Cinema | The Bad Family: An Ode to Friendship on the Margins of Society



It’s summer in Madrid and it’s very hot. Like all kids who can’t afford a vacation, Nata, Sebas, Jamel, Chimaira and a few others decide to go to the San Juan Reservoir, located a few kilometers west of Madrid, to spend the day together.

They haven’t seen each other for a while and Release them from prisonHowever, thanks to a prison pass, one of them, Andres, is an excuse to meet. They’ve all changed a lot since the (for a fact we don’t know) life-changing trial several years ago. Although they are all fighting to make the future, the constant threat of Judgment forces them to remember, stick together, and make them feel like they are in a pressure cooker. Children like them seemed to have no chance of salvation.

This is a story Bad familyfor the first time from Nacho Villar And Louis ReedFilm group members brbrBorn in 2014 in the urban video and music scene. A documentary film shot with graphic delicacy and full of originality, filmed over a period of four years and whose protagonists are not just a group of friends: they are the friends of the directors, whom they decided to use as models to portray the reality of the city from. Madrid that many people have no idea about.

The film was born with an invitation, rather than being a testament to the lives of these people, to launch a reflection of a society that usually welcomes the film with enthusiasm (in its passage through festivals, it has already been awarded in 59th Gijón International Film Festivalwith the Filmin Award at Atlántida Film Festival And with him ECAM Open Award, among others), but this does not give the same treatment to its protagonists when they are not on screen but on the street. We spoke with her managers who want to appear on these lines with one voice.

Q: What is your relationship to the reality of “Lamala Familia”?

R was found. All the kids that appear in the movie are our friends. We are part of a network of colleagues and acquaintances formed throughout the neighborhood, all of whom share the southern area of ​​Madrid, especially Carabanchel, Usera, Legazpi, Embajadores & mldr; They were born, lived, studied, and eventually made their lives there. Some we meet because they are younger brothers or cousins ​​of an older classmate, others have been close friends for more than 10 years, like Nata, who has been there since the age of 15 or 16.

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Q: How did you come to shoot this documentary?

R was found. despite of Bad family It had already existed as a group of fellows a long time ago, Bad family As a film or movie project, it was born when the first notices of trial arrived six years after the criminal act, which was nothing more than a street fight in a nightclub area on one of their eighteenth birthday. So, after six years, already 24, and an entire youngster spent waiting for what might happen, they finally got their first court date. It will be a slow and complicated process, but the certainty that one night what went wrong they will finally be able to fix turns the group on its head. At that moment, as friends, we brought up the option of making a film that would tell their story, before prison made them change forever, but above all, before their lives became invisible, or non-existent, by judgment. Court or newspaper address. The film was born as an exercise in resistance against violent information management, which can end up invalidating those identities that don’t fit a certain profile of success or affiliation.

Q: Shooting shouldn’t be easy.

R was found. Shooting was a very enriching group experience, but also a very challenging one. From every BRBR, not just the directing, we wanted to create a film that captures life, not falling for the cliches of “neighborhood life” or “social cinema” or any other label that essentially masks class asymmetry. The film takes place over a period of four years, although the bulk of what is edited takes place in the final period of filming, in particular, during the first weekend of Andrés’ prison leave. The fact that it has spanned so far has given us the opportunity to learn together and the film is not a theatrical performance, but a sensitive documentation of a personal journey on both sides of the camera.

Q: Was there a lot of improvisation?

R was found. We planned a shoot in which we were clear about the sequences we needed so that the viewer who entered this group of friends from scratch could share the journey with them, but we gave the actors all the freedom to solve it as they saw fit. If we had to throw a barbecue, we would collectively choose who wanted to light the fire, who would bring the meat, and who would bring the vegetables. From there, we proceeded to record each of these groups, and while that was happening, conversations emerged that helped us draw each character, and the group as a great collective character. For this reason, we didn’t write lines of dialogue, and we didn’t repeat takes, something that can be seen in the final score. One of the great things that comes from recording without writing the dialogues is the freshness of the language. Richness, variety and genius in the use of words. The accents, the manner of communication… say without saying. There is testimony, archival value of the film, in terms of how it was collected for the oral uses of the city of Madrid in 2022. This also seems important to us.

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Q: What do you think are the great themes of the film or what do you want to convey with it?

R was found. We believe we have made a film that speaks to the whole of society and builds bridges, calls for understanding and, above all, dialogue. We want to take advantage of this space to remember that this supposed marginalization is built on a series of privileges that materialize in various forms of social exclusion, and despite the fact that Andres arrives on set directly from prison, it is also true that he entered the prison with their hands smeared with paint, the hour 4 a.m., when he came in from working as a carpenter in a large commercial area, and that the rest of the group, as evidenced by the film. , work, study and, in the end, are an active part of Hispanic society. We think it is legitimate to ask for the support of these people and others in a similar situation so that they can enjoy their lives on an equal footing. If they make a mistake, it is clear in the movie how they were actually judged. and that if we trust our institutions, trials should be something left to the judges, and that once there is firm agreement between the state and the parties, that error of the past should be something to be overcome, not something to be returned. Time and again an insurmountable stigma.

We also wanted through the film to invite you to think about the role of prison in society. And how to become a trash can for what we do not want?

Q: Perhaps one of the most important characters in the film is the prison that always hovers over the heads of the film’s protagonists. So is the debt they have to pay to avoid that.

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R was found. In fact, the prison is present throughout the movie. To some extent, the film is about being a prisoner alive, and how solidarity and mutual support are key tools for breaking chains. With the film we also wanted to make an appeal, an invitation to think, about the role of prison in contemporary society. And how to become a trash can for what we don’t want. And it does so not from a legal or judicial perspective, but rather as part of an exclusive system that eliminates bodies and experiences that are not defined as equal.

Q: They do not serve to re-enter those who pass through it, then?

R. They do not appear to us to be fusion experiences and do not help coexistence through reintegration. In our personal opinion, it seems to us that if a person returns to society after his term of imprisonment, it is in spite of him, and not thanks to him. It also seems important for us to see clearly how economic thrust equals freedom. If the protagonists of the film had 60,000 euros at the time of the trial, there would be no film, because there would be no conflict. The prison will stop spinning over them. And they can live in peace. But since they don’t exist, prison and all that it represents haunts and stings at their heels.

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Q: The movie is also about friendship between people on the fringes, perhaps where it matters most.

R was found. Exactly, the film talks about how friendship, and horizontality in the broadest sense, is key to being able to navigate a world that can be counterintuitive or counterintuitive. Although talking about the margins is to get to know the center. And sometimes we wonder if a metaphor is the most appropriate to describe our experiences, because there are also times when we feel so central to our lives, as we think it is to others. For this reason, it seems to us a concept by which it can be difficult to identify, although we understand what it means. As we see it, the only way to justify “center” and “periphery” is from an imbalance of power. This seems to us an interesting starting point for thinking about the concept of “margin”. And friendship, of course.



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