Between Seville and Las Vegas
Spanish filmmaker Gonzalo García Pelayo: An obscure exponent of world cinema
With Gonzalo García Pelayo, the Viennale presents a great mystery man of Spanish cinema, a director whose work has never been shown in its entirety outside his home country. Comprising merely five films, created between 1976 and 1982, Pelayo’s oeuvre is characterized by the historic moment of transition following the end of Franco’s dictatorship and deeply rooted in the history and people of his native Andalusia. His films are a strangely hybrid and iridescent combination of folkloristic aspects, experimental cinema, erotic obsessions and wild stylistic inconsistencies, carried by a great love of music as well as the language and landscapes of southern Spain. An ever-surprising confrontation of subtle, cinematographic interventions and the rough gesture of a great primitive. In his most important works, Manuela (1976), Vivir en Sevilla (1978) and Rocío y José (1982), Pelayo’s iconoclastic creative work shifts between such different genres as melodrama, essay and documentary, somewhere between Jean-Luc Godard, Philippe Garrel and Roberto Rossellini – filmmakers, whose work he had studied at the Cinématèque Française in Paris for many years.
Since 1982, “abandoned by cinema,” as he claims, the adventurer and gambler Gonzalo García Pelayo has been dedicating himself to music production, the organization of bullfights, and, finally, along with his brothers, to systematic gambling. Casino Vienna, too, can tell you a thing or two about that, as he relieved it of a few million schillings in the 1980s.
It wasn’t until this year that Pelayo returned to the cinema after more than 30 years to create a new work, Alegrías de Cádiz, which will have its world premiere at the Viennale.
A program curated by Álvaro Arroba.