cívica. Promoter of women’s suffrage in Spain, she became a deputy for the Second Republic and founded the National Committee of Women against War and Fascism, which was chaired by Dolores Ibárruri ».
Laura Hojman, in the center, and the team of ‘María Lejárraga, the author in the shade’.
In the director’s opinion,
If he had been a man, his name would be in all the textbooks. However, the story of Maria is that of so many forgotten and silenced women. This documentary wants to be a work of historical repair and, through her figure, to remember and vindicate the very important work of a generation of brilliant women who opened a path that was buried by war and dictatorship, but which planted a seed for all subsequent generations. This work wants to give back the voice, name and surname of one of the women who did the most for culture, equality, education and democracy in this country.
In the film, Hojman interviews prominent specialists in the life and work of María Lejárraga, as well as personalities from different fields who reflect on issues such as the roots of feminism in our country, the importance of education and culture as catalysts to achieve equality, or
the hopes of development that were frustrated and postponed with the outbreak of the Civil War and the coming to power of the Franco regime.
‘María Lejárraga, the author in the shadow’ is a Summer Films production, in co-production with RTVE, with the participation of Canal Sur Radio and Television, and the support of the Andalusian Agency of Cultural Institutions of the Junta de Andalucía and of the SGAE Foundation. Filming will continue until the end of July and will premiere in 2022.