Centro Cultural

Film series


May 31, June 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22, 7.00 pm
Free entrance

When, in the summer of 1967 Ramón Comas set his film El Padre Coplillas in Cantillana, he basically wanted to capture the spectacle of the Asunción festivities, which he considered, because of the sequencing of the procession, the light effects, the soundtrack, the machine which ascends to glory, etc., to be a pre-cinematographic experience. The scene at the school, with Juanito Valderrama playing the singing teacher, marked Ocaña’s first role in cinema, at the age of twenty. With this precedent it is to be expected that the call of cinema accompanied him all of his life.

It is clear that Charlie Chaplin’s silent film work was part of the material which helped build Ocaña’s character. The strange and personal Nemo, by Jesús Garay, gave him the chance, in 1977, already in Barcelona, to play a small role as an extra in the scene of the sailors’ dance, a pop interlude in a soundtrack dominated by the operatic. And, without a doubt, Ocaña, retrat intermittent, by Ventura Pons, marked a before and after in the Ocaña figure.

Learning how to play himself helped Ocaña acquire a full range of tools to withstand the fragile structure of his theatricality. As Judith Butler points out, there is a logic between the spectacle of visual cross-dressing and its transfer to the world of film: the need to “speak”. What the mouth does not say is expressed by the body, hypertrophied with signs.

We are installed in the same scenario of the move from silent movies to a world of sound and colour: everyone screams, all the colours are bright. Therefore, we are witnessing the privileged landscapes where the most extreme cultural transitions have taken place: from the gauche divine to the Movida, from the nights of lumpen and alcohol to the arrival of heroin and AIDS.

In this no-man’s land, the chance to “speak” following Franco’s death, also leads these films to be part not only of Ocaña’s visual landscape, but also that of the Spanish transition. A metaphor which Alberto Gómez takes to the extreme in his theory of the Trans Transición –transvestite, cross-dressing, transsexual – where we see the whole range of plays of misrepresentation, including political ones, which defined our political transition.

Teresa Vilarós, in El mono del desencanto, also pointed out the resistance of the Ocaña world to any identitarian or institutional commitment with those in charge of the political change. And all of this highlights, with overwhelming logic, the affective and effective relationship of all of Ocaña’s worlds with his time and with cinema.

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