Barcelona Film School, colour against black and white

Mirito Torreiro, Serena Vergano, Daría Esteva and Esteve Riambau

10/22/2017.- The 62nd edition of the Valladolid International Film Festival pays tribute to the cosmopolitan, experimental, and innovative cinematic movement that emerged in Catalonia in the 1960s. This year the movement celebrates its 50th anniversary, which the festival is recognizing by dedicating it a cycle. Within this cycle its 15 most representative titles will be screened.

“While in Madrid they were making dark realism, in Barcelona they made light.” This idea was presented by the director of Seminci, Javier Angulo, at the roundtable discussion that took place on the afternoon of Sunday, October 22nd. Top representatives of the Barcelona Film School cycle came to this discussion to talk about this era of cinema, including the director of the Catalonia Film Library Esteve Riambau; actress Serena Vergano; film producer Daría Esteva; and writer and journalist Mirito Torreiro.

This new style of cinema, made in the Spain of the 1960s, was locked away in newspaper archives, and almost completely forgotten about until Riambau and Torreiro began to investigate it in order to publish a book on this movement that is so relevant to cinematographic history. Titled La Escuela de Barcelona: El cine de la gauche divine [The Barcelona Film School: Cinema of the ‘gauche divine’ or the divine left], Riambau and Torreiro’s book’s second edition has been modified and expanded for the 50th anniversary of the movement. “The era in which this new style of cinema was made was quite complicated; in the times of Francoism there were no jokes,” explained one of the book’s authors, Esteve Riambau.

“The Barcelona Film School was a moment of casual convergence of people who wanted to make cinema that could not be done at that time, but they did it anyways,” summarizes writer Mirito Torreiro. Although there were some signs of it before and after, the movement experienced its peak of splendor between the years 1966 and 1969. “To see these films is to see an unrepeatable Barcelona, ​​the Barcelona of the 1960s, from another point of view, from where they looked at it at that time,” said writer Torreiro.

This is a perspective that Italian actress Serena Vergano can explain very well, given that she was the muse of the Barcelona Film School. “I experienced it as a very open thing, and for me it was an enriching experience,” said Vergano. Although, she says they had very little time and very few funds to allow for filming. The actress performed in such recognizable Barcelona Film School titles such as Cada vez que… [Each Time That…], Una historia de amor [A Love Story], and Dante no es únicamente severo [Dante Isn’t Only Strict]; the latter of which was co-directed by Jacinto Esteva, a filmmaker at the Barcelona Film School who left a great cinematographic legacy.

This legacy is an inheritance that Esteva’s daughter, Daría Esteva, has recovered years later. “Growing up is learning to live with what you have experienced, and reviving Jacinto’s films has been very useful for me. Since then I have understood many things I did not understand before, and I realized that my father was like a landscape with a very complex hydrography,” said producer Esteva.

Director Jacinto Esteva, along with many other filmmakers and actors, such as Jordi Grau, Vicente Aranda, Joaquim Jordà, Francisco Rabal, and María Cuadra, who were immersed in this movement of the 1960s, “not only did great things, but had a great time,” assured the director of the Catalonia Film Library, Esteve Riambau, after researching it for years. Together with many other professionals from the world of the seventh art, they achieved with the Barcelona Film School, and with its breakthrough movement, to bring a bit of light and color to the black and white world in which Spain was situated at the time.


Posted in 62nd Seminci.