‘Disillusioned and beloved, Kurt Vonnegut finally became a man without a country and an American institution. When his books are filmed, the cultural stakes are high. Not many socialist films come out of the Hollywood Hills, and this socialist distrusted this profligate medium. Ideas are often the protagonists of his stories, and ideas are hard to film. Vonnegut’s fatalism gives away endings in his introductions, while cinema keeps the audience in the dark as if there were something they could do about the plot. Conflict, which we are told is the essence of drama, doesn’t especially interest Vonnegut, and conventional heroes and villains, even anti-heroes, are often AWOL from his stories…’
Gary McMahon on Vonnegut in Hollywood.
THE BARCELONA SCHOOL AND THE NEW SPANISH CINEMA
‘A partial liberalization of film politics at the beginning of the 1960s helped to open the door for the Nuevo cine español, and brought together film-makers influenced, among other things, by the French New Wave. The new generation began to develop a common identity and purpose, expressed emblematically in Louis Garcia Berlanga’s masterpiece of dark humour, El Verdugo/The Executioner, released in 1963.’
Christiane Passevant introduces three interviews with key precursors of the post-Franco new wave of Spanish cinema.
Origins of the New Spanish Cinema: An Interview with Basilio Martin Patino
‘The first film I made underground was Dearest Executioners. It is a study of barbarity, of the power and authority to kill. They have power because they kill and they kill because force is on their side. It was with difficulty that I looked for executioners, but I finally found some in Badajoz, a very poor region. The film was a very strange adventure. I imagined a convention of executioners and I brought them by car to be filmed. I brought Portuguese technicians because it was too dangerous for Spanish colleagues. We had to shoot quickly in order to avoid detection by the police.’
The Recovered Memory of the Spanish Civil War and Revolution: An Interview with Jaime Camino
‘…after forty years of dictatorship a kind of democracy has come about. It is liberal and capitalist, and people prefer this to what existed before. However, I think the present crisis is going to change things. The working class is destroyed, but the desire for liberty and fraternity is still the same, without the consciousness that existed in 1936.’
Beyond the Barcelona School: An Interview with Vicente Aranda
‘I am a moralist. I have often spoken of it, but you will understand immediately. I was born into an anarchistic environment. The morality of anarchists is much more rigorous than that of Christians. In fact they both stem from the same origin, Jewish morality, and I did not escape from that. I still think a table is round or square. That’s the way it is. I see the distinction between good and evil and that between good intentions and bad intentions quite well. This is what I think being moral means.’