Cesc Gay has joined the representation of Spanish actors to create ‘Historias para no cuentar’, his latest comedy feature film in which the shame is the connecting link. In five short stories, the characters will have to face their own truth to be able to hide it from others. Here, the comedy is not in the dialogues, but in the context “in the exploration that is made of the characters”says Brays Efe. The situations are so absurd and so normal that you feel identified. The idea, says Alexandra Jiménez -with Maribel Verdú and Nora Navas on stage-, “It is feeling identified in the cinema and dying of embarrassment”.
The key to Gay cinema is precisely that, normality and closeness to the public: “I write about normal characters who have normal things happen to them.. I will never make it about corrupt cops or zombies. Maybe that place is much easier because you are close to the people, you know what happens to them.”. That is why the director defines it as a movie very festive, light, in which the actors have worked for a few days and it has been simple to build, “That, luckily, has been passed on.”
The five stories in the film work like a perfect gear that focuses on the absurd comedy of everyday life. The actors did not even see each other during filming and the stories were recorded at different times. Anna Castillo, Chino Darín and Javier Rey, star in a love triangle that, as Castillo says, “It’s the most normal thing in the world. It happened to me many years ago, I wasn’t my character in the movie, but something similar happened to me when you get tangled up and you don’t know how to get out. Now I see it with tenderness. But at the time it was shame, pathos, “earth swallow me”, but from the outside it’s funny. That’s what makes this movie special.”
Antonio de la Torre, María León and Àlex Brendemühl, star in the second story. Brendemühl thanks the director for his character because “Only Cesc gives me these roles. I think I’m used to playing weird and these things come out of my comfort zone. In addition, Cesc is a “deus ex machina” who knows exactly what he wants and goes to the point. He refines very much what he wants to achieve.”
Since the pandemic, the months of confinement, the war and the crisis, it seems that everything has conspired to revolve around the drama. In real life and in the movies. That’s why ‘Stories not to tell’ It’s a breath of fresh air. De la Torre remembers that the filming was at the time of the pandemic. “I thought a lot during the confinement about how fragile we were and what kind of cinema would be made from now on. It is curious that there is so much drama when perhaps, The most interesting thing is to bring out the anguish through comedy”.
Alejandra Onieva, -on stage with Jose Coronado and Javier Cámara- believes that cinema is the same, but our need is different, “I think the balance is balanced but the viewer demands more comedy”. Efe -which shares a story with Verónica Echegui and Quim Gutiérrez- adds “It has been a very interesting year in which there have been many proposals and very different themes, with ‘Alcarràs’ or ‘La maternal’… with stories that teach us different things. What this film has is that it is a film by Cesc Gay, a tone that you already know and very naturalistic“. But the director doesn’t give it much importance, “In my case it was a coincidence. The last drama I did was in 2015 with ‘Truman’ and from there I have taken a turn. Perhaps because I have lost my fear of doing comedy in the theater, but it has not been on purpose.It has simply been the path that I have been choosing”.
The stories not to tell
The actors remember that this film came into their hands when there were still masks and antigen tests. “I came from shooting ‘Wild Sunflowers’ and I was very grateful to see something easier“Castillo explains. And Onieva, a little more and does not make the film: “I was living in Los Angeles and I did the first casting by video call. The second was face-to-face in Spain but I tested positive. It was delayed for ten days and I thought I would be fine by then but it kept testing positive. I also had all the symptoms. But I knew this was going to work out because I hadn’t worked throughout the pandemic and I felt that God was pressing but I wasn’t going to drown.. I took the only plane that arrived in Madrid at ten in the morning and the casting was at eleven at Coronado’s house. Just the day before, I tested negative. It had to happen”.
De la Torre laughs with Onieva: “If Cesc finds out about this story, he’ll make a movie with you. I can be the one at the airport who tells you, ma’am, you can’t fly.”
An almost theatrical movie
These five independent stories have meant that the actors have not been seen during filming. “I didn’t see anyone and everything seemed very strange to me, I thought I was going to work with everyone but no one appeared there”laughs Onieva. That air of micro-stories is reminiscent of the atmosphere of the theater, a space, a time, some characters that constantly interact. Although for Castillo, “The closest thing to theater in the cinema is the sequence shot, because there are no cuts. Here the emotion is maintained for two weeks.”
Cesc Gay’s mayhem materializes in theaters on November 25. Now, the director is going to premiere the play ’53 Sundays’ in Madrid and after that a time of writing awaits him. “I do it in a very chaotic way so I don’t know what’s going to be next, a movie or a series”says the manager. What he does know is that he is not afraid of the blank paper. And he ends by saying that you have to go see ‘Stories not to tell’ because “You’re going to have a great time”. Well, she’s already there.