The Government leaves the Berlanga Archive in Madrid (for now)

The Ministry of Culture and Sport has completed the Acquisition of the Luis García Berlanga archive for an amount of 357,000 euros. After several years of negotiations with the family, an agreement has been reached goodwill agreement between the parties, by which they become part of the state public collections 74 boxes with documents of diverse types gathered by the filmmaker throughout his life.

Since the Berlanga family sold their house in Somosaguas a few years ago, the material has been kept in the facilities of the Filmoteca Española, an entity dependent on the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA) that will take charge of its conservation and diffusion.

Thus, and as the Ministry has confirmed to Levante-EMV, a newspaper belonging to the same editorial group that this medium, the Government will maintain the collection in the facilities of the Filmoteca in Madrid since “it has been acquired for its preservation”. “For now, it will be kept in the Spanish Film Library to its final location, still to be specified”, have added.

Last January, the Minister of Culture himself, Miquel Iceta, It showed itself willing to locate the Berlanga Archive in Valencia, the filmmaker’s hometown, “for obvious reasons”. The Berlanga family has also shown on various occasions their desire for the collection to be kept and exhibited in Valencia. “The best tribute is that my father’s legacy has a physical place to exhibit itself. We would like it to be in Valencia,” said Fernando García-Berlanga when collecting the Levante-EMV Award in 2021.

Another of the director’s sons, José Luis García-Berlanga, said this past Wednesday to lift-EMV that the decision on the possible transfer of his father’s archive to Valencia corresponds to the Ministry of Culture and the Generalitat. “I hope he goes to Valencia,” said García-Berlanga, who “knows” that the president Ximo Puig “He would be very excited” to see it exhibited in his hometown. However, Berlanga’s eldest son acknowledged that in the negotiations with the ministry the Berlanga family has not placed any conditions on the possible transfer of the archive to Valencia.

As this newspaper already published a year ago, the Generalitat does not want the institutional memory of Luis García Berlanga to be diluted after the year dedicated to the filmmaker for his centenary in 2021 and planned to offer a space dedicated to the director in which he is studied and disseminated his work and exhibit personal memorabilia and objects related to his films.

This Wednesday, sources from the Presidency confirmed that, in principle, the ministry remains “open” for the Berlanga file to end up in Valencia, but they have also recognized that there is no specific destination or formal confirmation in this regard.

For her part, the deputy mayor of Valencia, Sandra Gómez, assured that “she will work so that the next step is for the city to house this file and for Berlanga to return home.” The socialist spokesperson made herself “available to the ministry to begin to assess the ideal spaces to become the reference space for Berlanga.”

Notes and subscriptions of Valencia CF

The documentation that comprises the archive is very varied and includes the entire trajectory of Berlanga. It is, according to the ministry, one of the “most complete and complex” files received by the Spanish Film Library, from where it is considered that its conservation and future consultation may shed a lot of light on the cultural life of Spain in the last century and on one of its most relevant artistic and cultural figures.

The legacy has been organized into various categories: personal and family documentation, creative work, labor documentation, correspondence, prizes, souvenirs and personal objects, graphic documentation, magazines and press clippings, and work created by others.

Personal and family documentation includes albums with family photos, notebooks with childhood school grades, documentation of their time in the Blue Division or personal memories, such as Valencia Football Club season tickets or collections of Christmas cards received from other movie figures.

Original scripts, typed or handwritten, with annotations and ideas by Berlanga himself, are among the works of creation. Among others, there are several versions of those from some of his most iconic films What ‘That happy couple’, ‘Welcome, Mr. Marshall!’ either ‘Placid’, as well as a large number of unfinished project scripts.

The archive, according to the ministry, perfectly documents through these writings the confrontation and the constant clashes that Berlanga suffered with Franco’s censorship and will allow us to know, first-hand, its consequences in one of the most relevant Spanish artistic works of the last century. There is also a wide sample of drafts of speeches, conferences, interventions in congresses, academic meetings and other types of forums throughout several decades.

The archive also keeps correspondence with some key figures of Spanish cinema such as Rafael Azcona, Juan Antonio Bardem, Basilio Martín Patino, Luis Ciges or José Luis López Vázquez. To this is added around a hundred prizes and awards, as well as memorabilia and personal objects such as the documentation of the 1962 Oscar awards ceremony in which ‘Plácido’ was nominated.

Photos, posters and drawings

Graphic documentation also occupies a prominent place in the filmmaker’s legacy: positives on paper, negatives, and slides of photographs of personal, family, and professional themes, as well as institutional and political acts and shooting photographs of many of his films.

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Among the documents there are also: numerous drawings made by Berlanga with a different theme. Some of them are erotic and others are simply characters, objects or comics. They are made on very diverse supports and with varied techniques such as charcoal, watercolor or marker. Notebooks are also added with storyboardssuch as ‘Welcome back, Mr. Marshall!’ or the one of ‘Calabuch’, as well as set plans, such as the one for ‘That happy couple’, and location search graphic dossiers.

This group is completed by a collection of movie posters, both his own and those of others, as well as from film festivals, plus promotional material for his films. The archive also has press clippings, newspapers and photocopies of articles with interviews and information about Luis García Berlanga’s films that appeared in different publications.

The Government leaves the Berlanga Archive in Madrid (for now)