By Fabián Casas and Viggo Mortensen - translated by Ollie and Zoe
30 August 2014
Last night I was coughing a lot and I almost couldn´t sleep. I suppose it was the cold I caught the day of the Cup in the stadium from four in the afternoon until midnight. On top of that when the nervous tension decreased, I felt my body disintegrating like Yugoslavia after the death of Marshal Tito. And today I had to get up just the same, get Anita dressed, convince her that she had to go to school, get Rita, go out the three of us, take her, leave her at the school, and just when I sat down with Rita on a sidewalk café to read the newspaper, I read about Romagnoli and a huge, infinite joy got hold of me; he´s the best! Our first incorporation for this six months is Pipi!
I fantasize that Piatti will get bored in Canada and come back.
And... I think that Piatti is already looking for a way to escape from Montreal to play in the Club World Cup in Morocco this December. It's logical because these opportunities rarely happen to a player more than once. That's why Pipi has cut himself off from Bahía and that's why Nacho wants to be with CASLA too. But we need to forget about that tournament at the moment and the Copa Libertadores that we won as well. The team is somewhat gutted by the players that we've lost and by a lack of focus. I think that Bauza and the team veterans can turn the situation around and be able to fight in the local tournaments and the Copa Argentina, but with two defeats, they can't wait any longer. Luckily we have Pichi Mercier, an exemplary player who always seeks cohesion with his teammates, and leads the group through his enormous dedication at all times. He´s a bull. He could anchor the defence of any great team in the world. It seems to me that there is no San Lorenzo player who has been better for the collective game of the club than Mercier during the past two years. The combination we had with Piatti/Romagnoli/Mercier was very reliable. Let´s see if Pichi and Pipi can rebuild that magic with their teammates. Buffarini will be key. I hope that Mercier stays a while in Boedo. It's a pity that he won't be playing the next match because of his expulsion over Banfield. Bauza said in an interview after the defeat against Taladro that San Lorenzo seemed to have returned to the recent past, a negative version of the team. It's true. They demonstrated superiority in handling the ball and the quality of their moves into the opponent's area, but they made us remember those lost opportunities, the inability to aim correctly for the last year and a half. I've also said that sometimes, but it's the cry-baby thing. They have to put on their boots and go out to overcome this bad streak, but right now!
Henry came to Las Cruces to visit me on his way back from Oklahoma where he had left the girls from the punk band Skating Polly. After a tour around the whole North American West, recording the concerts and part of the car trips with them for a documentary he´s making, Henry was going back to Los Angeles. It was very nice to see him and spend a few days together. The only negative thing is that he arrived with the flu and gave it to me. I was in bed the whole weekend, but it´s gone now. This week I have to get in shape because I have to travel to Venice to present Loin des hommes, the French movie we made in Morocco last year, and return immediately afterwards to finish our shoot here and in Seattle. From there, I'm leaving for the Toronto Festival to present Jauja with Lisandro, etc… anyway, I'm going to have a couple of very crazy months with a lot of flying and a lot of interviews. I saw a little of what Henry recorded of Skating Polly. It's great. He has a very quiet way of speaking with these two geniuses, Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse; I think that a lovely documentary could come out of this trip.
August, 2014: Henry with Kelli, Peyton and a ….
© Henry Mortensen.
Henry's mom, Exene, met them a few years ago, when these incredible creatures from Oklahoma City were just starting out and she produced their second CD, Lost Wonderfuls. Kelli and Peyton were 10 and 15 years old at that time and Exene was surprised by the talent of these kids and the almost encyclopedic knowledge they had about punk rock. When I saw them in concert in Olympia, Washington two weeks ago, I noticed that the musicians who'd played earlier that night, generally young men between 20 and 30, were in the first row, studying what these kids were doing, amazed, as I was. They seem a little like Bikini Kill, for example, but they write better lyrics and have a very special presence, apart from being so young. I'm sending you some videos of their songs. The first one is called "Alabama Movies" from the new CD, Fuzz Steilacoom. The second, "Lost Wonderfuls," the third, "Placer" and the fourth, "Blue Obvious"come from the CD produced by Exene. Lastly, a video of them listening the first time they put one of their songs on the radio.
© Skating Polly.
with Kodi in 2008.
© 2929/Dimension Films.
Henry looks so good in the photo you sent me; I hope I'll be able to meet him someday. When I leave work, I'll listen to the girls. Sunday I saw the match against Banfield and it seemed to me that CASLA still had its mind on other things. Bauza is going to have to stop the ball and begin to pull the team together. They left, as you say, many and good ones. Now we have to get Cauteruccio, Verón, Barrientos, among others, back playing again and put the champions of the Americas back in competition on the pitch. San Lorenzo has a great team. Today I bought you the magazines that you asked for. Do you want me to send them to you somewhere? Saturday I had a very domestic day: I straightened up the house, was with Anita, bathed her, gave her dinner, washed the kitchen things and when I got her to sleep, I went back to the kitchen to have a cup of coffee and Guada was waiting for me with a small wooden butter knife. She says to me, "You didn't wash it right." I got mad and we argued. It seemed to me like an implacable, arrogant attitude. Then I left for the bedroom, irritated, and started to watch a movie - since it was on cable, I caught it about halfway through - where Tom Cruise has to rescue a female lawyer who some bloodthirsty guys are holding prisoner. I think that one of the murderers is played by Werner Herzog. The thing is that at one point in the movie, the Cruise character says to the girl, "The only ones who know I'm here are you, the police and your old man, so one of them is implicated in the murders." The girl confronts her father and discovers that it's not him who is implicated but rather the black policeman. The black policeman kidnaps her and puts her in a trailer in the middle of the desert. They want Cruise. Cruise calls her on his cellphone and the captors answer and pass the phone to her. Cruise says to her, "I'm going to rescue you; I hope you trust me." The girl says, "Perfectly." Cruise goes to the desert, exchanges fire with five guys, fights hand-to-hand with the worst guy and kills him. Finally, he enters the trailer where the corrupt black policeman is holding the girl hostage. Cruise also shoots him and finally rescues the girl. But the girl, instead of hugging and thanking him, tells him, "You were wrong about my old man; he's innocent." So, after all the guy did for her, the girl reproaches him like that! Like Guada with the badly washed wooden knife!
I don't know if Guadalupe reads us. It doesn't matter. She already knows perfectly well that we are Cuervo wackos. I hope the thing about the wooden knife has already become a minor memory. I'm confident that you've already righted the ship; a boat can't be sunk by a dirty little piece of wood. I'm sure it's already in the past and you two have gone back to the same beauty as always.
I don't know the Cruise movie you're describing. Maybe it's the one called Jack Reacher? I haven't seen it, but I think that Herzog worked as an actor in it. It doesn't sound like a great cinema classic, but sometimes even a bad story can teach us things or highlight aspects of what's happening to us in everyday life. There are tastes and stories for everybody and everything. When he was here in Las Cruces with me last week-end, Henry went to see A Most Wanted Man, the movie I told you about so enthusiastically a while ago, the last one by the exceptional Philip Seymour Hoffman. Neither he nor George Mackay, the young British actor who plays one of my sons in the story we are shooting, liked it much. Hoffman, fine, they said, but for them the movie was a bit clumsy, cleaned up. I loved its pace and its somewhat "dirty" design. It was the same stylistic idea as that other recent adaptation of a story by John Le Carré, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but much less mannered and exaggerated in the photographic design, wardrobe, hairstyles, etc
Today I watched the match against Quilmes. A well-deserved victory. The kids Villalba and Verón scored good goals, the kind that San Lorenzo has been missing of late. Bad luck for Pitu Barrientos, who doesn´t seem to be back in shape, and for CASLA because they need a player like him. Let´s see whether Romagnoli is allowed to play against River, a key match for Ciclón from an emotional aspect. Well, tomorrow I work all night and then go straight to the airport to catch the first flight from El Paso, Texas to Atlanta. I have to go to Italy to present the French movie Loin des hommes in the Mostra di Venezia, the oldest film festival in the world. Lisandro will be on the jury of one of the competitions. I don´t know which one; it´s not ours. We´ll see if we can meet and have a drink together in that lovely city. The French shoot was where I put our flag on the top of the Atlas mountains last December.
© Viggo Mortensen.
We´ll see if I hang it in Morocco this December too, because I will do everything possible to be able to go and see CASLA play in the Club World Cup.
Hello Viggo. Last night we came back with Guada and Anita - we had been at her grandmother´s home - just in time to watch the match. Actually Rita, at my feet, and I watched the match. Guada and Anita stayed in the kitchen talking and drawing. Guada said to me, "Please, don´t shout the goals too loud"; I told her not to worry. San Lorenzo played very well. Ortigosa took control of the middle and found a counterweight in Kalinski who is more on the offensive than Pichi. Verón was as great as in his best times, and the duo Matos-Blandi bore fruit; I think they understand each other well. I want to say something to you about Blandi. It seems to me that the guy sacrificed himself and played a monumental match in the high altitude of La Paz against Bolivar and that we Cuervos have to recognize that. The Copa Libertadores isn't only won with extraordinary performances (Gentiletti, Mercier, Orti, Pipi, Piatti, Torrico, Buffa, etc.) but also with the exact, precise support of players that had less continuity in the cycle. Blandi is one of those and it seems to me that he's going to give us a lot if he can settle in.
Now comes River who is playing like Holland's Ajax [tr. note: successful team from the Netherlands] and is a good mark for testing the state we are in. Pipi and Pichi have to come back and it remains to be seen who Bauza will pull from this team that won tonight. Really, I have a fierce faith in the Cuervos and in Bauza. Have a good trip to Venice!
Thanks, brother. In the early hours of the morning, I begin the long journey to the Lido. We are about to start with the second part of our last night of shooting here in New Mexico. The hours are already numbered for our team work in Captain Fantastic, and a certain sadness is gradually taking possession of me, and at the same time, every remaining minute shines. The veteran Frank Langella , who I told you about in an earlier chat and who plays my father-in-law, finished his work with us. The great actress who played his wife in our movie, Ann Dowd, also shot her last scene. She has worked a lot in theatre and also in films and on TV in the U.S. She's one of those talented, courageous people who always reflect an inner truth without fear of looking bad or offending and she is very generous as a cast member. I would love to work with her again; she's a very special performer.
I was watching an interview (on TYC I think it was) about the great striker Gabriel Batistuta that my friend Daniel Ortiz sent me yesterday. Bati said, with compassion, that Messi was probably not sleeping well because his national team didn't win the World Cup in Brazil. The Lion King [tr. note: one of Batistuta's nicknames] also spoke of the pain that he has suffered as a consequence of the blows and strains that he's endured during his soccer career, saying that at a certain point he wanted them to amputate his legs. He'd seen the athlete Oscar Pistorius run and he thought "That's for me." This brief interview made an impression on me. The World Cup still keeps me up at night and the truth is that I'm always thinking about Gonzalo Higuaín. Probably Pipita is the one who doesn't sleep well, the one who feels more responsible for the missed opportunity in the Final at the Maracaná. Sometimes I wake at night "seeing" him scoring that goal in the first half of the match against the Germans. And what Batistuta said about wanting to have Pistorious´ legs, look how life changes... the striker is much better now, after intense physical therapy, and is considering returning to soccer as a manager.
Currently the South African athlete is pretty fucked up, charged with murdering his girlfriend; he´s lost his sporting career and his freedom.
As the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, "A show of envy is an insult to oneself." You have to hold on and - if one can manage it - love what you have. By the way, Yevtushenko is a poet I like. I have read him in English translations. I´ve got this book, an anthology of his poetry between 1952 -1990. I can lend it to you if you don´t know his work and want to read it:
This Siberian poet was also a scriptwriter and film actor. Among other commissions, he helped to write the script for the 1964 movie, I am Cuba, a Soviet - Cuban coproduction that rather annoyed the authorities in Moscow and Havana for being so visually and narratively experimental, and for presenting a Cuban bourgeoisie with a certain complexity, not to mention compassion. It's a beautiful film, shot in black and white, showing the capital a few years after the revolution and the countryside of that beautiful island back then. It's a singular work of art and an important historical document. I saw it in the early nineties when it reached the North American market praised by artists like Martin Scorsese.
Yevtushenko also liked soccer. Once he said: "I love sport because I love life, and sport is one of the fundamental joys of life."
Young Yevgeny in the mid-twentieth century
Last edited: 29 September 2014 03:32:38