- Ferreri, Marco
- (1928-1997)Milanese filmmaker Marco Ferreri started his career as a director in the Spanish film industry, with three films that had a strong impact on young directors, and which are seen as an adaptation of the neorealist perspective to Spanish cinema. While studying to be a veterinarian, he was seduced by film and started work on a series of advertisements and documentary work for newsreels. His first credit was as a scriptwriter for the Dino Risi segment in L'amore in cittá (Love in the City, 1953), a collective effort that also featured short films directed by Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Cesare Zavattini. He moved to Madrid in 1956, to work as a commercial representative for photo lenses.The three films he directed in Spain between 1958 and 1960 earned him a place of privilege in the history of Spanish cinema. Los chicos (The Kids, 1959) was among the purest translations of neorealism.The film followed a group of young children in the outskirts of town, using nonprofessional actors and real-life locations. Although not completely unheard of in Spanish cinema, this method had seldom been used so consistently, and, neorealism being a politically sensitive topic, it had a polarized response at the Semana de Valladolid. The other two films were written in collaboration with Rafael Azcona and are among the undisputed masterpieces of the period. Both El pisito (The Little Flat, 1958) and El cochecito (The Motorized Wheelchair, 1960) are bitter satires with a Kafkian edge, starring individuals trapped by their dreams until they turn into nightmares.In El pisito (the first film for which Azcona took writing credit), José Luis López Vázquez was forced to marry his elderly landlady in order to become the proprietor of her flat when she dies. But things get complicated when she turns out to be healthier than expected. In El cochecito, Pepe Isbert plays an old man so obsessed by the idea of possessing a motorized wheelchair that he considers murdering his whole family to steal the money, in spite of the fact that he is reasonably healthy and has no trouble with his legs. The Ferreri-Azcona collaborations held up a mirror to the darker aspects of Spanish society, and this made for uncomfortable viewing for those who considered themselves responsible for the situation. When Ferreri's work permit came up for renewal, the authorities rejected it and, after a series of frustrated projects (including a version, scripted by Mario Camus, of the life of national hero El Cid and an adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Castle), he decided to return to Italy in 1961.He continued working, and his oeuvre (often in collaboration with Azcona, who wrote or co-wrote about a dozen scripts for him) became one of the most personal of the next 15 years. In an interview in 1977, he said: "The values that once existed no longer exist. The family, the bourgeoisie—I'm talking about values, morals, economic relationships. They no longer serve a purpose. My films are reactions translated into images.'' This accounts for the anarchism that becomes increasingly more prominent in the 1970s. La grand bouffe (The Big Meal, 1973) was something of a comic prelude to Pier Paolo Pasolini's later Saló, presenting social crisis in terms of an orgy. A series of films in that decade focused on the crisis of masculinity: Touche pas à la femme blanche (Don't Touch the White Woman, 1974), Le dernière femme (The Last Woman, 1976), Ciao Maschio (Bye Bye Monkey, 1978), and Storie di ordinaria follia (Tales of Ordinary Madness, 1981).
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.