I have become an orphan today. The
death of Bigas Luna is a tremendous blow to me, personally and
professionally. He was the director I always had in mind for
whatever new projects I wanted to tackle. Since 1989, when
-following Luis García Berlanga's recommendation- I got together
with Bigas Luna to produce Las edades de Lulú (The Ages of Lulu),
we have always had a fruitful and endlessly amusing relationship.
He was a kind revolutionary, a genuine inventor, a transgressor,
though also a man of impeccable intellectual honesty.
He was a true discoverer of
talented actors such as Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Jordi Mollà,
Verónica Echegui and Ariadna Gil, who have gone on to rediscover
themselves and accomplishing things they would never have felt
capable of without the guidance of Bigas. Other actors like Angel
Jové, María Martín, Isabel Pisano and Ángela Molina were
resuscitated as artists in his films. His filming sessions were
joyful and generally included the intake of olive oil, ham and
garlic by all of us, which naturally made us very happy. He was a
creator of complicities and always got the whole team involved in
WithThe Ages of Lulu,we had a very
gratifying experience although it was full of shake ups and downs.
We needed two actresses to play the same character at the age of 16
then again at the age of 30. Despite the fact that our choice for
the role was Penélope Cruz, we ended up casting the youngest and
eldest Molina sisters. However, several days after the filming
began, they both walked off the set, forcing us to find
substitutes. In the process, we discovered a great future star
though: Francesca Neri.
The film was a huge box office
success in Spain and abroad. This enabled us to take on projects
that involved more creative risk, like the "Iberian Trilogy," as
Bigas used to call the three films we were working on:Jamón
Jamón(Ham, Ham),Huevos de oro(Golden Balls) andLateta y la luna(The
Tit and the Moon). These three movies earned him widespread
acknowledgement as a great European director, winning prizes in
Venice, Montreal and Toronto Film Festivals. They were widely
distributed throughout the world and enabled him to work directly
with Italian and French producers. Then, subsequently, in 2001, he
worked with me to filmSon de Mar(Sound of the Sea), based on Manuel
Vicent's novel and Rafael Azcona's film script. It was a jubilant
tribute, an enthusiastic homage to Mediterranean flesh, flavors and
Bigas Luna was a modern Renaissance
man, an expert at living a good life, generous in sharing it with
friends and family. Being with him was always a surprise and a
permanent experiment. He was unpredictable; he could just as easily
hang a necklace made of ants around your neck, show you the sacred
part of the earth and its foodstuffs, or sing you a song from
Naples. At all times cheerful, always celebrating life.
Over the last years, although we
only made five films together, at least another five were pending.
I'd like to think that we will see each other and team up in
another life. As for this one, we will continue to miss him and
love him; all of us, his friends and his extraordinary family, his
wife Consol, Celia and her daughters. With all of them, I share the
grief of his loss.
Andrés Vicente Gómez producedLas
edades de Lulú, Jamón Jamón, Huevos de Oro, La teta y la lunaandSon