Or life like a movie, like a trip to the dream of an added reality, like the rose of Borges. «In less than a week, I finished the novel, with the advantage that it put faces to the protagonists: Rhett was Gable; Scarlet, Vivien; Melanie, Olivia…» The novel, of course, was ‘Gone with the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell. Garci, like many others, had seen the film (January 14, 1951), before reading the novel and, as he points out Charles Anton, the cinema offers «a reality that is uniform for all», unlike the novel that leaves each reader to put a face and gestures to Escarlata, or Rhett, or Melania.
as i remembered Victor Erice
about ‘Frankenstein’ (1931) by James Whale, would always be for him the image of Boris Karloff, above any other, even when years later he read the novel by Mary Shelley. That’s the cinema. An indelible image, stranded in time and, however, in constant movement, according to the various generations that watched the film: that is a classic according to Borges and Calvino. José Luis Garci with ‘Gone with the Wind. A memory, a comment’ (Notorius), honors what he read in the summer of 1959, in Gijón, on the effusive recommendation of someone, one would dare to say decisive in his life as a writer and filmmaker, as was his aunt Luisa. Go to her dedicated, too, these words.
Garci writes in this moving, close, melancholy and, as always, splendidly written book, that he would like to title his memoirs, «Pasado a clean», and this book contains a good part of those pages that its viewers and readers expect. Garci’s writing excites and moves, makes you dream of what you have lived, or imagine that others lived, or evoke what you could have lived, and seen on the screens.
Here, one relives, intensely, the daily environments, the intense emotions, the memories that make up the memory of each one and make him be and know who he is and where his steps were. When you were asked the question a couple of years ago that if you were to film ‘Gone with the Wind’ today, what would your cast be? He did not take more than two seconds to think about it and the list deserves to be searched by readers, it is a declaration of principles and a confession: «Throughout these pages my preferences have been made clear. I prefer much more to the call classic cinema than by the precooked of the last seasons». There it is, enjoy it.
How to enjoy, to continue with José Luis Garci, with what he considers to be the best Russian salad in Madrid, that of
Rafa, in his beloved Calle Narváez, 68. Well the salad and the ‘steak tartar’ or the clam casseroles, the tapas of a classic and memorable bar. When times are rare and dark, nothing like the eternal return, not precisely that of Friedrich Nietzsche, but that of dreams; that is to say the one of the cinema.