Juan Antonio Bardem (Madrid) was a director and screenwriter. But behind his smile and strong willpower, there was a man insecure and struggling with financial difficulties. After his first moment of fame, he had four children and had to feed his family. He had to deal not only with censorship but also with food movies and the demands of falling stars. Yes, we are talking about Sara Montiel. Bardem lived a life of corruption despite being a communist with firm convictions. Fernando Mendez Leite, the new president at the Film Academy, called him "the last to turn off light in the PCE". He signed films of great commercial success and masterpieces. His centenary coincided with the birth of 'Juan Antonio Bardem. In handwriting, work diary and other writings (Ocho y medio), a collection that includes criticism, notes and unpublished words from the filmmaker.
Bardem was a bold, innovative man, a friend, and a pleasant conversationalist. He was misunderstood in the film industry. Mendez-Leite calls him a "pioneer" of an ambitious, testimonial cinema during the age of holy queens or gypsy wores.
Maria, his daughter, and screenwriter Diego Sabanes, as well as Jorge Castillejo (documentary filmmaker and researcher), have exurgated the diaries of her father and all documentation kept in the National Film Library archive. The institution housed sixty boxes of documents, as Juan Antonio Bardem was a devoted graphomaniac. In the hope that his children wouldn't read them, he wrote everything down in his diaries. Maria de ella, her daughter, is a'scriptor' by profession and something that seems like a supervisor for film continuity. She had to swallow many frogs while reading fragments from her father's writings. Although she was tempting to take on the role of censor, she refused to expose the weaknesses of her father, who was a director who won the film festival and was a member the Cannes jury at thirty-something. But that reputation has disappeared. It was difficult to understand why, as one of the architects for 'Viridiana,' the man who convinced Bunuel in Spain to film, now that he is the co-writer of Welcome, Mister Marshall,' he has to make films to the greater glory and Rocio Durcal and Marisol.
Bardem was already warned to be cautious around Sara Montiel. The shooting diary of "Varietes" (1971) shows that he is able to manage the singer and actress with his left hand. A 'playback' for Sara is a mysterious and sacred ritual in which she is consecrated as a priestess. She is afraid of her body, her wrinkles and of everything... but she fights to keep her old ways of acting out her past successes. He is learning a lot from me, and I hope he finds humor and smiles in my lessons. She writes that musicals are my favorite.
Juan Antonio Bardem. Film director and screenwriter
It has been a long time since he declared in Salamanca in 1955 that the terrible sentence that described Spanish cinema in bitter terms was true. A cinema that is "politically ineffective, socially false, intellectually negligible, artistically, null and industrially rickety>> These words are no longer relevant, but there are still concerns, including the need to create new laws to protect the sector. We need a new position for the State before the cinema. The State doesn't see him as an enemy. It does not limit him.
Juan Antonio Bardem was not a man who experienced any ideological change. Politically, he said the same thing in the 1950s and 1980s. Some of his reflections, despite his rigidity, are accurate. Diego Sabanes believes that this is the way it is. He assures that both his words about collective imaginaries being saved and his denial of distribution deficiencies have not lost their relevance.
Many people don't know that "The House of Bernarda Alba" was first performed in Spain 28 years after Garcia Lorca's death. Who was responsible for directing it? Bardem, who only managed two theatrical productions in his life, was the one responsible for directing them. Bardem had expressed an interest in the production of the play on the big screen several years before, but it, like many other projects, did not come to fruition. He directed a miniseries about Lorca's life in the eighties, which was one of his final international successes.
Maria Bardem has been the one to suffer the most from this task of separating grain from chaff in her father’s documents. She was determined to preserve her memories, even if it meant that some details were left out. She says, "I have had to read things she shouldn't have read."