Andalusia’s La Claqueta and the Basque Country’s Irusoin, producers of Spanish Oscar entry “The Endless Trench,” have re-teamed to buy big screen adaptation rights to Txani Rodríguez’s novel “Los últimos románticos.”
The deal builds on one of the most fruitful regional production alliances in Spain, whose co-productions to date take in not only “The Endless Trench,” a big winner at the 2019 San Sebastian Film Festival, but also true-crime series “The Miramar Murders: The State vs. Pablo Ibar.” The latter was acquired by HBO Europe for HBO España and HBO Portugal in one of the banner deals at 2020’s San Sebastian.
Struck with Planeta Foreign & Audiovisual Rights, the feature film project also underscores the ever greater interest in established IPs. Recent Planeta book rights sales take in Benito Zambrano’s “Pan de limón con semillas de amapola,” one of the most-awaited of Spanish art films; gambling business-set ”ANA.all in,” an RTVE-ZDFE series; and “La cocinera de Castamar,” a historical romance with Michelle Janner (“Isabel”).
Rodríguez’s fourth novel, published this summer by Seix Barral, “Los últimos románticos” is not, despite its title, another romance but rather a second chance in life drama, “an irresistible novel on the dreams that drive us to action and the value of the truly important,” Irusoin and La Claqueta said Monday, announcing their production partnership.
Set in Spain’s northern valley of Ayala, south of Bilbao, it turns on Irune, a woman who works at the local paper factory and lives a near totally solitary existence, plagued by hypochondria and minor manias, her near only social contact her fellow workers and habit of phoning up Spain’s Renfe railway network to ask the times of trains she’ll never board.
When her factory begins to lay off workers, Irune becomes involved in industrial action while coming to the aid of a neighbor, convinced of the importance of local community relations. Her life suddenly takes on a new turn, pulling her out of her isolation.
The adaptation deal was negotiated by La Claqueta’s Olmo Figueredo, Irusoin’s Xabier Berzosa and Javier Sanz, director of Planeta Foreign & Audiovisual Rights.
“Txani has written an exquisite novel which is like it was always thought for a big screen adaptation,” said Figueredo.
“It has an undeniable ability to make the commonplace moving, create atmosphere and characters which enthrall us in a story of factories, information services and trains which we’re very eager to adapt as a feature.”
Also produced by Moriarti Produkzioak and France’s Manny Films, “The Endless Trench” marks the third feature in six years from the Basque writing-directing trio of Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga after 2014’s “Flowers” and 2017’s “The Giant,” three movies which have established them as one of the fastest-developing filmmaking forces in Spain. Winner of six prizes at 2019’s San Sebastian, including best director and screenplay, the film charts the reign of terror installed by Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War that forces a socialist councilor to hide in a cubby-hole behind his kitchen sink. He remains there 30 years.
Based on true historical cases, and the second movie by the trio to score a Spanish Oscar submission, after “Flowers,” “The Endless Trench” is an “accessible, involving and emotionally full-blooded domestic melodrama made with hearty sensitivity,” Guy Lodge wrote in his Variety review.