Bearded chanteuse in Edgar Neville’s Verbena (1941)
A MOUSTACHE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. GENERATIONAL TRANSMISSION OF ABSURD HUMOUR AND AUDIOVISUAL FOLLY
CA2M & FILMOTECA ESPAÑOLA ONLINE FILM SEASON
FROM 22 MAY 2020
CURATORS MERY CUESTA Y CARLOS REVIRIEGO
The conjunction was inevitable. While Filmoteca Española (FE), jointly with the publishers Cátedra, were publishing the book La codorniz (de la revista a la pantalla y viceversa), by Aguilar and Cabrerizo, Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo (CA2M) was preparing the exhibition “Absurd Humour” and the book of the same name by the curator Mery Cuesta. To a certain extent, they were forced to get on and, as was the case in hand, “to associate together” in order to jointly imagine a shared variety show. And so, driven by the unbridled imagination of the current confinement, this double programme came about with an evident desire to strike up another equally necessary coupling: a bridge between two generations of comedians with several decades between them. Does the blood of Codorniz humour run through the veins of Chanante humour and its contemporary derivates?.
FE and CA2M organized a series of events and rereadings of filmic creations that arose around the satirical magazine La Codorniz run by some of the most outstanding voices in absurd humour today. The playful, surrealist quality of the folly unquestionably runs through the veins of these proposals which, in the second programme, focus on a direct intervention in creations from the past through the optic of the present moment. While Joaquín Reyes dubs fragments of Noticiario de Cine-Club newsreels featuring intellectuals and forward-thinkers from Madrid and Barcelona in 1930, the Tono & Mihura’s “humoristic production” called Un bigote para dos [A Moustache For Two]–“a stupid film for serious people”—is given a revamp by the hands (and voices) of the humoristic practices of Juan Cavestany, Julián Genisson and Lorena Iglesias (members of the Canódromo Abandonado collective) and Venga Monjas.
CAs if they were Jardiel Poncela’s parodic overdubbings of silent movies called “celuloides rancios” now updated to the digital era, the double programme “A Moustache for the 21st Century” goes to clearly show the generational transmission of a kind of nonsense logic humour that ran through Spanish films for many decades, and which is still alive today (at least we believe so) in more contemporary humoristic practices. The connections between Tono & Mihura and Venga Monjas, or between Neville and Joaquín Reyes, emerge naturally, revealing the staying power of absurd humour as a sign of identity of Spanish culture. At the same time, Chanante humour is paired directly with its spiritual forebears, raising absurd laughter. And so to paraphrase the fairground huckster in Verbena: “Step right in [ladies and gentlemen]! Have we a just and moral show for you!”
CODORNICESCAS PRESENTATIONS | From 22 May
A whole series of audiovisual productions sprung up around La Codorniz, the most iconic satirical magazine in the history of Spanish popular culture. Today these productions are revisited (and recommended) by the researchers Aguilar and Cabrerizo and the filmmaker Carlo Padial (Algo muy gordo, 2017).
_ Verbena (1941), by Edgar Neville [31 min]. Presentation by Santiago Aguilar and Felipe Cabrerizo.
_ Don Viudo de Rodríguez (1935), by Jerónimo Mihura [14 min], + El corazón de un bandido (1968), by Chumy Chúmez [7 min]. Presentations by Carlo Padial.
SCREWBALL OVERDUBBINGS | From 5 June
The practice of screwball overdubbing, the audiovisual sound and image collage, is an excellent way of creating an absurd humoristic effect. Thanks to Tono & Mihura’s Un bigote para dos, their 1940 screwball film, a comedy rewriting of the dialogue of a Johann Strauss biopic, and to Jardiel Poncela and his “celuloides rancios”, these redubbings were hugely popular back in the 1940s. Today we have chosen the filmmaker Juan Cavestany (Gente en sitios, 2013) and two comedian duos, Julián Genisson & Lorena Iglesias and Venga Monjas, to revisit this vintage comic practice from Spanish culture and to make a new dubbing for Un bigote para dos. The programme is rounded off with a dubbing by Joaquín Reyes, in the style of his “Retrospecter” or “Mundo viejuno” sketches, of a newsreel directed by Giménez Caballero.
_ Noticiario de Cine-Club (1930), by Ernesto Giménez Caballero [31 min]. Fragment dubbed by Joaquín Reyes.
_ Un bigote para dos (1940), by Tono y Mihura [64 min]. Dubbed by (in order of appearance) Juan Cavestany (subtitling) / Julián Genisson & Lorena Iglesias / Venga Monjas.