Thursday, February 22, 2024

Who is Juan Mariné, the winner of the 2024 Honorary Goya?

 The veteran cinematographer has a long career behind him that began one day in 1924 when he met a certain Charles Chaplin.


By Sergio Murillo

February 10, 2024

There is no one person who better exemplifies the taciturn work behind the camera to make what is in front of them shine. The silence, the image, the colors – even when the world was only stared at by black and white eyes, even when the tragedy of war set fire to the hopes of a free seventh art; life, in itself, and the portrait that is made of it. There are as many ways to describe Juan Mariné's work as there are films. Tribute is paid to each and every one of them in Valladolid when the veteran cinematographer is presented with the honorary Goya.

His retina began filming for the first time on the last day of 1920. When he was only four years old, he was introduced to cinema. It was through an austere projector—at the time it was said to be a last system brought from Paris—that antiquities dealers used to show a short film by a certain Charles Chaplin. That happened in Arenys de Mar. By the time he returned to his native Barcelona, it was too late to undo the spell. He had fallen in love with cinema.

From his wartime work to the first color film

That passion turned into a profession, and he gave himself to it. There is no one who has cultivated this artistic genre since the Civil War – the Orphea studios commissioned him to attend the filming of the funeral of a famous trade unionist and he worked during the war for SIE Films, the production company of the CNT, until, together with the Quinta del Biberón, he was called to fight in the Battle of the Segre – until the Democracy, going through the Franco regime and the Transition. Almost a century in which cinema and Mariné grew hand in hand, learning from each other.

Juan Marine's stamp was already vital in Alfredo Landa's films, as it was in Lina Morgan's and Fernando Fernán Gómez's; Gracita Morales and Paco Martínez Soria; from Edgar Neville to José María Forqué. He invented new and innovative techniques, such as the negative washing machine, which he designed, and the optical copier.

He was already well known when he participated in La gata, a film that would go down in the books of this art for being the first color film in the history of Spain. The year was 1956. In 1989 he did what he did best for the last time: take the baton of photography in a feature film. It was called The Rift. And with it came to a close a long list of more than 150 films.

Beyond studying film and photography, on a personal level, Mariné has lived with the same intensity with which only he can understand the world. He was a war reporter and covered the French concentration camps of Saint-Ciprien and Argéles-sur-Mern, walls that locked up Spanish exiles after 1939. Nine years later he married; he went with Carmen Brandi, daughter of the bullfighter Ángel Brandi, and with her he had three children. Twenty years later they divorced.

He was like that. He's like that. He will be 104 years old this December. The one who rejected Hollywood, the one Orson Welles admired and whose house he never stopped inviting; the one who learned from life to make films and not the other way around. The Goya Award of Honour will go to that child who felt a golden carousel of emotions on any given afternoon in Arenys de Mar. The rest is a story of silence, of image, of colors. Of life.

No comments:

Post a Comment