76 – On The Red Carpet

I’m not really a red-carpet sort of person.  But when a friend has a screening at the Marbella International Film Festival …. well, you just have to go along to support him, don’t you?  And when it’s a beautifully-evocative film about food and traditional rural skills in a small Spanish village, nothing would have kept me away.

76-FilmFestLogoWe headed off early to Puerto Banus for a brunch meet-up with Zev, his wife Albertina and two other local writers.  Grand hotels and chi-chi brunch menus are not my natural habitat but it set the tone for a rather splendid day experiencing how the other half lives.

After brunch, taxis whisked us to the even more splendid Palacio de Congreso in Marbella where there really WAS a red carpet!  We had to be our own paparazzi, sadly, as we were inexplicably not deemed worthy of “papping”.

76-Zev-redcarpetZev Robinson is a Canadian-British filmmaker and artist living in Spain.  His most recent documentary is “Arribes:  Everything Else is Noise”, about the relationship between food, agriculture and sustainability in an isolated region of north-west Spain – a snippet can be seen here  http://vimeo.com/49137785 which is guaranteed to make you want to find a screening to see the rest.

76-Wine+posterThe wine-producer from Arribes had brought along a range of his wines for us to taste which was an appropriate introduction to the main event, the screening of the film.

For just under an hour we were transported hundreds of kilometres north, and what felt like hundreds of years back in time – though the traditional farming methods and cooking processes depicted in the documentary are still in use today.  The stunning cinematography, the beautiful natural light, the faces full of character, and the scenery around Arribes are skillfully woven together by Zev to illustrate this isolated village where more than 80% of their food is locally-produced.  The people tell their own stories – the baker, the cheese-maker, the farmers, the musician, the dancers, the olive-pickers, the wine-makers.  A sense of community and co-operation under-pins it all.

76-ArribesOlivesIt is the Spain of our fantasies – unchanging, rural, simple, and happy.  It is tempting to beat a tourist path to their door, yet the stronger instinct is to continue to keep it secret, keep it unchanging.

We emerged in silence, holding the beautiful images for as long as possible.  But outside the building there was Marbella, a world of competitiveness, of real-estate, of glitz, and of pretence.  A different Spain.

An hour later we turned off the autovía north of Málaga, and a short while later passed the sign welcoming us home to the Axarquía region.  The red carpet was far behind us.  Nice to visit for a few hours, but the glitz fades rapidly.

The reality of daily life in Arribes, however, continues, just as it does in my village.  Not quite so traditional or remote, perhaps, but the unchanging pleasure of a shared meal of locally-produced food, each simple morsel savoured and valued for the year’s toil behind it, remains.  And everything else is just noise.

© Tamara Essex 2013



Friends are now beginning to “bully” me about the finer points of Spanish pronunciation.  This week on two separate occasions I was given a sentence to practice.  Evil, both of them!

El perro de San Roque no tiene rabo, porque Juan Ramón Rodriguez se lo ha cortado.  The dog of San Roque doesn’t have a tail, because Juan Ramón Rodriguez cut it off.

La lluvia en Sevilla es una pura maravilla.  The rain in Seville is a pure wonder.

Clearly, the actual translation is irrelevant – it’s the rolling of the rrrrr, the depth of the lllll, and the softening of the v to a b that they are testing.  I must remember to keep the car window shut when I’m sitting at the traffic-lights by the Rosaleda stadium practicing at the top of my voice!

12 thoughts on “76 – On The Red Carpet

  1. I enjoyed watching Zev’s documentary on Vimeo. How delightfully he has captured the essence of these local people. Masterfully done.

    Probably as well that you weren’t chased by the paparazzi – I’ve a feeling that posing naked, draped over a fast car, isn’t your style, Tamara 😉

  2. I saw the trailer on Vimeo a couple of weeks ago. It looked wonderful and reminded me a lot of the Spain I knew as a small child. I suggested to Lev that he should bring the film to show in Cambridge, near where I live, where he would find a very appreciative audience 🙂

    • I agree Sue – I think there are so many areas of England, especially where people are really understanding the value of local food, that would love this film. But Zev needs local distributors to get it shown. If there’s a rural film network or anything similar in your area, get them to look at the trailer. They can contact Zev to get access to a longer clip, then they can arrange a tour of independent cinemas in your county.

    • I would love to show it in Cambridge, but everything becomes a question of time and money, especially when there is little or no support. It takes a lot of time to talk to cinemas, set it up, publicize it, contact people, and so on. But if there’s a local distributor to do that, then that would help.

  3. Really enjoyed your blog. Does the film have subtitles and do you know if it will be available in the UK? Would love to see it. We always go on jeep safaris with MonteAventura.com when we are in the area and see the real Spain, such a wonderful day away from the beaches and touristy areas.

    • Many thanks. Although Spain’s tourist destinations are usually its southern and eastern coastal areas, the NW has a lot to offer, especially in the way of a more traditional Spain that has maintained its way of life in many ways. The DVD is on sale in Europe for 15 Euros, and if you’re interested, please email arribesfilm@gmail.com

  4. Pingback: 104 – All the Language Points in One Place | A Foot in Two Campos

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