Ten years without Jesus Franco, the director who lived at his own risk

Jesus Franco died on April 2, 2013 in the Pascual clinic in Malaga From a stroke, barely a year after the death of the actress and his life partner, Lina Romay. A week ago, a movie premiered, Berera vs Crocodile LadiesAnd He had 25 projects waiting in his drawer. Among them, one of his most sought-after releases, a remake of Medea, from Seneca, “the first Spanish erotic writer.” “I don’t want to die without making this movie,” he told us years ago. But he died. And So the lesbian vampires, the lizard women, the flamboyant mad doctors, Sade’s tribute, the unyielding erotic maniac are gone. (also pure and hard porn), The Impossible Exotic; But above all, he finished a method in filmmaking: His films, for better or worse, are films that only Jesús Franco could have made, The most specific thing that can be said about the author.

The director told the magazine, “What I do, what I do, I do at my own peril. Who loves it well and who doesn’t, that spoils it.” Vice in one of his last interviews. Sums up perfectly The inevitably bitchy and nonconformist attitude towards the filmmaker’s ball in Madrid, who did not want to walk in paths the current for his strong convictions. “The cinema-cinema, the one with big rooms and curtains, has gone to hell. Because only ten films a year can maintain this status. Spanish filmmakers only dare this type of tape when they come with so many subsidies. The downside is that That they think of interest in investments, that is why projects are born foolish, and mediated as in the worst dictatorships. Producers today are independent ministries and governments. Look at what way an artistic expression like cinema can be turned into disgusting commodities,” he once said.

She does not rant: in the seventies, While filming in Valencia, he won a tenth of the lottery, and used the money to finance the next film, with the same team. And when he could not buy his freedom, he walked out. “I was lucky because the Franco regime punished me For me it was much easier to work abroad, to make my films outside of Spain, where my projects were of interest, ”he confirmed to this newspaper in 2007, already back from everything.

Industry assault

“My name is the worst out there: I have the last name of a fascist dictator and the name of a religious fanatic.” It is one of many famous quotes by Jesus Franco. Because, already from his ID, it wasn’t exactly a way out Underground, naturally. However, he always turned against his family, his (well-to-do) class… Yes, he graduated in law, but, a fan of jazz and film, began flirting with the arts. He joined the Institute for Film Research and Experiments. I soon left him: He preferred to spend his time writing crime novels (under the pseudonym David Khoney) and playing in jazz clubs in half of Europe. After all, Jesus said, he actually learned cinema “in double sessions”: “The only thing in film school is a meeting place for people who are interested in cinema.”

He entered the world working as an assistant director to people like Juan Antonio Bardem, Leon Klimowski or Luis García Berlanga. But he soon decided to go his own way, rolling on his own. What he really wanted to do was not allowed by anyone, and less in Spain at that time.

Screams in the Night was one of his first songs. / Archives.

Jesus Franco The way movies are made is invented, unorthodox, for much to blame: For example, “he would reuse sets, scripts, and templates to depict variations of the same idea over and over, a very jazzy concept,” John Tones writes in Aspinov. Of course, he always denied that, as is attributed to him, he came to shoot several films at the same time. What he’s done is shoot movies almost back-to-back since he started working with the American International production company: “They made a fool of me for hiring me for time and not for titles, and they wouldn’t even let me breathe.”

It was his first international success fiddle (1968): Released at the Berlinale, even Fritz Lang showed enthusiasm and was a hit wherever it was released. In Spain, another Franco-Franco, of course, did not. But the Franco regime ended (we’re not referring, of course, to Uncle Jesse’s devotion to the cinema), and everything remained the same. Yes in deed , In 2009 the Academy awarded him the Joya de Honor And a beautiful picture was produced: Jesus Franco, already in a wheelchair, and Lina Romay, discreet and smiling to help her life partner, went on stage to receive appreciation from institution They always despise. “I want, as is logical, to present this Goya film to about four thousand or so young boys and girls who carry their short film in their pocket and are looking for someone to help them do it,” the director declared at the ceremony.

“When they gave it to him, Jesús did not return to his seat nor to any VIP area. He went into the press room and sat there to have a drink while taking pictures with the journalists. I tried it myself. He loved it. Goya didn’t matter a bit,” Jose Manuel Serrano recalled. Koito, screenwriter, director and acquaintance of the director. always for you.

So Uncle Jess just kept doing whatever he wanted. “I never swallowed from the urgency. I became an outcast, yes. But I’ve never made a movie that seemed inappropriate to me. I don’t have many principles, only seven or eight, but they are firm. He told us once. A phrase that explains why Jesus and Lena are not particularly in a prosperous financial situation.

Infinite filmography

Jesus Franco movie jam sessions The most exciting in the history of cinema: a thousand rhythms, improvisations, cacophony and originality”, summed up the critic Fausto Fernández correctly on one occasion. Quentin Tarantino, who has always acknowledged his devotion to the Spanish director, or Orson Welles, who signed him as an assistant director after seeing Death whistles gloom. But also arguments that many despise Gatekeepers From the author, who described his cinema as dirty or dirty; In this regard, Uncle Jess agreed with them: he basically did not like their cinematics, and said that their films were divided between bad and mediocre. By the way, Jesus Franco was the son-in-law of the philosopher Julián Marías Hence the writer’s family Javier Marías, Recently deceased, film critic Miguel Marias. What do you think of Franco’s films?

Check out his inexhaustible filmography (Nobody knows for sure how many directing credits he has; iMDB lists 207, But many of his films are signed under different pseudonyms, over a hundred of them) and you’ll find everything but his. After all, how many directors do you know who have proven you can be a Robbe-Grillet fan and shoot movies like The sexual perversions of a hot blonde also the tip of the penis and put in delicate how Crazy sex Scenes featuring the director reflected in a mirror, such as Velazquian’s version Las Meninas.

New life in Malaga

Jesús Franco and Lina Romay settled in Malaga (After a while in Playamar), on the floor of the Santa Lucia building. Jose Manuel Serrano Cueto says so Both found in the Costa del Sol the climate, the yearning for another era and, above all, a group of young people who supported him unconditionally, Including Pedro Temburi, José Roberto Villa and Carmen Montes”.

Together with his young comrades, outside the industry as always, he shot Tivoli (Killer Barbie vs Dracula), he’s made films about trans women who turn into tarantulas and any Martian that comes to mind and excites them. Like a guerrilla, like a commando, with no one in the way. Here too, in 2008, after decades of love and collaboration, they got married. “Lena and Jesus were a two-headed monster. Sometimes you don’t know where one ends and the other begins. Jesus was a self-portrait for Lena and Lena, remake for Jesus. He, brain and she, heart,” once defined Malaga producer Kike Mesa.

In their apartment in Malaga, they constantly received visits from fans from all over the world. “When I met him I was surprised at how far away he was from any kind of cleavage. I was at home, in my old, stained tracksuit, watching a directly to the video bad. I already felt that it should be so, but it was not the same thing that they would have told you from seeing it with your own eyes, ”Cyrano Cueto recalls.

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There, at home, Jesus and Lena devoted themselves entirely to what they had always done: Turning life into a playground of adventure that is wonderful for some, distasteful and uncomfortable for many (Yes, a lot of Franco’s porn movies have Romai starring.) As Alex Mendibele, one of the great experts on the Uncle Jace story, said, “They were both an inspiration to the other, in all respects; their freedom and their daring fed off each other.”

When Lena died, Jesus wanted to ride out the loss the only way he could think of: roll, roll, roll. But it lasted less than a year, and it all ended on April 2, 2013. That year, the other Jesus died on the cross during Holy Week days earlier, on March 30. and the other Franco, many decades earlier. Mission accomplished, Uncle Jess: you survived them. What has always remained the same: There are no articles on the tenth anniversary of your death in Spain. The culture in your country, ours, which is becoming increasingly serious, professional and ambitious, is about other things than paying attention to it. Angry Slim is in love with impossible monsters, spiraling like mad and whore.

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