Few creative tandems are as strong as Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Isa Peña. Together they created one of the best series in the history of Spanish television, Antimutiny, and films that have marked Spanish cinema in recent years, such as Kingdom or God Forgive Us. They spoil stories to the smallest detail, fight and protect them. Out of his head is now born another title to remember. It is called As bestas, and with it they managed to get to the Cannes Film Festival in the Cannes Premiere section.
A rural thriller that acts as a metaphor for Europe, pointing to immigrants. It instills hatred for the other. An increasingly masculinized society where the only solution is to make everything feminized. But as always in his films, everything is not so simple, everything is more ambiguous. There are more conflicts in the background. It’s very easy to have principles when you have the privilege. Money allows you to be true to your ideas, but when you live in poverty, everything ends. All this through a story based on a real event of a conflict between two brothers and a Frenchman who moves to a Galician village. The newcomer opposes the installation of windmills. Those born in the city see this money as an opportunity to escape. A sluggish thriller begins, where Sorogoyen turns to the western to make his best film, and the most gritty one at that. The tension builds until the inevitable happens.
Sorogoyen and Isa Peña visit the Spanish press a few hours before the film’s premiere. They’ve already crossed off that box that every director has of being in Cannes, but they think it’s not a matter of ego, but that everyone dreams of “being here.” “It’s a dream come true, as we found ourselves in an emotional ecstasy, and now we’re living it,” he says. “Good ambition,” as his partner put it.
The script began to be written back in 2015, although it seems that the future was foreseen for him. The rural thriller has an x-ray of the issues and how the far right is exploiting fear of difference. “In these six years, we have taken the opportunity to approach the script from time to time. This gave us distance, which is a luxury that you often don’t have and that allows you to run into scenario decisions that sometimes get a lot old. Also, it allows you to escalate themes that were already there, but now there are more of them, and this is happening with a theme that Europe has regressed, and time has allowed us to sharpen and deepen it,” Isabelle Peña explains about the scriptwriting process. .
In a thriller where masculine energy is expressed through violence, the problem is solved by women. All thanks to a change of point of view that turns the film upside down and uplifts it. Sorogoyen explains that they realized that As bestas “is a movie that talks about a lot of issues” and they needed to find a way “so that they don’t seem stoned”. But they all arose from this news: “Male and feminine, violence, xenophobia and the idea of homeland, which I am very interested in, to whom the land belongs more, to whom it is dear or to the one who was born there.”
These six years we have taken the opportunity to get close to the script from time to time. This gave us distance, which is a luxury that you often don’t have.
That’s why they were interested in this female twist, because it was always clear to them that “she was the main character.” “It’s deepened over the years, but if the film was about violence between men in the countryside, it’s already been done, and very well done, we knew we had to change the story to fit that, and that made it interesting,” Moat. The turn they take with a radical break in perspective, a memory that they love and that they already made in Stockholm and God forgive us. “The fact is that this is our obsession, we talk about films even when we go to the cinema,” says Isabelle Peña.
His next project was to be another series. A Civil War project that Movistar+ announced with great fanfare and which was canceled after a year and a half of work by Sorogoyen and Isa Peña. They do not shy away from the question of what happened and confirm that it was a cancellation, which they see as politically motivated: “What happened…? Well, Movistar canceled it. For political reasons? We assume so. The civil war, unfortunately, is the most painful topic in this country. We optimistically thought that everything had changed, but the leadership decided not to talk about the Civil War.”
Isa Peña adds that after a year and a half, they thought there would be no problems and that they would share this cancellation by trying to “do it in the future, whether in the short, medium or long term.” “We will try to resume it, because there is a lot of work, and this is very good. We are passionate about it and want to do it. We are going to ask other people to help us raise it and hopefully it will happen,” he says.
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