WE LEAVE ARAGON
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We leave Aragon.
 

The Aragonese shooting finishes in Belchite Viejo, that town that was bombed in the summer of 1937 by the Republican Army, the ruins of which are still standing skeletal; with corpse-like eye windows that allow a deep blue sky to penetrate. We are now shooting Uncertain Glory. It is 38 Celsius degrees and the snow-foam that comes out of the water hoses from a fire engine, kindly lent by the city council of Zaragoza, melts very fast. The scene in the film depicts an abandoned village left hurriedly by its inhabitants due to the fear of bombs. The town is divided by a wire fence with the Republicans at one side and the Nationalists at the other one. –It was just like this-, say the mayor of the town hall. The soldiers from both sides gather on their right side of the fence. Lluís (Marcel Borràs) has found a cardboard horse,  he is taking it for his son when a rattle at the other side surprises him and makes him draw his weapon out. Wrapped up in a thick cloak the enemy soldier bursts out in a sound laugh. He is Soleràs (Oriol Pla), his soul mate. What is he doing on the enemy side? As in The Third Man when Joseph Cotten discovers Orson Welles in a devastated Vienna, our Uncertain Glory is a story of deep friendship that comes up against the ethical confrontations of the main characters. We repeat Soleràs’ laughter several times so that it hurts, booming, even more. It is the ritual of the deathly silence demanded by the sound technician. We have dinner under the awning shelter as it gets dark and the shooting begins again: Action! Cut! Good! I do not lose sight of Agustí, who seems calmed now, but he starts feeling, like the whole team, the burden of days and days of filming. I lock myself up in the makeshift production office to go over the figures again and again with Aleix and Gaiska, our Aragonese partner, unitl we hear people clapping. It’s over for today.

I refuse to leave Belchite without a long walk along the destroyed village street. The spotlights have gone out and I can see the waning moon shining clear above my head. How the eyes get accustomed to the darkness! Under the canopy of heaven I walk and walk until the voices of the team extinguish. The spectrum of buildings with the silence of the night are even more impressive. It is hard to believe that there had been so much life in here! I stumble upon some stairs that lead me to the inside of the church’s village, I recognize it by the arches and by the collapsed vault which as a huge round mouth allows the clean sky full of stars to enter. What an infinity that moment possesses! The mobile phone rings and it frightens me. It’s Maria. – Isona, where are you? They close the gate and everyone is gone! I knew it! Now I do turn on the mobile phone’s lantern to come back by the same path at a run and not stumble across the last stretch with the burned objects that we have scattered on the ground: books, chairs, pieces of carriages. I go through the Republican side of the town, here I have not doubt.

The next day we return to Barcelona and drive down the road bordering the miles and miles of the Monegro’s elephant skin. Monegros must be loved; with this stony rotundity that we will not forget, as we will not forget the unconditional support of the Aragonese authorities and people who have made Uncertain Glory their movie. From next week on we will finish filming in Catalonia. And the scenes that come are a hard work, a challenge that we wish to face with all our soul!

 

Isona Passola

 
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