Neus Ballús filming Seis días corrientes in Barcelona
by Alfonso Rivera
- Even before the Spanish release of her second film, Staff Only, the Catalan director is already shooting her third, a comedy starring non-professional actors
20 May saw the start of the shoot for Seis días Corrientes (lit. “Six Ordinary Days”), the third feature by Neus Ballús, whose feature debut, The Plague [+see also:
film profile] (which was unveiled at the Berlinale in 2013, and was nominated for the European Film Awards and the European Parliament’s LUX Prize), got a very warm reception indeed. Furthermore, Ballús was at the most recent edition of the Berlin Film Festival (in the Panorama section) with Staff Only [+see also:
interview: Neus Ballús
film profile], her second movie, which was shot in Senegal and was toplined by Sergi López (the feature is set to be released in France on 17 July and in Spain on 20 September).
With a screenplay penned by the director herself and Margarita Melgar (the pen name of scriptwriters Montse Ganges and Ana Sanz-Magallón), Seis días corrientes fuses fiction and reality, as all of the characters that appear in the film are non-professional actors playing themselves. The project was born of the desire to explore the prejudices in human relationships, but in a comedic tone. It thus portrays six days in the lives of Valero, Moha and Pep, who work at a small plumbing and electricity company on the outskirts of Barcelona. “I wanted to look more closely at this environment, and I asked for permission to attend the school run by the Barcelona union of technicians (for gas, water and electricity), listening in on their classes. Once there, I just watched them to see what they were like and how they reacted: the ones I liked, I invited to filmed improvisation sessions – which we avoided referring to as ‘castings’ so as not to scare them – and we played with them, just coming up with imaginary situations,” the director explains to Cineuropa.
The film is made up of six chapters that show the diverse range of situations that the protagonists can find themselves in when they have to repair something. Each episode revolves around one day in their working week, and is built around the relationship that is established between the protagonists and the client who has enlisted their services. With a healthy dose of humour, lightheartedness and the daily grind, the anecdotes also offer some deeper elements to reflect on: the colourful characters and their eccentric customers mean that this movie should be an original and entertaining comedy, which will bear the unique hallmark of the auteur behind it.
The unusual characteristics of the project have forced the director to shoot every other week for six weeks, which will allow the protagonists to combine filming with their regular jobs. Each of the six chapters will be shot in a different location, and principal photography will wrap on 31 July. “They are people with their own jobs to do, and this is the only way we can film it, by juggling the shoot with their work commitments. It’s being filmed in chronological order,” the helmer sums up.
Seis días corrientes is being produced by Distinto Films and El Kinògraf. It can boast the involvement of Radio Televisión Española, Televisió de Catalunya and Movistar+, with additional backing from the ICAA and ICEC. It is being made under the auspices of the Pompeu Fabra University. The movie will be distributed in Spain by Filmax, while Beta Cinema will be in charge of its international sales.
(Translated from Spanish)
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