1 December 2003 | khatcher-2
A filler for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoons
Such is the mentality of those who cannot let bygones be bygones, those who thrive hankering on past life, delving into the depths of despair to rake up that which symbolised, if nothing else, younger years, conveniently flagging out of their collective memories anything which might remotely not appeal to any wanderings down the murky lanes of vague memories, that the souls that be can effortlessly propel on to our nutty little screen the vagaries and vanities of preterite times, almost like digging up dinosaurs or pulling last year's Christmas crackers. So to fill up a couple of empty worthless hours early on Saturday evening - or late on Saturday afternoon, depending on whereabouts you live, - R.T.V.E. is proud to announce, and has been doing so for some years already, `Cine de Barrio', which, when you have all dried your eyes and assumed quieter physiognomies, is a wistful wander back into the years of yore, which means too many years ago, in order to show us just about every film they can rake up from filmotecs, studio libraries, private collections, or possibly even some trash-can in somebody's back yard for all I know, no doubt in some kind of masochistic intent to keep us all up to date on what is, evidently, out of date.
Whether one is or not an avid follower of Spanish film-making, which, anyway, is of no more importance than whether one is or not an avid duck-shooter in November, it should be noted that anything made for the screen before 1975 has very little to do with anything made after 1975, and it would seem that this programme bears such philosophy in mind, but for notorious reasons, whereas the shrewder observer will bear in mind the same philosophy but for far more intellectually acceptable reasons. I say this basing myself on the obvious reality that any kind of totalitarianistic form of government, whether it be communist, fascist or anywhere in between, kills artistic expression before it is born, or, at any rate, cuts it to shreds with the censor's blue scissors or blue felt pen.
Those organising this soirée through darkly-designated finger-wagging from those above in high quarters take on the treacherous task of doing everything possible so as to find and throw upon our innocent screens the lurking treasures of the 50's and 60's of the last century. The fact that none of the films in question featured on this programme have negligible coefficients working in their favour, escaped the grey cells of those responsible for this programme ever getting on the screen in the first place, and would never enter into the head of the pathetic little man responsible for presenting it in the second place either. The only films pre-1975 that might be considered `made in Spain' and of any true cinematographic worth would never make it onto this programme anyway, thank goodness (for example `Viridiana' qv), as basically the intellectual content of what they do put on would barely keep occupied the mind of an eighty-year-old great-grandmother knitting socks for her long-dead husband.
However, I should say that many of these films include rather good songs sung by rather good singers - especially feminine - running the whole range of what is generally classified as `canción española' and thus includes some of the best `tonadilleras' and `copletistas', as well as the earthy `jotas', `sevillanas', `rumbos', `seguidillas', etc. The films shown in this programme include such wonderful singers as Imperio Argentina, Marifé de Triana, Estrellita Castro, Concha Piquer, Antonio Molina, Lola Flores, Manolo Caracol, and a long list to continue, tradition which is continued today especially by Rocío Jurado and Isabel Pantoja. The fact that these illustrious singers were pretty lousy actors is not important in the least, the same as the films in themselves were not at all important, as they never transgressed the line of trivial or frivolous romanticisms and other forms of evadism, so beloved of the powers-that-were throughout those three and a half decades.
Since then, Spanish film-making has taken off and become decent in many cases, even brilliant in a few. Even the actors of those forbidden years who did nothing to earn their salaries, later, without censors breathing down their necks, have produced the best of their lives in latter years - Fernando Fernán Gómez, Francisco `Paco' Rabal, Alfredo Landa, to name but a few, who would be the first to agree with me. FOOTNOTE: The films shown in the programme are generally useful for people learning the Spanish language.