Actor and Director Gustavo Salmeron from Madrid, Spain enters The DM Zone with Host Dianemarie (DM) Collins. His documentary trailer is also a part of this video interview where you will find quickly that not all documentary films are serious – Many Kids, A Monkey & A Castle is quite the comedy.
“I started recording in a very fortuitous way, when my mother decided to make a Christmas killing of the 250 kilos pig that we had as a pet …”
Yes, the family of Gustavo Salmerón escapes all conventionalism. As the movie tells, they did not just have a pig at home. They also fulfilled the dream of Julita’s youth, the overwhelming and charismatic matriarch: to have many children, a monkey and a castle (which came in the form of an unexpected inheritance, which made them wealthy overnight).
The powerful figure of the lady of the house illuminated the actor and director: “I realized that there was something very interesting, very powerful, in her way of telling stories, she dedicated her whole life to teaching, and to educate children. You have to have something in common with the actor, the imagination, I had that power … a little Fernando Fernán-Gómez style, I thought I could investigate there.”
For 14 years, Salmerón (who now shuffles two new projects to direct fiction) filmed Julita, her father and her brothers; their day to day and their reactions to some complicated issues, such as when the economic crisis made them lose the castle they had received. 400 hours of footage that had to be ordered in a long process (two years) of editing, with up to 76 different versions of the film. “There was a more or less clear structure, but the key was how to move from one subject to another.
The search for my grandmother’s vertebrae was the perfect macguffin” (another family extravaganza: Julita kept the vertebrae of her deceased mother, lost in some box).
‘Many Children, A Monkey & A Castle’ works as a portrait of the country (“is the history of Spain through a woman of a specific generation: daughter of Republican teachers, lived the Civil War, the Franco regime , the Transition, the arrival of democracy, the abdication of the king … covers almost a century “) and gives us a delirious family story, with that whirlwind called Julita as protagonist, but with fantastic counterpoints:”
The brothers worked as a Greek choir at the command of the family leader, and my father is his best sparring.
“It’s like Chico Marx – without him, Harpo and Groucho would not have shone My parents are opposites, but also complementary, and I’ve only had to. If it has worked at home for so many years, it had to work in the movie.”