Manuela Lorente

2019 - 2020

Amparo was a diva of “destape" cinema even before the genre was born. She’s the international face of the movement, but also a broken jewel as a result of that wave of cinema and the men who managed her career. All of this changes when Yuriko, a young Erasmus student from the University of Tokyo, decides to make a documentary about Amparo’s life after renting a room in her emblematic house. Family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances tell-all of the brightness and sometimes darkness of Amparo and "La Carretas:” the muse of destape.

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  • 1_La Carretas.

    Before post-Franco 'Destape' cinema uncovered the female figure to traditional Spain – as with all movements, there are always forerunners. The trail-blazers who light the fires that make history. Amparo, 'La Carretas', remains a red-hot ember from that fire. A figure that she herself describes as: "The most important and admired work of art this country has had since Picasso."
    Amparo's life no longer graces cinemas and theatres, but the streets of her local neighbourhood. On occasion she struts her diva narcissism around her sets in the late evening, keeping the last of her sparkle alive for the nostalgic, as well as keeping her purse warm.
    In recent years, financial shortages led Amparo to rent out one of the rooms in Villa Gloria. Her current tenant is Yuriko, a young student from Tokyo who keeps her company after so many years working with and being directed by a plethora of men (producers, directors, agents), which have left Amparo completely disillusioned with the opposite sex.

  • 2_Yuriko.

    Yuriko's father is Japanese and her mother from central Spain, and the Audiovisual Communication student was attracted to Spain by its 'Destape' cinema and bullfighting culture, which for her a tandem that perfectly sums up the spirit of a country like Spain. It is under this premise that she is going to record her final degree project with a film about Spanish culture. What she never imagined was who she would find behind the door of that house with pink carpeting and transition-era furniture that had captivated her and that she had found by chance on the Spanish equivalent of Craigslist.
    Finding La Carretas behind the door of the house was a sign from destiny to Yuriko, who feels it was sent to her in order to plot the future of her project. As a result of this, Yuriko has decided that her project will be a biographical documentary about La Carretas.

  • 3_Villa Gloria entrance.

    - With which film do you think your career took off?

    - I'm sure with “La tendera es una fiera”. Bela and Isabela took care of the makeup and little costume I had, they always left me exuberant as a blackberry queen.

  • 4_Interior Villa Gloria.

    - Have you had to fight your fatal femme iconography?

    - I wasn't taken seriously as an actress until.... I think even “Ole ole los caracoles"

  • 5_Appetizer of La Carretas.

    - Do you know what I hate the most about being a public figure?

    - What?

    - The public.

  • 6_Interior Villa Gloria.

    - And your audience?

    - When my lights went out, many forgot me, but the real ones still write me letters and promise me their manly love.

  • 7_Gloria.

    What was your relationship with your mother like?
    She decided to play the one role that she never did well: wife and mother.//

    But despite everything, you decided to follow in her footsteps and become an actress?
    She wasn't a good mother, that's for sure. But as an actress, she was amazing.//

    Was the name Gloria an attempt at a prophecy?
    I actually think it was because of Gloria Swanson, so I guess so.//

    She was very involved in the social scene. Did you spend a lot of time by yoursel?
    I did, thank God.//

    Talking about God, are you very Catholic?
    We are, except that I'm the only practising one.//

    Is there a price for your forgiveness?
    There's a price, but there's no time.

  • 8_Streets of her local neighbourhood.

  • 9_Streets of her local neighbourhood.

  • 10_Minerva.

    What was behind your hostility? Why do you hate her so much?
    I think that La Carretas, her vulgar clothes and her films are ruining this great industry that I love so much. People want to see actresses who are upright and morally sound, as well as beautiful and prodigious. Just like I am!//

    Did you often bump into each other at castings?
    Back then, it was normal for that to happen, as there wasn't much to choose from. We went against each other for some roles, but I would set boundaries in the auditions. She wouldn’t.//

    What boundaries are you referring to?
    To begin with, I would wear a bra to castings. You can imagine the rest by looking at her filmography.//

    Why such rivalry if you didn't really consider her as your adversary?
    The rivalry wasn't a matter of hatred, but of pain. Pain and the words of producers dominated our conflict. They all thrived on our war in the magazines and on the radio.

  • 11_Streets of her local neighbourhood.

  • 12_Carmina.

    You’re Amparo's neighbour, possibly the one who can tell us the most details about her routine. Do you admire her? I don't admire good-time girls. She spends the day singing, dancing and strutting around her house in heels. She does my head in. It all looks like a clandestine speakeasy.//

    What relationship do you have with her besides neighbours?I own a grocery store. I know that she doesn't like to shop there because she thinks it's beneath her, but when she needs cotton wool pads, oil and the like, she'll come in and always buy the most expensive items. And as she's so rich, I charge her twice for everything and then take it off the receipt. I call it the "Carmina tax”.//

    And if you have such a bad relationship, why don't you sort it out? She doesn't speak to anyone if they don't have a microphone in hand. And I have my revenge. When she acts all hoity-toity and vociferous, I hide sardines for her in the garden or I put a tape of Concha Velasco on a loop while I go to the store.

  • 13_Streets of her local neighbourhood.

  • 14_Streets of her local neighbourhood.

  • 15_Modesto.

    It was rumoured that you were in love with her…
    Amparo is for me a museum piece. Although I'd love to have her, I presume that I can’t.//

    You always took her to bullfights. Why that interest?
    Back then, they were the meeting place for what would now be called influencers. We'd go so that she could be seen and so that I could be seen with her.//

    Do you feel an immense admiration for her?
    Look, film stars take the skin from their bums and put it on their faces. The skin on your bum is the last one that gets wrinkles. This means they all spend their final years with a bum on their faces. But Amparo is a formidable and self-confident woman, and she proves this by living without the need for a man and refusing to undergo surgery to please anyone else than herself.//

    Do you think that Amparo's career would have been more profitable without you?
    Maybe financially. She always says that I've got holes in my pockets. But it might also have been more conflictive; we understand.

  • 16_Streets of her local neighbourhood.

  • 17_Streets of her local neighbourhood.

  • 18_First day of shooting.

    The documentary is so popular in Tokyo that they decide to sell it to the Spanish networks. Thanks to this they offer him a role after many years in the shadows.//

    - Action!

    - They say that God created the world in 6 days and the 7th rested, so sometimes the most horrible things happen on Sunday, while he sleeps.

  • 19_First day of shooting.

    - Action!

    - And how did he look at her? Tell me, how did you look at her?

    - Like a wolf!

    - Like a wolf huh ... You haven't seen a wolf in your life.

    - I've seen a wolf inside all the men I've met and I see a wolf inside you.

  • 20_End.

    - Excuse me, are you who I think you are?

    - I think it's possible ...