At 85, José Sacristán is a happy, vibrant history of acting in Spain. A referent of a world and trade in danger of extinction; Honesty, professionalism and an unbribable work ethic. Listing his filmography or his theater or television resume is an almost impossible task. And listening to him is a continuous act of learning, with his deep and direct voice. A humble legend who appeared in Zaragoza this Monday to take part in the previous activities of the Feroz Awards -which will be delivered in the Aragonese capital on January 28th- and receive the Augusto de Honor statuette from the Zaragoza Film Festival.
The appointment could not take place in a scenario other than the Filmoteca, where he visited the different spaces of the “Recognise” exhibition, which celebrates the four decades of this urban center dedicated to the Seventh Art. There, between objects and projections, he gave away reflections and memories about his most passionate passion, cinema, in the company of Deputy Mayor Sara Fernández, Commissioner Ana Marquesán and Director of the Board of Performing Arts and Image José María Turmo.
“Without a doubt, cinema has done more for me than I have for cinema. I’m part of his story, I’ve made my small contribution. I was lucky enough to devote myself to something that makes me so happy…” Surrounded by posters and film screenings, he declared his “favourite” natural habitat.
He confessed that a cinema was set up in his house, with a box office and a poster display, and there he spent hours and days revising classics. “I sit in the armchair or in the Pridieu. Because there are films that you have to watch on your knees. I pushed the button and I’m so happy…” he shared.
An unleashed and immortal passion that was born to him as a child in his beloved homeland of Chinchón, in this common homeland, childhood. “The boy who saw his first film as a child and the man who is in Zaragoza today walk hand in hand. Life and work have never been separate. I never lost respect for the kid I was. I make sure that whatever I do is not discussed by this child. It’s a guideline I’ve followed for eight decades,” he continued.
A pattern of behavior that he also learned with celluloid, watching films in the chicken coop of the Chinchón cinema, the cheapest tickets. One of the titles that scratched his soul the most was the one he showed this Monday in Zaragoza at the invitation of the Feroz Awards: ‘Comicos’, filmed by Juan Antonio Bardem in 1954. “It’s very likely that Movie I’ve seen it many times in my life I saw it for the first time at the Parque Móvil del Estado in Madrid where we did theater and made films after the performances Artistically it’s wonderful but I stick with the look , which Bardem offers about the reality of Spain. It documents generations of actors and actresses who were benchmarks and pioneers who did two shows a day, seven days a week, without loading diets or for rehearsals, with more shadow than light. Against the dusty haze of Francoism, against the limited creative freedom, it was a work of immense dignity. And everything is told with commendable tenderness and closeness,” he explained with restrained emotion. In this cycle put together by Sacristán at the Filmoteca, next Monday it will be the turn of “Bicycle Thief” by Vittorio de Sica, and it will also be completed by François Truffaut with “The 400 Strikes”.
Furthermore, this Monday Sacristán added the Zaragoza Film Festival’s Augusto de Honor award to its crowded showcases, which house the Goya and the Feroz de Honor and the Nacional de Cinematografía Awards, among others. “Receiving such awards means that after 70 years in the profession, I’m not so wrong,” he assured gratefully.
Far from resting on his well-deserved laurels, he announced that he would be visiting Argentina and Chile in August with Delibes’ work “Lady in Red on a Gray Background”. And he closed the doors to cinema and television: “It will be very difficult for him to work in cinema or television again. I no longer have the body for the early morning hours and the cold of winter. With the theater I get the illusion”.