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.
We 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”.
Zev 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.
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.
It 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
THIS WEEK’S LANGUAGE POINT:
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!