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FESTIVALS Italy

The poet “consul”

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Despite publishing only a few volumes, Jaime Gil de Biedma was one of the most influential poets of the “Gauche Divine”, a free voice (perhaps in some way protected by his upper-class origins) in Franco’s authoritarian regime. In competition at the Turin GLBT Film Festival, in the biopic El Cónsul de Sodoma – the title is an ironic reference to the poet’s appointment as honorary consul of the Philippines, with which he was decorated for his activities in Manila as manager of the family business – he is played by Jordi Mollà, who picked up a fifth Goya nomination for his performance.

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Directed by Sigfrid Monleón, making another biography after the documentary El Ultimo Truco (on special effects wizard Emilio Ruiz del Rio), the film diligently covers the life of a man always on the verge of “scandal” – from the freedom with he lived his sexual inclinations (which will cost him his succession as head of the company), to his equally poorly accepted liaison with a married woman (Bimba Bosé), to his mature years, lived between passion and contract with a younger man, and his death of AIDS. All against the backdrop of Spain’s political, social and cultural evolutions, which culminated in the fall of the dictatorship.

“Two books of poetry do not a literary career make,” says Jaime’s father, books (actually, more than two) that audiences quickly get to know. Curbed by the rules of the genre, in fact, Monleón does not go easy on the off-camera voice (and verses), thus risking to cool down a life as incandescent as the protagonist’s, in a relatively stiff and conventional mise-en-scene despite the realism of the sex scenes and several, unusual hard details.

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(Translated from Italian)

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