Viggo, 16 May:
Lisandro arrived yesterday in Cannes, and Fabián arrives tomorrow. I arrived today at midnight. I brought a kilo of yerba just in case, and so did Lisandro, so we´ll have more than enough maté.
We talked for a while about the festival on the little terrace of our rented apartment, having some chilled white wine from Provence with Esteban Bigliardi, who plays "Ángel Milkibar" in Jauja
, and Ilse Hughan, our Dutch co-producer. They probably will be the last more or less peaceful moments of our stay in Cannes. I hung the San Lorenzo flags so Fabián will feel comfortable when he arrives. Because of the air traffic controllers strike in France, my flight from Madrid was delayed several hours. It was worse for you, Lisandro, having to wait with your family in Paris after your long flight from Buenos Aires, finally forced to take a train to get to Nice. Let´s hope Fabián will have better luck tomorrow, since they are saying in the media that the strike is going to end. The apartment we rented for these days has two bedrooms, one for Lisandro´s family, and the other for us Cuervos. The Danish Viilbjørk and her mother Petrine are in another apartment near Ghita´s hotel. The festival only gave us one hotel room, and we gave it to her. This way we´ll have access to the Carlton, a very refined hotel, to its bar and to Ghita´s room to hold emergency parties. Tomorrow we are going to gather here in our apartment with Ghita and Viilbjørk to talk to the Danish press. We already have cheese, cold meat, mussels and herring to make Scandinavian appetizers. We need some more beer and aquavit, the Danish liquor. We´ll get everything. We have already decorated the walls of the house for the event.
I quit smoking a week ago. I'm having a hell of a time staying clean in this constantly growing circus in this capital of cinematic promotion, but I'm going to try to keep the promise I made to myself. I suppose it will be a little strange for you all to see me without a cigarette butt, since I've always been the walking chimney of our trio. We'll see whether I can resist the temptation and you'll get used to seeing me without smoke.
P.S. The movie poster is beautiful. And when I say "the," it's not just a manner of speaking. There is only ONE poster. We saw it in the office of the director of the section "Un Certain Regard." When I asked where I could get one to bring home, they told me it was the only one and they had to keep it there. If the movie does well, THE poster is going to be a very valuable object!
Fabián, 17 May:
Saturday. Outdoors. Light. I've just left the airport and taken the connector. It strikes me that they aren't stopping me or hindering me in any way and that they aren't searching me down to the soles of my shoes. When I finally reach the airport in Nice, an older man is waiting for me, with a handwritten sign with my name on it. In two more hours, I'll be with Viggo making a similarsign, but that says "We want the Cup," written by hand in pencil, pen and marker.
I'm bringing two suits and shirts in my suitcase. Guadalupe, my wife, says it'll be very hot in Cannes and also that everyone will be very well dressed. I tell her that Lisandro won't be well dressed because he doesn't care about clothes, and she tells me that he'll absolutely have to dress up to go on the red carpet and things like that. The combination of heat and elegance makes me think that Cannes must be an African region full of models. I finally get to the house and Viggo and Lisandro are waiting for me. We hug. We're together in a roomy, comfortable apartment.
I remember that Viggo told me while we were filming the movie that one of Lisandro's greatest virtues is creating families at work. And there is something of that. We're together to watch the movie, but there's also a deep pleasure in seeing each other, interacting, eating, chatting, drinking maté, smoking. We finish out the night in a Vietnamese restaurant that the Mexican producers of the film invite us to. The food is extraordinary. I fall asleep standing up.
Viggo, 17 May
I went with Lisandro to the private event for the possible purchasers of our film, there in the huge cinematic bazaar of the festival. It's the fourth time that I've come to Cannes (I came previously in 2001 to promote the pre-release of The Lord of the Rings
, in 2005 with A History of Violence
and in 2012 with On The Road
, but I've never seen the insanity of the great market for all kinds of cinema at such close range. Since I am the producer responsible for the North American rights for Jauja,
I wanted to see which of the potential gringo distributors had come to see the movie. It was interesting watching people entering and a little more than an hour and a half later, watching them begin to leave the small theatre. Normally, according to what other producers had told me, the buyers enter and leave viewings, seeing a little of each film, talking on the telephone and sending text messages all the time, but in this case almost all of them stayed until the end. When they came out, they were talking among themselves about Jauja,
many of them smiling. "It seems to me that it interested them. It could be a very good sign for the official premiere tomorrow in the Debussy theatre," I told Lisandro and Fiorella Moretti, the head of international sales for our movie. Let's see if we're lucky.
In the afternoon we got the actors, Helle Ulsteen, our Danish producer, Lisandro and Fabián together in the dining room of our apartment to talk with a dozen Danish journalists. We spoke Danish, but also quite a lot of English so everybody could understand. The journalists hadn't seen the movie yet, which left them at a bit of a disadvantage, so we told them whatever. Several of them will come to the official premiere tomorrow, so I don't know if everything we told them today will make any sense. We told a lot of jokes while we drank beer, wine and a little whisky with them. We described the beautiful places and tremendous conditions of the shoot. We laughed a lot and the guests stayed a good while. Who knows what they are going to say about our crew in their magazines, on their television and radio programs. I think they had a good time. At least it wasn't the usual press conference, set up in a conference room at a La Croisette hotel.
Ghita had fun telling, in great detail, how she'd learned to inseminate pigs in Denmark some forty years ago, at the farm of a boyfriend she had at the time. She said that she inseminated better than the professionals, and that all the men on the farm were astonished at the apparently inborn talent she had for inserting significant quantities of semen into the pigs without upsetting them. The key would have been her voice, which is impressive, seductive, as you can hear in our movie. I'm sure it hypnotized the pigs. Fabián, newly arrived from Buenos Aires by way of Paris, was suffering from brutal jet lag, which gave him a mysterious air, with his gaze lost on the maritime horizon beyond the window next to the sofa he'd sunk into. For the Danish journalists, it must have been perfectly clear that the gentleman sunk in a sort of deep trance had to be the author - with his lovely ironed shirt, his scarf, his impenetrable glasses, his enigmatic smile, his gently murmured and slightly formal English - or a complete madman. Lisandro told them about the good fortune he'd had on the island of Sjælland in finding the property on which he could film the sequences in the castle and its forests with Viilbjørk, and about the fourteen dogs they had to manage for one of those Danish sequences. Many amusing things about the filming in Argentina were recounted. We even talked about our visit with Ghita to Ole Frijs Madsen, the Danish ambassador in Buenos Aires. When the ambassador found out that the Dansk Filminstitut (the Danish Film Institute) had denied us their support, the guy wanted to mount a crusade to obtain their official participation. We thanked him and told him it wasn't necessary, that we already had the support of INCAA, the Argentine film institute, and that we'd take care of the rest. We managed to make him and all of his family supporters of San Lorenzo. The morning after the party the ambassador had put on for us, we stopped by his reception desk and left him Cuervo shirts and tickets for the next CASLA match. Fortunately, we won that match, and now the Madsens, who had a very good time at our field, are super-Cuervos.
Lisandro, 18 May
8:35 a.m., I go tearing out to do the technical check of the film. At 9 a.m. I meet up with Alex, the technical manager of the festival, a Spaniard with very good vibes who I'd already met in 2001 when I presented my first film in the same "Un certain regard." I was still feeling the effects of the previous night, but we remembered our collaboration from 13 years ago and we smiled…
Let's return to 2014 in Cannes: there's not time for much, there never is, but now we've grown up and it seems that we are mature enough to do the technical test as it should be done... I see the projection of the film in a theatre for the first time. I'm thrilled by how incredible everything that I'm seeing and hearing is. I'm thinking - this cannot fail!
- and we bring the test in the Debussy theatre to a conclusion. We head out with the same group as before, to which have been added Sylvie Pialat, the French co-producer, and her assistant Christophe. Also little Céline, Jauja's
press manager for France. We arrive at the second theatre called Bazin and we repeat the picture and sound tests. I again repeat to myself that this cannot fail.
I leave for the meeting with the rest of the contingent that's going to the official photo call. We meet at the Hotel Carlton with Ghita, Viilbjørk, Fabián, Esteban and Viggo, plus some of the other producers. We leave through the back entrance of the Carlton to get into the official festival cars. Just before that, we see rushing by in a careless style similar to Viggo's, none other than Roman Polanski. I can't believe my eyes. I admire the Pole a lot. I see his back vanishing, hurrying off. Adiós, Polanski. Nice to meet you.
We get into our separate cars...we make a few turns until we reach a street parallel to the harbour where Viggo gets out and the people clamour for him. We are next door to the casino which is embedded in the Palais where the festival is held. It's strange that the casino and the theatre are conjoined like Siamese twins. Well, the thing is that we all get out of our respective Renaults and the screaming begins...it's all about seeing if a star appears, very little for the film itself, it seems. I saw Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, David Cronenberg, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and others whose names I don't remember wandering around the complex. They give a certain color to the day of our party for Jauja,
an amazing day for having our pictures taken for a while in the open air, sunny and with little wind. It seems like there are thousands of photographers, madness. On arriving at the counter, where the two photographer stalls are, behind us and in front of us the rain of shouts and flashes begin. It didn't matter much to me, truly, and I concentrated on watching the work of Viggo, Ghita, Viilbjørk, Fabián and Esteban Bigliardi until I'm asked to pose with Viggo. He, of course, had already pulled out his San Lorenzo flag for the occasion.
I recalled Patagonia where we'd filmed, how we slept outside and of the nights we had, and every once in a while I glanced out of the corner of my eye where Monica Bellucci was being photographed in a heart-stopping red dress with black polka dots. I love Monica. Viggo greets her...he's my producer, I thought...great. It's only a matter of time; I'm going to meet her. Later, from Buenos Aires, I'm going to be sorry, because we never saw her again. Cannes is like that. We are posed in different ways, making little mixed groups among the Jauja
contingent, first one and then the others. End of the photo-call.
We go in a convoy to a special lunch where I remain alone with Viggo and Ghita for a few minutes at some kind of restaurant called Agora inside a big tent next to the beach. A short while later, Alberto Barbera, the director of the Venice Festival, approaches us. I greet him and soon we begin a very entertaining chat with Viggo about festivals in general. Venice, Cannes, Toronto and others. I suddenly interrupt him and ask him if he couldn't invite me to be on a jury at Venice, that I don't want to come to the Cannes festival anymore. He looks at me a little perplexed. We tell him a few jokes and then he tells us that the jury thing would be great and that he also wants to invite Viggo. Viggo says that he doesn't like to judge art. We go on laughing until the arrival of the Danes, Mads Mikkelsen and director Kristian Levring with whom he shot Salvation
, a Danish western that's being shown out of the competition here at Cannes. I entertain myself by drinking a little wine while Ghita, Viggo and the other Danes laugh and act like they're at home.
Mikkelsen seems very nice, a guy with a good sense of humor like the film's director. A short while later, we're going to sit down together for lunch. It's a buffet and I leave dish in hand to get myself some tomatoes and a piece of bread. I arrive at the buffet and I'm surprised that Thierry Frémaux, the festival manager, is next to me. I don't speak, I remain stupefied and it makes for a complicated silence. A silence wrapped around a whole lot of twists and turns - the suggestions on his part weeks ago with respect to the film, my reactions. Anyway, the peculiarities of a festival director. We go on without talking and I realize that it can't be any other way, that I can't talk at a given moment if I don't have any affinity with the person in front of me. His French comes to life and I hear "Bon appétit," and little more.
It's going to be a very long day. It's just 2:15 when we're leaving the Agora and we had to leave our great Ghita Nørby in the hands of Esteban Bigliardi. He's going to take her to the bar at the Hotel Majestic while Viggo and I rush off to our apartment to get dressed up for the premiere. We excuse ourselves and say that we'll return to the bar right away and Bigliardi yells at us in English in the middle of La Croisette, "Get out of here you bastards!"
It makes us laugh but there's not time to celebrate much. We go running out to our lair to change and meet Fabián, my wife Coca, my son Román and Julieta who helps us take care of him.
Fabián, 18 May
Viggo, is a mandrill [tr. note: kind of baboon] with a red ass (in his case, red and blue) who doesn't stop for a minute, even though he has been up since early this morning. We drink maté while we get dressed for the photo call and then we go to a huge hotel where they are interviewing the Danish actresses. There are people in the room talking in many languages, cameramen, a makeup artist, people from Scandinavian TV. I practice my esperanto - which is to say, I speak slowly in Spanish so that everyone understands me. When we leave the hotel, someone bumps into me in the lobby, a midget who is rushing by. It's Roman Polanski, who runs faster than Angelito di María. Outside Stallone is on top of a tank to promote a new movie. I suppose that promoting a Hollywood tank up on a tank is tautological. Viggo tells me that he's going to tell everyone that I am the Duke di Casla, a specialized producer. I've put on a light suit, dark glasses and a scarf at the neck. Cannes, in the streets, is replete with James Bonds. We get into a car, [then] get out so that a whole lot of photographers can take our picture. We pull out a Ciclón flag that Viggo takes everywhere. It attracts the attention of people that we're doing that, but it doesn't attract the attention of the long line of photographers shouting, "Viggo, Viggo, Viggo, look at me," or the people who've been standing on plastic benches since early in the day to see celebrities, or the stupidity of the red carpet or that the films will be examined by a jury and scored like sporting events. Viggo and I seem like two clowns to them. Cannes and its paraphernalia is understood, but not us.
Viggo, 18 May
When we had to go looking for Ghita and Viilbjørk at the Carlton to go to the photo call, we couldn't enter the hotel because there were thousands of people watching the arrival of Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Schwarzenegger, Banderas and other pals from the action film, The Expendables
, in those military tanks that you mentioned, Fabián. We had to wait for them outside, far from the security perimeter constructed for those crazies. We went into a bar across from the hotel, and there we found a beautiful picture with Ciclón colors and three somewhat nervous stags who could exactly be the three of us at Cannes. I take a photo of it and point out that it's called La somme de nos amours
(The Sum of Our Loves).
The Danish women finally came out and we could go to the photo call and then to that lunch with some of the other participants in the festival, including Polanski, Almodóvar, Mikkelsen and some Chinese that I don't know. Later Lisandro and I ran to change for the premiere. We met up with all our people at the bar of the Majestic to wait for the official cars that were going to take us to the screening. The Mexican producers appeared with mezcal drinks in little plastic bags. We drank several to be polite. The mezcal has a good taste. The hour arrived. As consolation (I think) for not being in the first category of the competition, Theirry Frémaux has granted the Jauja
crew special permission to make its entrance in a big way on the Palais' red carpet, like I've done other times with Cronenberg and Walter Salles in the official selection. A very nice gesture from Thierry; it's an unexpected honor. In the end, our cars don't arrive and we decide to go on foot. So we make our way on our own which is better really. There are plenty of photographers; the sun is shining. Fabián and I pull out our little poster and slowly we go up to be officially received by Frémaux. A lot of applause. The music is from a song that I recorded with the extraordinary guitarist Buckethead, one that we didn't use in the movie. Playing it for the red carpet was Lisandro's idea. The song is lovely; it calms us down.
We enter the Palais and they direct us along a corridor to a nearby theatre, the Debussy. We wait a little while, somewhat anxiously, while we admire a beautiful photo taken by Guadalupe of Lisandro in La Loberia that they hung in the lobby next to the other directors competing in "Un certain regard."
They finally invite us to enter the projection room. Frémaux speaks of his appreciation of Argentine cinema and names the president of the jury, Pablo Trapero. Afterwards, he introduces our group of international producers and finally Lisandro, Fabián and the actors. Thierry passes me the microphone, saying that I am the film's producer. I offer it to Lisandro, but he indicates to me with a nod of the head that I should talk. I want to say that, whatever happens with the jury and the press, our film and Lisandro's work clearly demonstrate that Tarkovsky is not dead, but I start off with "We want the Cup; it's that simple." Hardly anyone understands what I'm referring to and those that do probably think I'm a complete fool, but Fabián and Lisandro laugh. I think that I should talk about the many important things to underscore what's been accomplished with Jauja
, but I decide that there is nothing to explain, and art, never. I make do with saying that our international crew feels proud to present this film and that, since this whole journey originated in Lisandro's head, he is the one who should say something about the film if he likes. Our director takes the microphone and says, "Nothing...thanks. I hope you will like our movie." That's it, nothing more, as it should be. I take a seat among my compatriots Ghita and Viilbjørk. People laugh several times, the Danes the most. It's because the film, besides being beautiful and profound, has very Danish humor, dry and ironic. Dinesen is a kind of Scandinavian Quixote. At the end, there's a prolonged silence in the theatre and then loud applause begins. To see the movie finished with image and sound for the first time has been moving. I feel very proud of what we just finished presenting. The Danish actresses killed it in this story, the Argentine actors were wonderful, Timo's photography has a terrible beauty and Lisandro's pacing is impeccable and unique. There are no words. They applaud us for a long time. No one leaves the theatre until the Jauja
family decides to leave. Lisandro pulls out a bottle of mezcal that he was carrying in the pocket of his jacket and offers a drink to all of us while the applause fades away. He didn't want to go in a suit jacket, but I loaned him mine. Coca, Fabián and I are glad, because Lisandro looks handsome as it should be and very happy. Now he can enjoy the well-deserved public recognition of his hard work. We go to the party which is full of people we don't know, with some friend elbowing his way through the crowd with his mojito or champagne. Before immersing ourselves completely in the throng, we decide to go to have some dinner in a dining room next to the bar with Coca, Lisandro, Fabián, Ilse and others. Those who have those modern phones look at tweets and I don´t know what other things that tell you immediately what´s being said about anything anywhere on the planet. It seems that the initial word of mouth regarding Jauja
is almost unanimously positive. Several people who have just seen the film, even some journalists, have already written that Lisandro has made a masterpiece and that the movie should be competing for the Palm D´Or. Some say that, so far, it´s the best film of the festival. I thought that Jauja
was going to divide opinion much more, that half of the people would say it was great and the other [half] that it was very strange and incomprehensible. We are all very happy.
Fabián, 19 May
They showed the film yesterday. It was an intense thrill to see it with my dear ones who are part of the crew. The impact was remarkable. Tonight, with Viggo, after a dinner and a party that were held, we watched the match between CASLA and Vélez late at night on the laptop. We lost and it ruined our night. Lisandro came into our room to find out why we were shouting so much at 3 in the morning. Zárate had just finished killing us with another goal. Lisandro took a picture of us with his phone, and then left the Cuerva cave and went back to his room.
Tomorrow is my last day in Cannes. I´m thinking a lot about that day when I met Lisandro and we started thinking about making this film. Cinema is something collective, demented. There are many lives hanging by a thread so a film can be made, for this to end well. Now the film doesn´t belong to us anymore and it has begun its journey on its own. In the mind of the audience, in the festivals. And Captain Dinesen? Where will he be? And his daughter? Will he have gotten rid of Zuluaga? And the coconut heads? Everything continues in a parallel life.
Viggo, 20 May
This morning, the same as yesterday, we did a lot of interviews with the international press. The journalists said very positive things about Jauja
. In the daily list of the International Critics Association, the FIPRESCI (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique,) our film is above all those in the Palm D´Or category and our own [category] "Un certain regard."
As I said just before Fabián and I left for the airport, it wouldn´t surprise me if this organisation gave the critics' award to Jauja
. On the other hand, I think it´s quite unlikely that the jury presided over by Trapero would give anything to Lisandro. Now I´m flying to Madrid, and our trip to Cannes seems like a dream, as imaginary and destabilizing as Dinesen´s odyssey. Now I just want to go back home, like our captain - and Homer´s: "I decided then to raise my pleas to all the gods with the hope that one of them would show me the possible route back."
Lisandro, 23 May
Here I am hugging other directors when we found out that we didn't win any prize in "Un certain Regard." At the other end of the table is Abderrahmane Sissako, who participated in the competition with a great film that's called Timbuktu. He, unfortunately, didn't get any recognition from his jury either.
Viggo, 24 May
Fabián has returned to Buenos Aires and I to Madrid. Lisandro is staying on in Cannes with his family. They return to Argentina on Monday. Yesterday FIPRESCI [tr. note: International Federation of Film Critics] awarded us as the best film in "Un certain regard", and the critics and articles that continue coming out everywhere never stop praising Lisandro's work. I was beginning to think that yes, the jury might give him the award as best director, but in the end, they didn't give Jauja
anything more. The jury prizes went to other films in our section, films that had generally received reviews quite inferior to ours. Some of those films are probably good too. What do I know...
Lisandro just wrote me the following: "Very unusual. I have no words about the jury, but I wanted to write you quickly about all the admiration that I have for you as people and the artists that you are. I'm always going to be grateful to you! I am proud of being able to tell my son Ramón that we worked together on the same project. To the health of our work! I love you very much."
Lisandro is breaking my balls because I often make the mistake of calling his kid "Ramón" instead of Román. Lisandro's family is for River Plate, although soccer isn't very important to Lisandro, and I think that the coach of the Gallinas, El Pelado
, Ramón Diaz comes to mind. It's not fair that I make a mistake like that and I don't know why I do it. El Pelado
is an egotistical jackass and Román is an angel.
Well, I hope that your little angel is breathing better, because last night you told me that he has an allergy to something there in Cannes. Tell Román not to worry about anything, that we too are a little allergic to Cannes right now. A kiss for him and for Coca. Fabián please give kisses to Guada and Anita.
Dear friends, the jury doesn't matter at all. I'm sticking with what the FIPRESCI jury published this morning:
created an original fantasy world with a landscape of passion, dreams and inner truth."