Cementing their place as auteurs of the absurd, Spanish writer-directors Juan González and Nando Martínez, of creative outfit Burnin Percebes, presented their latest feature “The Fantastic Golem Affairs,” to audiences at the Malaga Film Festival.
A sci-fi caper that embodies the duo’s freeform, standalone filmmaking style, it competes alongside further buzz titles “20.000 Species Of Bees,” from Spanish director Estíbaliz Urresola, and Gerardo Herrero’s,“Under Therapy.”
After a night of heavy drinking, quintessential bachelor Juan and his friend David play a game of charades on the roof. During a highly-animated round, David falls from the ledge and shatters into a million ceramic pieces. The event sets off a fiendishly ludicrous odyssey through Juan’s daily affairs as he seeks to uncover the truth behind his ruptured relationship.
With a keen eye on the absurd, the film ponders death, independence, companionship and the bizarre spaces in between and employs a knock-out cast led by Brays Efy (“Paquita Salas”), familiar Burnin Percepes leads Bruna Cusí (“Simple”) and Javier Botet (“Mama”), Anna Castillo (“Wild Flowers”) and Luis Tosar (“Way Down”).
“Magical realism always accompanies us in our projects, everyday life combined with fantastic elements help us to talk about universal themes from a different point of view,” the duo told Variety. “An extraordinary event isn’t usually narrated from everyday life, that’s what most attracts us to this type of story. The humor that always accompanies us is a tool that helps us to move through these worlds both while writing and directing.”
The project is an ode to offbeat comedies of the early ‘90s, where raunchy humor leads the protagonists chaotic jaunt through an increasingly bizarre timeline marked with bold, vintage sets. Met with apathy at nearly every turn, Juan’s quest for knowledge slowly scales up as he teams with unlikely heroes to get to the bottom of his shattered friendship accompanied by a nostalgic soundtrack.
“Aesthetics are something that we’ve always valued highly. The proposal, in this case, was to get closer to that classic, practical cinema. 16mm, practical effects, retro projections,” the pair admitted. “The treatment of color, both in art and in costumes and photography, forms a palette in which we identify each character and location with a range of colors that mutate with the story and the characters. To all this, we added a soundtrack orchestrated by Sergio Bertrán, that recovers the essence of those soundtracks by Xavier Cugat.”
Regional and international sales are handled by Sideral (“La Mala Familia”), a recently launched talent-driven arm of Spain’s Elamedia Estudios, founded by Roberto Butragueño, who also represented the pair’s festival darling, “La Reina De Los Lagartos,” which follows a single moms interstellar summer fling through a Super 8 lens amid rompy beats. Sideral co-produces the current project alongside acclaimed Madrid-based indie production house Aquí y Allí Films (“La Deuda”).
González and Martínez are currently working on an animation series, “Meretricius,” and preparing their next feature “Royal Films,” set to add to the indie-infused repertoire that marks their distinct, amusing style.
“Finding your own voice is always difficult, we believe that you never stop learning and we’re on a journey that we hope will continue for many more years,” they mused. “We always try to move forward, appealing to the largest possible audience while maintaining our essence.”