‘Lazos’ and ‘NEVERMORE’, in the hot start of the cultural season

The Book Fair ends, an experience that has been generally satisfactory, bookstores are flooded with Spanish novelties –Aramburu, Perez Reverte, Navarro, Gopegui, Trueba, Munoz Molina, Vilas… – and Madrid is entering a formidable cultural boiling point. The return to full capacity in theaters, cinemas and other venues will mean a rise in public participation and in the vibration of the environment. Exhibitions such as those dedicated to René Magritte (Thyssen), Bartolomé Murillo (Prado), Chema Madoz (CBA) the Giorgio Morandi (Mapfre, from 24) mark a very high level in the plastic arts.

NEVERMORE has opened the season of María Guerrero (CDN) and they join the stages, in addition to Golfus of Rome (La Latina) and Truffle (Queen Victoria), The journey to nowhere (Fernán Gómez) and Antony and Cleopatra (Comedy), while the opera resumed this Thursday the activity of the Royal Theater with Cinderella.

Filmoteca Española dedicates a complete retrospective to Alex de la Iglesia, some of the best films of the year, coming or not from the last summer festivals, are already lined up for their premiere, and Annette (Leos Carax) continues to cause a more than justified astonishment – it enthused me – at the same time that two very different films of first class have arrived at the screens, Dune (Denis Villeneuve) and Ties (Daniele Luchetti). And, with rave reviews, Maixabel (Icíar Bollaín), which I have pending.

In short, they are just some samples of an effervescence very different from the anemic tone that these same dates had in the back to school last year, which, because of the pandemic, was not back to school nor was it anything. In Madrid there are outbreaks of bad vibes for the known reasons, but Madrid is more than ever one of the great cultural capitals of Europe, and the cultural activity and its effluvia in the streets purify, cheer and vitamin the air and life. We can’t cope.

The consequences of deception

Daniele Luchetti is an upper-middle-range director who, if he rarely leaves us speechless, almost never disappoints. I have followed him since his debut with Tomorrow will happen (1988) and I have enjoyed several of his films, My brother is an only child (2007), for example. He has a sense of humor, he gets serious if necessary when he approaches social issues, his films are well written and he has a great hand for actors. Luchetti is also an actor and a great friend of the incomparable Nanni MorettiHe has worked on several of his films and vice versa. He gangs up, let’s say, with other good Italian filmmakers and writers.

Alba Rohrwacher in 'Lazos'.

Alba Rohrwacher in ‘Lazos’.

Someday something will have to be said about how Italian cinema in recent years, after a downturn, is giving very good films and also notable films, of greater commercial purpose, that have a dignified quality and that, above all, the one and the other. the others speak realistically about society and ordinary people and life, which responds to its glorious tradition and is being lost in the cinema of many countries, engulfed in the stridencies and distortions of the cinematographic genres.

Ties, the inaugural film of last year’s Venice Film Festival, is that, a story about the relationships of recognizable and flesh-and-blood people, on couple and family relationships. The confessed deception of a passive and weak husband unhinges the behavior of a wife devoted to love for her loved ones and with a tendency to nervousness and seriously injures the body and the coexistence of the family, complete with two small children. The film, which deals with a deep psychological study of the characters, follows the consequences of the fracture and its drift until a few years later. Everything is identifiable, everything is real, everything is true.

The writers and the actresses

Ties is based on a novel by Domenico Starnone published by Lumen with the title of Ties in 2018. And its origin is noticeable, not because it is a literary film, as is often said on the air, but because it has that rich thickness typical of the most meticulous and prolonged work of novelists.

Starnone, who has collaborated with Luchetti on the script – and who has done other scripts for him and other filmmakers – is an interesting guy as is the third screenwriter, also a writer, Francesco Piccolo. I read two books about Piccolo years ago, Moments of inadvertent happiness (2010) and Moments of inadvertent unhappiness (2015) —both, in Anagrama—, a mixture of a diary and short stories, very funny and full of sharp observations. Piccolo has been a screenwriter for two brilliant Moretti films, The alligator (2006) and Pope (2011). The gang, I already said.

The script of Ties it has magnificent details — the box that cannot be opened, the episode of the shoelaces — and it delves, emotionally and dramatically, in that mystery of the indissoluble bonds between certain people when they love each other well, badly or no longer love each other. The jumps back and forth somewhat baroque the clarity of the story, but do not disturb the reception of a story full of nuances.

Alba Rohrwacher, the female protagonist, who has dazzled the veteran Marco Bellocchio in three films, is, with her strange and different beauty, one of the best European actresses of the moment, as we were also able to verify in the exceptional Lazarus feliz (2018), directed by his very talented sister, Alice Rohrwacher. To make matters worse, and in a film that deals in part with how we condemn ourselves to unhappiness as clumsy and disloyal, his character, as the years go by, is played by Laura Morante, niece of the writer Elsa morante, one of the most competent and beautiful actresses in Italian cinema of the last decades.

The Document Theater

Under the aegis of Alfredo Sanzol, have coincided in the National Dramatic Center some very notable exhibitions of documentary theater with political intent: the premiere of Shock 2, the re-release of Shock 1, the presentation of The Sisyphus Papers and now, NEVERMORE, which responds to an idea and is a creation of the singular and veteran Galician company Chévere, with dramaturgy and direction by Xron. Their already long collaboration has allowed us to see works as estimable as Eroski Paradise (2016) and Curve Spain (2019).

We are not going to remember here the rules of the Documento Theater, which, from Peter Weiss and out there, it is versatile and allows various options. Chévere evokes the oil tanker oil spill Prestige on the Galician coasts in November 2002, its impact on the environment and the economy, on the towns and on people and, especially, the clumsiness and incompetence of the local and national authorities that aggravated the consequences of the ship accident.

'NEVERMORE' is a production of the Galician company Chévere.

‘NEVERMORE’ is a production of the Galician company Chévere.

Soria Light


In this aspect, it materializes the very explicit political charge of montage, which extends its accusing finger to the multinational and multi-localized predatory capitalism, which exploits the planet’s resources excessively in search of profits regardless of the damage caused. Until the concretion of displaying banners with protest slogans on stage, there is an excess of explanations and pronouncements in the work, and I say excess because the spectators already fully understand by the dramatic course of events that we are shown what our conclusions should be .

Having said that, NEVERMORE it is a magnificent montage. In the first part, through the dramatized testimony of witnesses to the catastrophe, volunteers in the cleaning of the beaches and other participants, the work moves between the report and almost, we would say, the socio-anthropological intention, because the landscape and the being of Galicia and its people come to appear in a very vivid way.

Exceptional show

Later, the discovery of a kind of black box, with the actual communications of those days between the responsible authorities, allows sharpening the political criticism. And in this section an extraordinary and unusual creation takes place on stage when reproduced live, with the use and execution before our eyes and ears of the resources of the sound effects of the cinema, the perfect recreation of the film. thriller pathetic and tragicomic, with hints of comedy of the absurd, which in those hours and days developed those responsible for minimizing the effects of the shipwreck.

This is a long fragment of an exceptional and absorbing theatrical show, with the sound that “makes us see” the blades of the helicopters that took part in the operation, the noises of the sea and the rescue or the absurd radio communications.

Scene from the play 'NEVERMORE'.

Scene from the play ‘NEVERMORE’.

Soria Light


In addition, the staging manages to create a very powerful visual frame with the black umbrellas that recall the great protest demonstration that took place in Santiago, with the mats on the ground – which are then raised through the air – of the reception centers or with the white monkeys – on stage and as a backdrop – of those who cleaned sand and rocks, white monkeys that have been rescued during the pandemic and that allow us to establish a connection between the two events.

There is no lack of humor or tenderness in the proposal of Chévere and Xron as there is no lack of a poetic fiber that is integrated with the complaint. The title of the work, NEVERMORE, which with ironic intention seems to refer to the acronym of a great company, obviously refers to the expression in English never more, which in Spanish means “never again” and which, evidently, points to the “never again” Galician who made the cry of protest concrete.

But Chévere manages to take and intertwine in that function never more from the narrative poem The Raven (1854), from Edgar Allan Poe, where a black bird -which appears on the scene- visits a grieving lover who has lost his beloved and repeats these two words over and over again until they are reduced to nonsense.


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