Paco Cabezas directs the adaptation of the literary phenomenon ‘los Carmen Mola’ for Atresplayer Premium, which premieres the series on its platform this Sunday | The first two chapters are as overwhelming as they are exciting thanks to an exercise in style that recalls both David Fincher and Joon Bong Ho.
The rain falls torrentially on an empty swimming pool. Despite the darkness of the night, the white dress stained with blood stands out among the black that floods the scene. The corpse of a woman lies on the ground, and from that moment a stark story begins with loss as the central theme of the story.
This first sequence of ‘The Gypsy Bride’ (Atresmedia) may remind us of the Fincher from Zodiac, but in reality it has more to do with Joon Bong Ho’s ‘Chronicles of a Serial Killer’. Without spaces for the tear or for the filling. Using the clichés of the genre as little as possible, in a well thought out reinvention to present something new. It’s the way Paco Cabezas (‘Carne de neon’, ‘Adiós’) directs, a man who has no problem being as violent as the story requires, and at the same time as dark as part of that reality that sometimes exceeds fiction.
This Sunday the Atresplayer Premium platform premieres the first season of what very recently was the literary phenomenon represented by Carmen Mola, the woman who was actually three men. The cases of Inspector Elena Blanco and her Case Analysis Brigade (BAC) have reached thousands of homes in the pages of a book, but Paco Cabezas’ review promises to be (at least in its first two chapters) a turn to the production of Spanish ‘thrillers’.
“The series allow you more time to develop the characters. Many things happen in each episode, it’s very intense », explains the director, who is especially proud of his work. “It is a very choral series, and yet there has been room to explore the characters. It is very difficult for me to think of writing a film of only one hundred pages after having made eight hundred”, he admits.
This work comes after having signed ‘Goodbye’, one of the best films of 2019, unfairly ignored at the awards despite being an exercise in style practically unpublished in Spain.
«On an aesthetic level and in terms of directing and filming, this is a first cousin of ‘Adiós’. It’s a full sequel. I feel that with ‘Adiós’ I found my style as a director without having to copy anyone,” explains Cabezas, who repeats several times that they have given him “all the freedom” to shoot, and that no one has criticized him for having been violent and dark . «You see what interests me, like a funeral and a gypsy cult. I am interested in human miseries, the cracks in the characters. That is why the protagonists of ‘The Gypsy Bride’ do not wear makeup », he advances. “Just like the women in ‘Mare of Eastown’ (HBO Max).
family and loss
The crime is what is seen at first sight in ‘The Gypsy Bride’, but you don’t need to have read the novel to discover in just two chapters that there is something much greater behind it. With this series, Paco Cabezas returns to his themes, those that have always been there, like family. In this case there are two, the gypsy family that loses a daughter, and the police squad, who are also a family. “But if Vicente Romero is among them, you can imagine that it will be an unusual family,” jokes the director. And it is that beyond that, the series is about how to deal with loss from the ‘thriller’ and from an intricate and complex story. «There is the pain of loss, which obsesses me. That was what ‘Goodbye’ was about, how you can survive the death of a daughter».
Paco Cabezas, in San Sebastian. /
Paco Cabezas’ relationship with this novel is unique, like the one the whole world had before its authors met. «I was in Los Angeles shooting an American series and they were offering me several projects, but they all seemed artificial to me. And suddenly this novel arrives and I see that the gypsy world, the street world of Madrid, has a connection with the films I grew up with like ‘Seven’ and ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. And I thought: here is something that I can take.
The director, who has already shot several productions in Hollywood, admits that he read the novel thinking that it was a female author. «When I said I was interested they introduced me to the authors and I gave it a natural feel. They have been very generous and have given me space to do and undo », he recounts. What’s more, he assures that whoever has read the novel will get more than one surprise, that the plot is maintained but adding twists “in every corner.” “This series is much more ambitious than many of the things I’ve done before,” he says without wanting to advance anything that will come. There will be pain and family, as always. But also the passion that permeates her characters, such as María Santos in ‘Adiós’ who offered her life to leave breathless those who heard the cry of a mother about to die to save the life of her son .
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