Film Notes: Hell or High Water (2016) directed by David Mackenzie

US / 102 min / Color / Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, OddLot Entertainment, Film 44, LBI Entertainment Dir: David Mackenzie Pro: Sidney Kimmel, Peter Berg, Carla Hacken, Julie Yorn Scr: Taylor Sheridan Cin: Giles Nuttgens Mus: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis Cast: Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, John-Paul Howard, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Buck Taylor Synopsis: Texas brothers — Toby (Chris Pine), and Tanner (Ben Foster), come together after years divided to rob branches of the bank threatening to foreclose on their family land. For them, the hold-ups are just part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that seemed to have been stolen from under them. Vengeance seems to be theirs, until they find themselves on the radar of Texas Ranger, Marcus (Jeff Bridges) looking for one last grand pursuit on the eve of his retirement, and his half-Comanche partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham). As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their scheme, and with the Rangers on their heels, a showdown looms at the crossroads where the values of the Old and New West murderously collide.(Cannes Press Kit). Release Dates: The film premiered at the Un Certain Regard section of the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival on 16 May 2016. It began a limited release on 12 August 2016, in the United States, followed by an expansion on 19 August, and a wide release on 26 August. The film opened in the UK and Ireland on 9 September 2016, and in New Zealand on 12 October 21, 2016. In Spain opened on 30 December 2016. Spanish title: Comanchería IMDb Rating: 7,7.

MV5BMTg4NDA1OTA5NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQ2MDM5ODE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Recently Begoña and I have had the opportunity to see Hell or High Water. The title could have been translated into Spanish as ‘Contra viento y marea’ or alternatively ‘A cualquier precio’ o bien ‘Pase lo que pase’. But for some unknown to me reason it was decided however to call it Comanchería. An absurd title in my opinion. And almost the only thing I’ve not like of this film. Overall I have enjoyed it very much.  At the Wikipedia page one can read that Hell or High Water offers a solidly crafted, well-acted Western heist thriller that eschews mindless gunplay in favour of confident pacing and full-bodied characters. I certainly agree.

David Mackenzie on directing Hell or High Water

The story of Hell or High Water is, at first glance, a simple one: two hard-luck brothers go on a small-town bank-robbing spree, only to be doggedly pursued by a legendary Texas Ranger on the eve of his unwanted retirement. But underneath its two interlocking plot strands lie currents that delve into family, masculinity, loyalty, family and historical cycles, and the way a new world of faceless greed is colliding with an Old West of rugged individualists. All of this came to the fore in a screenplay rife with humour and humanity written by Taylor Sheridan, who is known both for portraying Deputy Chief David Hale in the hit series Sons of Anarchy and as the writer of the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated Sicario.  Sheridan, who himself hails from Texas, wrote Hell or High Water just after Sicario as part of an intended trilogy about the New West. The taut script soon won the so-called Blacklist of the year’s hottest unproduced screenplay – but it did not go unproduced for long as Sidney Kimmel Entertainment soon acquired it with Peter Berg’s Film 44. David Mackenzie became the choice for director after they saw his previous feature Starred Up, which was acclaimed for its distinctive mix of raw-edged realism, high-wire tension and emotional sensitivity. “It was when we saw Starred Up that we were completely blown away,” recalls Carla Hacken. “Like this story, it was raw and gritty, yet it had heart and a moving father-son story. It was beautiful yet edgy — and we wanted all of that for Hell or High Water. David proved to be a great choice. He captures the scope of the action, the emotions and the landscape in mesmerizing ways.” Adds Julie Yorn: “Starred Up had so much muscle to it – David’s style felt right for this story. And we all thought it was really interesting to have this very talented European director tackle such an American story.” Mackenzie welcomed the chance to bring his own gritty, modernist vision to a story that may carry all the standard components of the traditional American Western – lawmen, robbers, shootouts and chases — but is actually a portrait of something happening right now: a portrait of old ways and social structures breaking apart into something new and unpredictable, with people and families struggling to come to terms with it. Mackenzie’s past films have flirted with genre – Young Adam, for example, carried the intense mood of a classic film noir and Hallam Foe took the coming-of-age tradition into the territory of a dark fable. But it was really with Starred Up, Mackenzie’s prison drama that shook up the category with its gut-punch emotions, that he began experimenting with how he could take a pure genre story and reconstruct into it something authentic and emotionally real. “In the past I was uncomfortable with the notion of genre as I was trying to make films I thought were original and different, films that would only find themselves on the outer edges of a genre box by default categorization,” he says. “But my last film Starred Up was inescapably a genre movie and it was the first where I tried to embrace the genre completely — even though I also tried to smuggle a family drama into the centre of it,” he notes. “But while Hell or High Water is a Western in many ways – an idea which we embrace completely and pay homage to past Westerns — it also has the DNA of a heist movie, a buddy movie and a road movie, as well as a family drama.” Within that mix-mastering of styles, Mackenzie had another aim: to bring out the story’s evocation of American life in the early 21st Century, with all its familial, economic and racial tensions.“To me, what makes this film so exciting is that between all the genre elements there is a reflection on themes of contemporary American life: on race, guns, the abuses of banks, the loss of the Old West and its values, the break up of families and society, the urge to take things into ones own hands. As an outsider, it was a privilege to try to somehow take a snapshot of the nation in this election year,” says Mackenzie. “I tried hard to make a film which feels as American as possible, and felt an obligation to be as respectful to the feeling of the country as I could.” Mackenzie goes on: “Even if I am engaging in a genre, it’s not that in itself that excites me. It’s the power of the story, the world, the themes and the characters of the piece. This was a very special script from Taylor Sheridan, one that had all this in a very fresh way, but also had a very clear sense of great movies from the past, particularly from the golden age of the 60s and 70s. To me, it recalled flavours of two of my favourite American filmmakers of that time: Don Siegel — in particular, the great Charley Varrick, one of the few films he made set in the Midwest — and Hal Ashby, whose humanistic freewheeling style of filmmaking I often try to follow. It also put me in mind of three great films that Jeff Bridges was in as a young man: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Fat City and The Last Picture Show. ” Mackenzie was especially keen to bring to the fore the often tricky bonds of brothers, whether blood brothers or brothers on the job. Wary as Toby and Tanner or Marcus and Alberto can be of each other, they are utterly devoted to one another’s survival. “One of the hearts of the movie is the relationship between brothers, which is a very strong thing. I have a great relationship with my brother, and I was very drawn to that relationship between brothers – and what brothers are prepared to do to help each other.” Mackenzie says. “As I said, Toby is prepared to do bad things, but he’s essentially doing it for his family. It’s not a justification but it feels like it’s a moral weight against some of the amoral stuff that he’s doing.” The easy, wisecracking but racially fraught rapport between Marcus and Alberto becomes a mirror image to Toby and Tanner’s different approaches to survival. “Marcus and Alberto have a funny double act in how they deal with the antagonism between them,” Mackenzie observes. “As well as being serious as Texas Rangers, there’s lightness in there, too.” Some of the more intense moments in “Hell Or High Water” are, paradoxically, moments of nearly wordless confrontations that Mackenzie excavates to their emotional depths. Toby’s humble porch, in particular, becomes the setting of high drama. This was important to Mackenzie’s take on the film. “I never really thought of this film as a thriller,” says the director. “It had to be about a balance between the genre bank robbery elements and the deeper exploration of land and space and people lost in the erosion of change. These are people who don’t have easy articulacy; they communicate as much in their silences as their sentences. The ‘porch moments’ feel to me absolutely essential to the film and we felt instinctively drawn to them whenever the opportunity arrived. When you spend time in that huge very hot empty landscape the porch is such a place of sanctuary and just looking out into that endless horizon feels like second nature — scanning for potential threats.” The aliveness of the film’s porch scenes emerges in part out of Mackenzie’s directorial style, which is modern, minimalist and immersive, eschewing typical film set machinery like playback monitors. He prefers to shoot in long, organic takes, waiting to instinctively discover the truest moments as they happen. “I like the idea of us feeling like the cameras are almost running all the time, so if you’re in the moment, you’re kept in the mood,” he says. “It feels to me like modern filmmaking. It is kind of my method … The way I like to shoot, we get a lot more done in our day and we can build up the performances. Everything’s more fluid and more energized and more time is spent doing the work.” On Hell or High Water, Mackenzie works with a veritable icon in Jeff Bridges and a rising leading man in Chris Pine, but all of his characters are equally stripped down from bravado to vulnerability. The palpable masculine energy of the film is at times interrupted by women – but it is clear, Mackenzie notes, that these are men who don’t allow women deeply into their worlds. “It’s hard to imagine the narrative working with these men grounded by successful relationships with women – apart from Alberto who hints at being in a stable relationship,” Mackenzie observes. “It is quite consciously a masculine story. I was very keen to make sure that the women in the story — almost all of whom are passing encounters — were well drawn and sympathetic, but like Starred Up, it is essentially a film of men without women.” Hell Or High Water has taken Mackenzie’s work to a new level. “I feel I have gotten closer to a more commercial, accessible style of filmmaking in a way which hasn’t compromised the integrity of my work,” he says. “I now feel ready to tackle films of bigger ambition and scale and comfortable that I can bring humanity and my individual sensibilities to these projects.” Taylor Sheridan was thrilled to see how Mackenzie transported his script to the screen with so much visual power and feeling. “I think David’s a very gifted director,” says the screenwriter. “He has that rare ability to keep the big picture of the storytelling at the forefront while hammering in on the finer details that make everything come alive. I found him completely ego-less and collaborative … until we got on set and then he knew exactly what he wanted and where to draw the lines, which is as it should be. In the end, I felt the film was beautifully filmed and orchestrated.” Hailing from West Texas himself, from a long line of law enforcement as well, Sheridan says he always hoped Hell or High Water would be “a love poem to my home state.” He explains: “People in Texas are such fighters, and one way or another, they have been fighting for land, for right or for wrong, for centuries. The history of Texas has been a repeating pattern of conquest and assimilation. Being from there, I’ve seen it and I’ve also seen that one thing no can ever seem to beat is the bank. So the bank has become an umbrella symbol for all the ways that West Texas has become a way of life that is now largely for the wealthy, and for all the ways in which it has become nearly impossible for some people to carve out a future there.” Sheridan was gratified by Mackenzie’s willingness to grapple with the film’s emotional and social complexities. “The film is about a state of affairs,” Sheridan says. “It’s about cycles of poverty and their consequences; it’s about the destruction of the nuclear family; it’s also about how men show love to other men. You see the reality of a family like Toby and Tanner trying to make a living off 100 cattle and bad land – and you realize along with them that the only way they can truly change this cycle that’s ravaged their family is with money.”

David Mackenzie (Director) is an acclaimed writer/director based in Glasgow, Scotland. He is one of the co-founders of Sigma Films. After graduating film school at the University of Westminster, Mackenzie wrote and directed an adaptation of Alexander Trocchi’s cult novel, Young Adam starring Ewan MacGregor and Tilda Swinton. Premiering in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes 2003 and playing at Telluride the same year, the film went on to win four BAFTA Scotland awards including, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. The film also earned four BIFA nominations including Best Picture and Best Director and several European Film Academy nominations. Subsequent films included Asylum, starring Natasha Richardson and Ian McKellen and the highly regarded Hallam Foe with Jamie Bell, which won a Silver Bear in Berlin 2007. More recently, Mackenzie directed the “Perfect Sense,” a futuristic fable about feeling and non-feeling, which was premiered in Sundance 2011 and reunited him with MacGregor and co-starred Eva Green. Premiering at the Telluride Film Festival in 2013, Starred Up with Jack O’Connell and Ben Mendelsohn, was released in 2014 and garnered multiple BAFTA Scotland Awards and seven BIFA nominations avid including a win for Ben Mendelsohn in the Best Supporting Actor category. Mackenzie’s latest project, Texan bank robbery movie Hell Or High Water, starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges and written by Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, premieres in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes 2016.

Film review at The Hollywood Reporter

Cannes Press Kit. pdf

Hell or High Water Official Website

Hell or High Water Interview with David Mackenzie

Review: The Late Monsieur Gallet, 1931 (Inspector Maigret #2) by Georges Simenon. Trans: Anthea Bell

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Penguin Classics, 2013. Format: Paperback edition. First published in French as Monsieur Gallet, décédé by Fayard, 1931. This translation first published in 2013 by Anthea Bell. ISBN: 978-0-141-39337-7. 156 pages. This novel has been published in previous translations as The Death of Monsieur Gallet. (1932, translated by Anthony Abbot) and Maigret Stonewalled (1963, translated by Margaret Marshall).

cover.jpg.rendition.460.707The back cover blurb reads: Investigating the circumstances around the death of a certain Monsieur Gallet, Maigret finds that much of the man’s life was a lie: the name he travelled under and even his stated profession. More worryingly, his wife’s haughtiness and his son’s casual indifference to the death suggest that there is more to this family than meets the eye. Indeed, the death of Monsieur Gallet may conceal another crime entirely.

My take: Perhaps what is most interesting to point out in this early instalment in Maigret’s mysteries series is that, unlike most of the stories in the series, the plot here is further more elaborate and turns out to be more complex than usual. All this despite the fact that the figure of the main character is not yet fully developed. Inspector Maigret in fact will have to cope with one of the most difficult cases in his career, not only due to the absence of clues, but also for the amount of lies that he will find around him. It will soon become clear to Maigret that, in order to disentangle this mystery, he will have to try to understand the late Monsieur Gallet and to scrutinise in his past rather than loosing his time seeking for non-existent leads. In some aspects, the story has reminded me of a locked-room mystery and, indeed, its style is closer to a Golden Age classic detectives mystery than any other of his books that I’ve read so far.  Above all, it is a highly entertaining read which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. The story opens as follows:

The very first contact between Detective Chief Inspector Maigret and the dead man with whom he was to spend several weeks in the most puzzling intimacy was on 27 June 1930 in circumstances that were mundane, difficult and unforgettable all at the same time.

Unforgettable chiefly because for the last week the Police Judiciaire had been getting note after note announcing that the King of Spain would be passing through Paris on that day and reminding them of the precautions to be taken on such occasion.

It so happened that the commissioner of the Police Judiciaire was in Prague, at a conference on forensics. His deputy had been called home to his villa in Normandy, where one of his children was ill.

Maigret, as the senior inspector, had to take everything on in suffocating heat, with manpower reduced by the holiday season to the bare minimum.

It was also early in the morning of 27 June that the body of a murdered woman, a haberdasher, was found in Rue Picpus.

My rating: A (I loved it)

About the author: Georges Simenon was born in Liège, Belgium, in 1903. Best known in Britain as the author of the Maigret books, his prolific output of over 400 novels and short stories have made him a household name in continental Europe. He died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life.

About the translator: Anthea Bell is the award-winning translator of numerous French and German works: from the Asterix comics to W. G. Sebald’s literary masterpiece Austerlitz.

The Late Monsieur Gallet has been reviewed at Mysteries in Paradise, The complete review, Crime Review, The Late Monsieur Gallet a review by Andrew Walser

Penguin Classics publicity page

Penguin Random House publicity page

Geroges Simenon Website

M. Gallet, décédé

Maigret of the Month: February, 2004

Tout Maigret


The Case of Georges Simenon by Scott Bradfield

El difunto filántropo (La muerte del señor Gallet) de Georges Simenon

La propaganda de la contraportada dice: Al investigar las circunstancias en torno a la muerte de un tal Monsieur Gallet, Maigret descubre que gran parte de la vida de este hombre era mentira: el nombre bajo el que viajaba e incluso su profesión declarada. Más preocupante aún, la arrogancia de su mujer y la despreoucpada indiferencia  de su hijo por su muerte sugieren que existe en esta familia algo más de lo que parece. De hecho, la muerte de Monsieur Gallet puede ocultar otro crimen por completo.

Mi opinión: Tal vez lo que es más interesante destacar en esta primera entrega de la serie de misterios de Maigret es que, a diferencia de la mayoría de las historias de la serie, la trama aquí está más elaborada y resulta más compleja de lo habitual. Todo esto a pesar de que la figura del personaje principal aún no está completamente desarrollada. El inspector Maigret de hecho tendrá que lidiar con uno de los casos más difíciles en su carrera, no sólo por la ausencia de pistas, sino también por la cantidad de mentiras que encontrará a su alrededor. Maigret pronto verá que, para desentrañar este misterio, tendrá que tratar de comprender al difunto señor Gallet y escudriñar en su pasado más que perder su tiempo buscando pistas inexistentes. En algunos aspectos, la historia me ha recordado un misterio de habitación cerrada y, de hecho, su estilo está más cerca de un misterio clásico de detectives de la Edad de Oro que cualquier otro de sus libros que he leído hasta ahora. Por encima de todo, es una lectura muy entretenida que he disfrutado mucho. La historia comienza así:

El primer contacto entre el inspector jefe de detectives Maigret y el difunto con el que pasaría varias semanas en la más desconcertante intimidad, fue el 27 de junio de 1930 en circunstancias que eran a la vez triviales, penosas e inolvidables.

Inolvidables sobre todo porque durante la última semana la Policía Judicial había estado recibiendo nota tras nota anunciando que el Rey de España pasaría por París en esa fecha y recordándo las precauciones que debían tomarse en semejante ocasión.

Sucedía también que el director de la Policía Judicial se encontraba  en Praga, en una congreso sobre medicina forense. Su adjunto se había marchado a su casa en Normandía, en donde uno de sus hijos estaba enfermo.

Maigret, como el inspector mas antiguo, tuvo que ocuparse de todo en medio de un calor sofocante, con unos efectivos que las vacaciones habían reducido al mínimo.

Fue también  en la madrugada del 27 de junio, cuando se encontró en la calle Picpus el cuerpo de una mujer asesisnada, la dueña de una mercería. (Mi traducción libre)

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

La novela negra: malestar social y malestar individual por Eugenio Fuentes

Review: Crush (1959) by Frédéric Dard (trans Daniel Seton)

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Pushkin Press, 2016. Format: Kindle edition. File size: 547 KB. Print length: 160.  First published in French as Les Scélérats,1959. This translation first published in 2016 by Daniel Seton, 2016.  ASIN: B01LDZQPE0. ISBN: 978 1 782272 25 0.

I submit this review for the Crimes of the Century at Past Offences, which this month looks at 1959.

29093113Book description: Seventeen-year-old Louise Lacroix is desperate to escape her dreary life. So on her way home from work every evening she takes a detour past the enchanting house of Jess and Thelma Rooland – a wealthy and glamorous American couple – where the sun always seems to shine. When Louise convinces the Roolands to employ her as their maid, she thinks she’s in heaven. But soon their seemingly perfect life begins to unravel. What terrible secrets are they hiding? Dripping with tension and yearning, Crush is a chilling Fifties suspense story of youthful naivety , dark obsession – and the slippery slope to murder.

Les Scélérats was  adapted to the big screen in 1960 under the English title The Wretches, directed by Robert Hossein who co-stars with Michèle Morgan, Olivier Hussenot and Jacqueline Morane. The film is available here.

My take: Set within the novels that the self-same Frédéric Dard called ‘romans de la nuit’, Crush tells the story of a seventeen-year-old girl, Louise Lacroix. Louise, desperate to flee a bleak and anodyne life, sees an opportunity to break away from her family and her job in a  factory when a young American couple settles in her neighbourhood. Louise, fascinated with their lifestyle, offers to work for them as in-house maid, with the healthy intention of building a better future for herself.  But things don’t turn out to be as she was expecting. The tale describes very well the atmosphere in Europe at the time in which it was written and the admiration that existed for all things American. Crush is a short novel, hardly a 160 page novella, that can easily be read in one sitting. The story is told in the first person by the own Louise Lacroix, what certainly is extremely bold an risky on the part of Dard, as the reader will undoubtedly discover at the end. The story can also be framed in the tradition of Georges Simenon ‘romans durs’, a good friend of Dard. As usual in Dard’s ‘romans de la nuit’, Crush is a novel with a great dose of suspense, the gloomy tale of a sickly obsession, a bleak story in the purest sense of the term ‘noir‘. The reader will find it hard to identify with anyone of the characters, none will be sympathetic, and even though one can anticipate a certain tragedy, the final outcome is difficult to foresee. Perhaps herein lies Dard’s great literary mastery. I’m very much looking forward to reading The Executioner Weeps (Le bourreau pleure, 1956), for what I’ve heard, one of Dard’s best works.

 My rating: A (I loved it)

Crush has been reviewed at The Complete Review, The Bookbag, His Futile Preoccupations ….., the crime segments and Raven Crime Reads.

About the author: Frédéric Dard (1921-2000) was one of the best known and loved French crime writers of the twentieth century. Enormously prolific, he wrote hundreds of thrillers, suspense stories, plays and screenplays throughout his long and illustrious career. Bird in a Cage, The Wicked Go to Hell and The Executioner Weeps (for which he won the 1957 Grand prix de littérature policière) are also available or forthcoming from Pushkin Vertigo.

About the translator: Born in London, Daniel Seton studied French and Philosophy at the University of Bristol. He worked in Paris and Brussels, before starting out in publishing in 2008 and moving to Pushkin Press as an editor in 2010. He thinks it’s slightly too good to be true that he gets paid to read books. Crush is his first foray into translation.

Pushkin Press publicity page

Los desalmados (Les scélérats, 1959) de Frédéric Dard

Descripción del libro: Louise Lacroix, de diecisiete años, está desesperada por escapar de su triste vida. Cada tarde de regreso del trabajo hacia su casa toma un desvío para pasar por la fascinante casa de Jess y Thelma Rooland, una adinerada y seductora pareja norteamericana, en donde el sol siempre parece brillar. Cuando Louise convence a los Roolands de emplearla como trabajadora doméstica, piensa que está en el cielo. Pero pronto su vida aparentemente perfecta comienza a deshacerse ¿Qué horribles secretos ocultan? Desbondando tensión y deseo, Los desalmados es una estremecedroa historia de suspense de los cincuenta de ingenuidad juvenil, oscura obsesión y un terreno resbaladizo al asesinato.

Les scélérats fue adaptada a la gran pantalla en 1960, dirigida por Robert Hossein quien la co-protagonizó junto a Michèle Morgan, Olivier Hussenot y Jacqueline Morane. La película está disponible aquí.

Mi opinión: Dentro de las novelas que el propio Frédéric Dard llamó “romans de la nuit“, Los desalmados cuenta la historia de una joven de diecisiete años, Louise Lacroix. Louise, desesperada por huir de una vida sombría y anodina, ve la oportunidad de romper con su familia y su trabajo en una fábrica cuando una joven pareja norteamericana se instala en su vecindario. Louise, fascinada por su estilo de vida, se ofrece a trabajar para ellos como empleada doméstica, con la sana intención de construir un futuro mejor para ella. Pero las cosas no resultan ser como ella esperaba. La historia describe muy bien la atmósfera en Europa en el momento en que fue escrita y la admiración que existía por todas las cosas norteamericanas. Los desalmados es una novela corta, apenas una novela de 160 páginas, que se puede leer fácilmente en una sola sentada. La historia está contada en primera persona por la propia Louise Lacroix, lo que sin duda es muy atrevido y arriesgado por parte de Dard, como el lector descubrirá sin duda al final. La historia también puede ser enmarcada en la tradición de los “romans durs” de Georges Simenon, un buen amigo de Dard. Como de costumbre en los romans de la nuit” de Dard, Los desalmados  es una novela con una gran dosis de suspense, el sombrío cuento de una obsesión enfermiza, una deprimente historia en el más puro sentido del término “noir“. El lector tendrá dificultades para identificarse con cualquiera de los personajes, ninguno será simpático, y aunque se puede anticipar una cierta tragedia, el resultado final es difícil de prever. Tal vez aquí se encuentre la gran maestría literaria de Dard. Tengo muchas ganas de leer El verdugo llora (Le bourreau pleure, 1956), por lo que he oído, uno de los mejores trabajos de Dard.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Frédéric Dard (29 de junio de 1921 – 6 de junio de 2000) es uno de los escritores franceses más reconocidos del siglo XX. Escribió más de 300 novelas en su carrera como escritor. Del conjunto de su obra destaca la serie de ‘San-Antonio’, una colección de 175 novelas publicadas desde 1949 hasta los años 90, protagonizadas por el ficticio comisario San-Antonio de los servicios secretos franceses. Estas historias estaban escritas en primera persona y firmadas con el mismo nombre de San-Antonio como pseudónimo. Aunque enmarcadas en el género negro o en el género de espionaje, su estilo es paródico y desenfadado, con un uso exhaustivo del argot francés, continuos juegos de palabras y numerosos neologismos inventados por el propio autor, que hacen muy difícil su traducción así como su lectura por los no francófonos. No obstante parte de ellas han sido traducidas a diversos idiomas, entre ellos el español en versiones publicadas por las editoriales Bruguera y Mateu en los años 60-70.

OT: The Fauves. Passion for Colour


Until 29 January 2017 you can appreciate the meaning of passion for colour. The exhibition, which offers a complete and considered presentation of fauvism, brings together over one hundred paintings as well as numerous drawings, watercolours and a selection of ceramic pieces at Fundación MAPFRE Recoletos Exhibition Hall (Paseo de Recoletos 23, 28004 Madrid).

The exhibition has been produced by Fundación MAPFRE and has only been possible thanks to the support of more than eighty lenders who have collaborated with the show. Notable amongst these are the TATE, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen of Düsseldorf, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Statens Museum of Denmark. The generosity of more than thirty private collectors has also been essential, who have lent works that are less well-known to the general public but nevertheless of extraordinary quality.

Fauvism was the first major avant-garde art movement of the 20th century. It was a controversial and exuberant one based on the exaltation of pure tones, locating the autonomy of colour at the centre of the artistic debate. Henri Matisse was its leading representative accompanied by other artists with whom he shared a new vision of painting along with a constant desire to learn and experiment. Together with André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck he led the group which also included Albert Marquet, Henri Manguin, Charles Camoin, Jean Puy, Raoul Dufy, Othon Friesz, Georges Braque, Georges Rouault and Kees van Dongen.  These staunch proponents of provocative colour and of executing work from a personal perspective were particularly committed to developing a number of themes such as portraits of the group’s members, luminous landscapes, the ambience of the French Mediterranean, intimate spaces and the atmosphere of sordid nightlife.

Additional information at Fundación MAPFRE Website 

A beginner’s guide to Fauvism

Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) Restaurant de la Machine a Bougival, ca.1905 (extract)

OT: La Hiruela – El Cardoso – La Hiruela

Yesterday, with my hiking group, we made a circular route leaving the village of La Hiruela towards El Cardoso, following El Jarama riverbed, until reaching the picnic area opposite the entrance to the Montejo beech forest. We continued a short way along an asphalt road until a forest trail that took us back to La Hiruela. The total distance covered was slightly above 14 km. And, with a small break to get our strength back, it took us less than 4 hours. The weather conditions were good, cold but windless for the most part of the walk.








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