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Monday, 7 June 2010

THE MENTAL CONTINENTAL

People often complain here that there is nothing to do but at the moment we are spoilt for choice between an exhibition of the largest Playmobil collection or something like that and the Short Film Festival also known as The International One. I wanted to go and see a Bunuel film called That Obscure Object of Desire which I have seen loads of times but felt I ought to honour as it was this film which made me realise how mental the Spanish are. In those days, the days when I was much younger than today, I think films like this went out on Friday late at night and came under the title The Continental Movie or as Henderson would have it, shite and/or probably depressing. He does have a point that was pointed out by me when I told him that The Full Monty was the humorous version of Los Lunes al Sol, the continental depressing version of unemployment as opposed to the 'how can we make something funny out of something depressing but still get the message across version'. However, I love Bunuel as his films always conjure up the idea that it is so difficult to get what you want, especially here. Some things are just unatainable like the women who appear in the above film. This was a stroke of genius to use two actresses to play the same role and I must have been about twelve when I saw it and I was blown away when I realised he was directing two actresses as it is a subtle change and some people don't notice. Alas, I didn't make it to the screening or the homage to the Spanish actress Angela Molina. It's quite a relief to not feel I have to go to these events but tonight I am making an effort. I am always gutted that I can't see films here at the cinema in their original version, except Spanish ones of course, and tonight I am going to the renovated Teatro Olimpia to see a Ken Loach film called Looking for Eric. I invited Henderson but he claims Loach is every bit as depressing as Continental movies so has declined. I'm mainly going to see the inside of the theatre and to just soak up the cinematic experience that most take for granted.

I've just remembered that I went to a lecture on an Aragonese artist, Juan Jose Vera. It was part of a course at The Institute for Aragonese Studies that included Goya, Bunuel and Saura. I managed to sit for two hours watching and listening and at one point felt I might suffer from Stendhal Syndrome looking at shot after shot of abstract and surrealist art. Artists from Catalunya tend to be surreal and the ones from Aragon next door, abstract. If you go anywhere along the coast in Catalunya you will feel this sense of surrealism and it has something to do with the light I believe. In Aragon they are more abstract due to their surroundings except Bunuel who was from Bajo/Lower Aragon which is a completely different story.

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