“I proposed that we be brave and open up to tell the unknown Labordeta”

‘Labordeta, a man without more’ It will hit commercial screens across Spain on September 23. documentary film about Jose Antonio Labordeta who co-directed his daughter Paula and Gaizka Urresti It has been forged in recent years, and has crystallized in a 94-minute work that develops an intense, emotional and detailed narration of the man, beyond the name; José Antonio’s appearance outweighs the luster of Labordeta, the public figure.

“Making a documentary about my father – explains Paula Labordeta – was an illusion that arose during the farewell, when 50,000 people passed in front of his coffin. We said to ourselves that it was better to let a reasonable time pass, yes, because his last four years have been very hard, full of pain due to illness. We realized the brutal love there was for Labordeta; It’s not just the ‘Canto a la libertad’, the ‘Somos’, that ‘fuck it’ in Congress or ‘A country in the backpack’… it’s a set of things that were part of the person, a fragile person who we teach in the film.

“Making a documentary about my father is an illusion that arose at the farewell, when 50,000 people passed in front of his coffin”

The decision on the timing and profile of approaching the figure of the teacher, singer-songwriter, politician and father of a family was firm in the Aragonese filmmaker, but putting it into practice required arrests and a hypothesis of the potential impact that certain revelations would have. “When it started to take shape in my head, I spoke with my mother and my sisters and I told them that we had to make a film of Labordeta; there were already some things done, which are also very good, but they mostly talk about the most famous character”, emphasizes Paula, who sometimes uses the family name to address her father, a detail that is as shocking as it is endearing.

To delve into the figure of Labordeta is also an exercise in syncretism, given the number of styles he has played and the volume of material available. “I proposed -Paula emphasizes- that we be brave and open up to tell the unknown Labordeta, who is ultimately the one who makes him what he is. I also understood that directing him alone n It was not a good idea; As I needed a producer, I immediately turned to Gaizka, a friend and unconditional supporter of the Labordeta Foundation, one of its first members. I also offered to co-direct it with me and it took zero point five seconds for him to say yes.”

delay well spent

Gaizka recalls that the initial idea with the documentary was to release it in 2020. “That year was chosen because it was the tenth anniversary of the death of José Antonio, in 2019 almost everything was shot, but the pandemic has arrived; we continued with the assembly, but we did not arrive as we wanted, and the truth is that In this context, with masks and limited capacity, it would have been a sad first. In the end, we ended up recording more scenes, including the ending, and we calmly made decisions: redo the edit, flesh out the documentation, get new material that ended up in the final footage… also some Super 8 videos of the Labordeta family that Paula came across while looking for photos.

Paula also points out that there are times in her father’s life that are particularly difficult to explain visually, as there aren’t many images of them. “We talked about the relationship with his brother Miguel, the Nike years… all of this could be told better thanks to these last minute discoveries. On the other hand, and thanks to our editor Juan, we have offered a narrative line of constant conversation between the past and the present, and not only with my father, but also with my mother or the person who occasionally talks about him in the context of music, literature, politics, family… it is a physical and ethereal journey through one’s lifetime”.

The Basque filmmaker recalls another key find. “Juana, his wife, found a diary while rummaging through books and notebooks. This diary ended up structuring the story, and it is not a memory; this text remembered the things of the present, telling them from the moment it was written”. “Exactly, he ends up being another protagonist of the documentary -explains Paula- and above all in the allusion to times when he did not have so much media importance, at the beginning of his public exposure and until 1978, when he stopped writing it”.

Aragon on the skin

The film also travels Aragon, a land that the protagonist of the film carries in his backpack, his epidermis, his heart and his head. “We wanted to convey that, what José Antonio felt – emphasizes Urresti – and that is why there are routes, concerts in the cities and a unique Aragonese militancy, which transcends the political to settle in the affective “. “It’s a love of the landscape and the people of the countryside that opens up to Canfranc, one of his first fights and also a great broken flag for him; another of them would be Jánovas, the highway request for Teruel who caused this laughter from the deputies in Congress and the anger that led to this “fucking shit”… we also said that he was going to Jorcas every August 15 to sing, wherever he was”.

The two directors of the film reveal that Labordeta’s secretary to Congress, Paco Pacheco, explained that this feeling of love for Aragon had been extended by his boss to all of Spain. “I was already talking about spain empty forty years ago also twenty years ago in Madrid, and he was not only fighting for Aragon but also for other parts of the country without decent trains, highways or basic services. fought for Soriafor Cuencafor those who need it.”

Juana de Grandes shows her husband's diary to the three daughters of the wedding: Ángela (left), Ana and Paula.
Juana de Grandes shows her husband’s diary to the three daughters of the wedding: Ángela (left), Ana and Paula.

Profile of an international Aragonese

Paula Labordeta emphasizes another character trait that adorned her father. “It comes out in the newspaper, and my mother remembers it; my hurt father Chile under the yoke of Pinochet, Vietnam… I could have been born anywhere in the world and I think I would have fought for those around me as well. Because of his nationalist stance, he pledged to open borders, not close them. And he fled from the ceremonial: when he was told that the ‘Canto a la libertad’ was to be the anthem of Aragon, I always answered that the hymns were made by drunkards, before remembering that he knew nuns in Chile who sang it; he understood that it couldn’t be a local song. When he spoke of Andalán, for example, he remembered that the one who inspired him to write in an Aragonese key was Eloy Fernández Clemente, because the first thing he wrote for the magazine was an article about Bob Dylan. ”.

The role of his brother Miguel There is also a relevant gap in the footage of this film about Labordeta. “When I was 10 years old, my father was already writing poetry -explains Paula- and my uncle Miguel, who was several years older than him, let him read his entire library and calmly explained to him. That’s why he wanted to be a writer and a poet. He came from a petty-bourgeois family, after all, and it was when he arrived in Teruel that other concerns began to stir in him, as he saw the hard life of the masoveros; It was then that he recorded the first album. José Sanchís Sinisterra, the author of ‘Oh, Carmela!’, Paco Ibanez or Raimon helped him to understand that by singing his poems he could touch people”.

The film also wants to transcend the ‘fuck it’ of his eight years as an MP. “Of course we also remember when he read to Aznar a poem by his brother Miguel; he was a cultured person who resorted to verse to condemn the war in Iraq. He was sarcastic, yes, there he identifies with an Aragonese cliché, but also very funny, and a very cultured person”, explains Gaizka Urresti.

The film also dwells on the connection that Labordeta showed with people in episodes of the television series ‘A country in the backpack‘. “Yes, there are some thoughtful fragments, enough to show that response he generated; they said things to him that they might not have said to others. That’s the reaction he got from strangers, a kind of instant confidence.”

You are different to understand Labordeta

In the final images there are many testimonialsof the above Eloy Fernández Clemente to Juana de Grandes, his wife, passing for his daughters Ángela, Ana and Paula and his granddaughters, twins Marta and Carmela. And there is no lack of memories of the dinners and parties of his most faithful friends, especially those that are still organized at the Casa Emilio restaurant on Avenida de Madrid, an establishment that has named its main room Labordeta.

José Antonio Labordeta at different times in his life.
José Antonio Labordeta at different times in his life.

“There, people laugh, joke, chat, sing – explain Paula and Gaizka – and guests arrive. Once upon a time Juan Aguirre and Eva Amaral, and after dinner, a clamor began asking Eva to sing something. Eva shyly asked if there was a preference, and my dad stood up and said, “Don’t sing, Eva.” Come on, he said to one of those present, what are you, doctor? Well, recipe, recipe.

Paula remembers the thread of this anecdote a sentence that defines the relationship of her parents. “My mother taught my father about family, and my father taught my mother about friendship; He said that friends are like the planks of a bridge, they pave the way for you, and when a plank fails, you fall. For him, friends were essential; He had the usual ones, like Eloy, Gonzalo Borrás or Emilio Gastón, and he added people from other generations like Luis Alegre, Ismael Grasa, Félix Romeo… my uncle Miguel, in fact, was also the one who brought the generations together “.

Throughout the film, in addition to Juana de Grandes and the couple’s three daughters,looks like a host of friends and relatives: Ismael Grasa, Santiago Marraco, Nacho Escuín, José Sanchís Sinisterra, Pepe Melero, Miguel Mena, Antón Castro, Eloy Fernández Clemente, Luis Pastor, Luis Alegre, Rosa Montero (who will attend the preview on September 19 in Madrid), Olga Viza, Mariano Anós, Antonio Pérez Lasheras, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón and María José Hernández.

Previews and premiere

The film (co-written by the director duo, Ángela Labordeta and Miguel Mena) will have a preview by invitation on Thursday, September 15 in room 4 of the Palafox cinemas in Zaragoza. On the 19th, which coincides with the twelfth anniversary of the death of José Antonio, the preview will take place in Madridat the Teatro de Bellas Artes, with a more limited capacity and also by invitation: there we will have Maria Jose Hernandez singing ‘Mar de amor’ and Amaral doing the ‘Canto a la libertad’.

Friday 23 is the date of the first commercial throughout Spain. “We will seek the widest possible distribution -explains Gaizka Urresti- and we already have confirmed rooms in Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid. We want to reach at least 30 rooms in Spain, and also expose it in all the commercial points that we can in Aragon. When its theatrical run is over, it will arrive on television and on the platforms, we will see where, and then we plan to go from town to town, like Labordeta himself, so that as many people as possible can see it. I hope we spend next summer like him HERALDPassing by 731 Aragonese municipalitieswith the projector in tow”.

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