Cesc Gay • Director
"I wanted to unveil our most sentimental side"
- With Una pistola en cada mano, the Catalan director Cesc Gay closed the seventh edition of the Rome Film Festival.
Eight men going through an identity crisis in a film with an exceptional cast, poignant dialogues and irresistible situations. With Una pistola en cada mano [+see also:
film profile], Catalan director Cesc Gay (Krampack, En la ciudad) entertained spectators during the seventh edition of the International Rome Film Festival, which showed the film as it was wrapping up. Irony accompanied the lives of eight men in their forties, each of them lost in their own way. One goes to therapy and cries for nothing, another goes back to live with his mother, replacing his girlfriend with a cat, one is trying to win back his ex wife, another is trying to start an affair with a colleague, while a final one is trying to face betrayal, sitting on a bench, high on prescription drugs. The film’s strong points are its dialogues, written together with Tomàs Aragay, as well as a stellar cast which includes many of Spain’s best actors - Javier Cámara, Luis Tosar, Eduardo Noriega, Eduard Fernández, Jordi Mollà, Alberto San Juan, and Argentines Ricardo Darín and Leonardo Sbaraglia.
Cineuropa: Your film is the portrait, under various forms, of an all male identity crisis, while women come out on top. Is this a revenge?
Cesc Gay: My intention was to make a slightly cruel comedy on men. I had great fun writing the screenplay. I wanted to underline men’s vices though the way in which they express their feelings. The truth is we have become more feminine, but we still tend to repress our emotions. My idea was to unveil our most emotional side. Women, on the other hand, have few conflicts in the film. They are strong and above everything, which makes the male characters even more uncomfortable.
How did the film’s structure in incremental episodes come about?
In Una pistola en cada mano you go from one story to the next, without them intertwining. Every single character fits a certain profile though – they are male. I put them in a moment in which they meet someone and weren’t expecting it: whether in front of a lift, in the park or in the street. Us men, we always want to be in control, while these types of unexpected situations put you in a fragile place.
The episode structure is typical of old Italian comedies. Were there any references used?
It’s true: I thought of films with Vittorio Gassman divided into fragments, and also of Ieri, oggi, domani with Marcello Mastroianni. I always wanted to be a musician and write songs that lasted three minutes. I came to think of the film as a collage of songs and elements. I am interested in fragmented stories. My first film, which I made twenty years ago in New York (Hotel Room, ndr), was already filled with different stories.
Una pistola en cada mano is a very theatrical film. Did you ever think of making into a play?
I wrote a couple of plays when I was fifteen, but then I discovered the Super 8 camera and I never looked back. With the current crisis and the cost of cinema, I have been thinking of theatre again. But when it comes to stage, actors are in control, and that would make me nervous. For film, working with the actors continues through the editing process. When you are working on nuances, it is important to be able to ask an actor to play a scene in one way and then in another. You can then make a decision during editing.
How did you come up with the film title (a gun in each hand)? It’s like it always is for titles. When I wrote the sentence for Candela Peña’s character, I liked the way it sounded, and it was very masculine. I wanted to give it a western touch. It reminded me of hard, austere men like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, who are cited in the film. As I was writing, I had his photo and Robert Mitchum’s in front of my eyes. Also, in Spain, women associate guns with something else, of an erotic nature. It seemed like a good title to me.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.