Fernando Trueba and Javier Cámara, in San Sebastián.Javier Hernández
On August 25, 1987, Héctor Abad Gómez, a doctor and human rights activist, was assassinated in Medellín.
That phrase, which appears in many encyclopedias, inaccurately sums up what happened.
The day Abad was shot, they also killed a father and a husband, a very loved person — and also much reviled from conservative sectors — in Colombia.
His body was left in the street, watched for hours by his son, Héctor Abad Faciolince, who later, in 2006, published
The forgetfulness that we will be,
a chronicle of his father-child relationship, a struggle to resurrect his memories of his father and his family world, a very special universe.
"For years I have been giving away this book —it is one of my vices—, I think it is the one that I have given the most in my life," recalls Fernando Trueba, who has directed its film adaptation.
Along with him, Javier Cámara, who plays Héctor Abad.
The film, which bears the stamp of the Cannes festival, where it would have participated if the pandemic had not devastated the cultural world, closes the Zinemaldia.
Released in Colombia, it will probably arrive in Spanish theaters in March.
Cannes selects Fernando Trueba in its 2020 'ghost' edition
The murder that united Trueba and Abad Faciolince
It is the first time that Trueba has directed a commission.
“I only make personal films, because that's the only thing I know how to do.
If the proposal comes from outside, I only direct it because I could internalize it, I felt that I had an eye on the novel ”, explains the director.
“The forgetfulness that we will be
has many angles to feel that personal bond.
For example, it tells the story of a family, the relationship between a father and a son.
For me, the film talks about happiness, about love, about a wonderful bubble, and how reality ends up screwing up the party. "In addition, he says, he was attracted to the atmosphere of the boy, Héctor Jr., in a family surrounded by women, Among his five sisters, his mother, the maids, a nun ... “He made me remember movies and books that I like.” Even so, he haggled as much as possible to accept the proposal of the Colombian producer. “It seemed impossible to take him to the movies. I don't know, it's one of the two books that my mother reread in her life, "he smiles." I attended several meetings and I rejected it, of course, with all my gratitude. Besides, it's that reading books to look for a movie It seems tacky to me, although this was not the case. Cristina [Huete, his wife and producer] read it again in a day, because she does it very fast, and she agreed. I took it and thought: 'Impossible, but there would be a possibility if we catch it here '... Cristina caught me. ”And that's how Trueba ended up in Colombia.“ Contand
or an alien life, as Emmanuel Carrère said ”.
The material that Trueba (Madrid, 65 years old) and Cámara (Albelda de Iregua, 53 years old) handled requires great delicacy: real events.
"For both of them it was very interesting to document themselves, but I'm here to make films, and reality is the runway," says the director.
“The first thing I thought, already put to work, was that what a pity that Javier Cámara was not Colombian.
And just then I got an
from Abad telling me that he was grateful for joining the project, and that there was an actor who looked like his father, who was the ideal: Javier Cámara ”.
The aforementioned confesses that his answer was that maybe they should look for a Colombian interpreter.
Trueba points out: “Although in this case it was not necessary to do a Colombian accent, or a
, but rather do that of Héctor Abad Gómez, which is completely different.
And Javier has the most important condition of all, in addition to being a very good actor, which is that since Abad Gómez loves life, he has the joy of living.
And that cannot be falsified ”.
The actor defines his character "as what Americans say:
bigger than life."
And he explains about his investigation: “I spoke with one of the people who appeared on the threatened list in which Abad also appeared - by the way, that equals us, because we live in a country where there were also lists - who told me that they left Colombia running because if they had dared with a symbol, a loving, conscientious, exemplary person, what would not happen to the rest ”.
Camera felt in a moment the weight of the royal Abbot, from which he had to detach himself to roll.
“There was something curious: with each one you spoke to, he felt the most loved by Héctor.
Each daughter told you that it was her father's favorite, because he managed to create that emotion.
Ugh, he was an almost elusive character. "
Magic realism in the streets
Abad Faciolince resigned to participate in the script because, Trueba explains, he did not want to go through the suffering process that he went through to write the novel again and because he made it clear that he did not know anything about scripts.
And he went to Europe at the beginning of filming, so as not to disturb.
In the end, it did come close.
“Some time before, one day”, explains the protagonist, “Héctor approached me.
I wanted him to sign the book given by Fernando three years before, and he to take a picture of me for his sisters.
I asked him if they had seen any of my movies and he replied: 'No, they are going to be very excited when they see that you are just like my dad.'
I took the photo, I stepped away a bit and I was convinced: I couldn't escape that blessing ”.
They both remember a filming full of anecdotes, of people who came because they had met the real doctor. “A supporting actor came with a suit, and he told me that he had been with Dr. Abad twice, that the last time he was wearing that suit and that he could put it on for the movie. Another actress I chose told me at the end that Abad had saved her husband's life. " Chamber emphasizes: "It is that many of those happened to us." Remember one related to people on the street touching him as if he were the real doctor. “Magical realism really exists in Colombia. Not only is it in the books, but people own it, and you notice it through their gaze. " They also felt the hatred, in details such as that the Church refused to give up any building to film the burial. "Because there is still a struggle in Colombia." Trueba has an impact: “The day we filmed the last conversation between Abad and his wife, they announced on the radio that some streets were being closed. Cecilia, his widow, heard him, took a taxi, and stood with a walker in front of a police fence. And when asked where they were going, he replied: 'Let me pass! I am the protagonist! "