Stop Prohibiting Because I Can’t Disobey Everything

The Films of Gonzalo García-Pelayo

23 May - 25 June 2022 - Check programme
Organised by
Museo Reina Sofía andn Documenta Madrid (19th International Film Festival)
Curators
Chema González (Museo Reina Sofía) and Luis E. Parés (Cineteca Madrid)
Inside the framework of
TIZ 3. Political Matter

Museo Reina Sofía and Documenta Madrid, an international film festival promoted by Madrid City Council, organise a retrospective on the films made by Gonzalo García-Pelayo (Madrid, 1947) between 1976 and 1986. A cult film-maker, club promoter, music producer, professional gambler, editor and a speculator in the contemporary immaterial economy, García-Pelayo fits multiples lives into one. The facets mentioned condense a personal concept of film, understood as a form of existence based on vitalism, limitless desire, occurrences as a narrative strategy and insubordination to predictability, be it on a formal or political level.

The retrospective bears the title of the first of eleven contemporary films García-Pelayo made over twelve months, between 2021 and 2022, during “the year of eleven films” as he calls it. An unmatched tour de force that demonstrates how film is a way of life, first and foremost, before an industry or profession. These eleven productions are screened in the second part of this series, during September 2022. The title of the programme is also the slogan that best defines García-Pelayo’s filmic corpus and explains with greater clarity a fascination the film-maker has ignited among a young generation of film-makers, artists and producers who have retrieved his body of work, viewing it as the keystone of a heterodox genealogy of Spanish film-making since the 1970s, as well as a model with which to confront a numb society.

The historical films this series assembles are set in Spain’s changing, tumultuous society during the Transition to democracy, in the wake of the death of Francisco Franco and the country joining the European Economic Community (1975–1986). A time in which the cracks of the dictatorship’s political authoritarianism and moral conservatism reach the force of a thriving counterculture and youth’s utopian yearning to build a new society, qualities that run through García-Pelayo’s film-making. With this framework in mind, the series dispenses with a traditional historicist and revisionist orientation to situate the film-maker in a contemporary dialogue, in thematic sessions, with young artists and producers, his major themes reverberating among them: sex as a free territory, misfits and the socially marginalised as lucid and honest anti-heroes, the radical co-existence of the exalted and the popular and music — flamenco, psychodelia, sevillanas — as an eruption of the real in fiction. Among it all is a kindred spirit which transgresses forms and the limits of a self-righteous society in 1975. Or 2022 for that matter.

Programa

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Living in Seville. Film, 1978
Actividad pasada Monday, 23 May 2022 - 7pm
Session 1. Opening Lecture

The Inequation of Prime Numbers
—Conducted by Gonzalo García-Pelayo

Mathematics as a measurement of chance is behind major avant-garde art operations in the twentieth-century, such as Dadaism, Calculated Abstraction or Process Art. García-Pelayo would embark upon a similar path to Marcel Duchamp when he decided to turn a material accident, the factory specs of roulette tables, into a predictive method that would see him win in casinos around the world. It would also result in him being banned from different casinos, a battle the film-maker would later win in court, and lead to the manufacturing of new “anti-Pelayo” tables. In this master lecture, the film-maker picks apart the mathematical formula that has most interested him, that which expresses the primality of numbers; that is, a paradigm that is not based on what it is, equality or even numbers, but rather what it isn’t, the inequality of odd numbers. “For me, this formula has an aesthetic connection with my considerations inside counterculture, given that it would be an inequation of official culture”, the film-maker asserts.

Sabatini Building, Auditorium

144 people

Admission

Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on the penultimate working day before the activity. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open fifteen minutes before the activity

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Living in Seville. Film, 1978
Actividad pasada Wednesday, 25 May 2022 – 7pm / Second session: Friday, 10 June 2022 – 7pm
Session 2. Seville, Counterculture Capital, Despite the Sorrows

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Smash and Gong in Dom Gonzalo
Spain, 1968, colour, original version in Spanish, Super-8 transferred to digital, 4’30’’

Juana Dolores. Miss Universe
Spain, 2021, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 14’

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Living in Seville
Spain, 1978, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 108'

—Featuring a conversation between Gonzalo García-Pelayo and Paulino Viota in the second part

There is a counterculture that is unmistakeably southern — chaotic, carnivalesque, marginal, working class — with Seville its epicentre and its beginnings the Dom Gonzalo night club, founded by Gonzalo García-Pelayo in 1968. The session begins with the only existing Super-8 footage of this setting, shot by García-Pelayo, and with a Smash and Gong concert, two legendary bands that fused psychodelia and flamenco, a musical combination which the film-maker, also a music producer, worked on decisively. Living in Seville is a film-paean which outlines the instability of transition-to-democracy Spain (abuses of police power, squats, workers’ strikes) with an irrepressible urge to live and love. With echoes of Jean-Luc Godard in terms of youth and passion — Miguel is torn between Ana and Teresa — and also Jean-Marie Straub and Danielle Huillet in the use of language and directing actors, Living in Seville culminates in a reading of the Spanish Constitution, casting light on new cinema for a new era. The first of these sessions concludes with a talk by Juana Dolores on eroticism, inspired by Godard’s Masculin Féminin, and the sexual theories of Georges Bataille.

Sabatini Building, Auditorium

144 people

Admission

Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on the penultimate working day before the activity. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open thirty minutes before the activity

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Manuela. Film, 1975
Actividad pasada Friday, 27 May 2022 – 7pm / Second session: Saturday, 11 June 2022 – 7pm
Session 3. Mad Love

José Luis Tirado. Mother, Saint, Whore
Spain, 2019, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 24’

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Manuela
Spain, 1975, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 98'

—A concert performed by Laura Merchal in homage to Manuela in the second part

The session opens with a medium-length film by fellow Seville native José Luis Tirado, a work which explores the three roles monotheistic religions attribute to women — the giver of life, the carer and the whore provocateur of male desire — still substantially rooted and visible in contemporary patriarchal society. García-Pelayo’s film Manuela, meanwhile, played by Charo López — or maybe Charo López played by Manuela given the confusion between character and actress — is archetypal of these three roles. It is the director’s first film in an undertaking to make a film version of the same-titled novel by Manuel Halcón and would be the most commercial and arguably conventional of his entire filmography. Yet Pelayo manages to avoid prejudice or gender stereotypes to show the power of love as an implacable force amid the secular class struggles between tenant farmers and landowners that have dominated the Andalusian countryside throughout history. André Breton and his “mad love” and the sadistic imagery of Luis Buñuel hover over the film, although the wonderful flamenco dance at the beginning and the film’s transgressive ending with the most forbidden of taboos stare down any kind of reference point. 

Sabatini Building, Auditorium

144 people

Admission

Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on the penultimate working day before the activity. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open thirty minutes before the activity

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. In Front of the Sea. Film, 1979
Actividad pasada Saturday, 28 May 2022 – 7pm / Second session: Thursday, 16 June 2022 – 7pm
Session 4. The Liberation of Desire

Marta Valverde. Mad Things(work in progress)
Spain, 2022, colour, original version in Spanish and audio with a live intervention by the film-maker, DA, 22’

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Seafront
Spain, 1979, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 84'

Philosophical reflections which start from the quotidian and bodies freed in their desires, for, as García-Pelayo’s films remind us, revolution cannot exist without the emancipation of desires. Considered by Paulino Viota, a widely recognised maestro for the film-maker, to be “the most intelligent film in Spanish cinema”, three couples arrange to meet at a seafront house to engage in partner-swapping and, in passing, commemorate the burial of conservative double standards from the dictatorship. More than forty years on, this freedom contrasts with Mad Things, the personal diary of Marina, a 26-year-old woman studying an MA in Contemporary Art while working as a prostitute: Marta Valverde’s work in progress straddles audiovisual practice and performance, in which the sordid and the banal mix with sex, and where business is the only outlook. The second session will see Marta Valverde produce a live version of the piece.

Sabatini Building, Auditorium

144 people

Admission

Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on the penultimate working day before the activity. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open fifteen minutes before the screening

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Joyous Bullfights. Film, 1982
Actividad pasada Wednesday, 1 June 2022 – 7pm / Second session: Friday, 17 June 2022 – 7pm
Session 5. The Joys of Revolt

Ian de la Rosa. Farrucas
Spain, 2021, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 17’

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Joyous Spunking
Spain, 1982, colour, original version in Spanish with French subtitles, DA, 72’

—The first session features a conversation with Gonzalo García-Pelayo, moderated by film-maker María Gisèle Royo and artist Julia de Castro, the creators of a film-homage to Joyous Spunking. The second session features a conversation with Javier García-Pelayo.

The authenticity of the margins or the notion of difference experienced by Andalusian bulerías. Farrucas is the second feature-length film by young trans director Ian de la Rosa and depicts four gypsy and Moroccan teenage girls in the impoverished neighbourhood of El Puche in Almería. The hybrid identities of gender and race and those who gaze and those whom are gazed at combine with the desires and yearnings of these young women. Joyous Spunking, meanwhile, is a lo-fi road movie on the friendship between two lower-class anti-heroes and escape as a movement which gives life meaning. In the film, with its high tempo and music crossing the underground and the vernacular —two sides of the same coin for Gonzalo García-Pelayo— a gallery of glorious and incorruptible misfits swirl. 

Sabatini Building, Auditorium

144 people

Admission

Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on the penultimate working day before the activity. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open fifteen minutes before the screening

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Rocío and José. Film, 1982
Actividad pasada Thursday, 2 June 2022 – 7pm / Second session: Friday, 24 June 2022 – 7pm
Session 6. Between Ritual and Festivity I

Ignacio Guarderas. The Road to Rocío
Spain, 2020, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 20’

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Rocío and José
Spain, 1982, colour, original version in Spanish with French subtitles, DA, 85’

—A concert performed by the rociero group Madrid in homage to Rocío y José in the second part

Andalusian counterculture feeds off contradictions. Thus, there is nothing strange in the heretic and ultraorthodox church of El Palmar de Troya appearing in the underground fresco Living in Seville, in much the same way as this homage to the road to El Rocío. Synthesising the impressions of Gonzalo García-Pelayo’s twelve years of pilgrimage, Rocío and José looks at two brothers, one starting adolescence, the other well into adulthood, and how love arises for the younger one, José. On the flipside of the carnal desire of his early films, in Rocío and José landscape, the sounds of the road and sevillanas shape a mystical and ascetic poem. The session opens with Ignacio Guarderas, who carries on this anthropological gaze at El Rocío in a medium-length film on two screens which ranges over the stereotype-free natural and human landscape.

Sabatini Building, Auditorium

144 people

Admission

Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on the penultimate working day before the activity. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open fifteen minutes before the screening

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Three Roads to Rocío. Film, 1986
Actividad pasada Monday, 13 June 2022 – 7pm / Second session: Saturday, 25 June 2022 – 7pm
Session 7. Between Ritual and Festivity II

Concha Barquero y Alejandro Alvarado. Descartes
Spain, 2021, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 21’

Gonzalo García-Pelayo. Three Roads to Rocío
Spain, 1986, colour, original version in Spanish, DA, 53’. Courtesy of RTVE

—A presentation by Álvaro Arroba in the first part

Two films on the same theme shape the recent history of independent Spanish documentary-making: García-Pelayo’s Three Roads to Rocío and Rocío (1980), Fernando Ruiz Vergara’s censored film. In this session, Descartes is screened, a documentary made from the film reels of this film rejected by the film-maker and found by Barquero and Alvarado recently in the archive of Filmoteca Española. Both films and their epigones respond to two ways of living: Protestant and Catholic, as García-Pelayo asserts. The first renounces mundane pleasure over the fear of guilt or the manipulative ends that hide these pleasures. The second participates in the sensuality offered by these pleasures and being aware that, although they abide by dark ideological interests, glee always deserves penance. There is an issue with Ruiz Vergara’s Rocío: “he is the Protestant version, and I am the Catholic version”, García-Pelayo claims. This session denotes a clash between both belief systems.

Sabatini Building, Auditorium

144 people

Admission

Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on the penultimate working day before the activity. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open fifteen minutes before the activity