Title: Interview with the actor Francisco Rabal
Duration: 16 min., 03 seg.
Sound collection: Radio Paris. Ramírez/del Campo
Summaries: Entrevista con el actor Francisco Rabal y a Michel Mitrani en el rodaje de la película para la televisión francesa "Amor, muerte, vida"
The extensive cinematographic and dramatic career of Francisco Rabal made him to be considered as one of the best Spanish actors of the 20th century. He was virtually self-taught, he filmed more than two hundred titles with great names of the history of cinema. His father was miner and after the Civil War his family had to emigrate to Madrid because of the deep economic difficulties of the postwar period. Rabal had a hard childhood: he worked in a factory and attended at the same time nocturnal classes in a jesuit school. He was finally accepted to be an electrician apprentice in the Cinematographic Studies of Chamartín. Little by little he began to have some opportunities, first as an extra and then as supporting actor, until he achieved his first important role in 'María Antonia la Caramba' (1950), by Arturo Ruiz-Castillo. Nevertheless, his first contacts with the world of the interpretation were in the theatre, where he achieved to go as a professional actor in the Company Lope de Vega in 1947. There he knew his wife, the also actress Asunción Balaguer.
At the end of the fifties, his interpretative career definitely moved forward, thanks to cinematographic directors as José Luis Sáenz de Heredia and José María Forqué. He collaborated as well in films of the New Spanish Cinema, a cinematographic movement more commited and with more emphasis in the authory, during the shy process of cultural opening brought about by the Minister of Information and Tourism, Manuel Fraga Iribarne, from the sixties onward. Nevertheless, he would receive his definite international backing from the famous exiled director Luis Buñuel, who he would establish a good friendship with, filming together cinematographic works such as 'Nazarín' (1958), 'Viridiana' (1961) and 'Belle de Jour' (1966). In fact, he became one of the most demanded actors among the European directors. We also have to point out the roles he played for television. He was likewise a committed intellectual, militant of the 'Partido Comunista de España' (Spanish Communist Party), and amongst other things, signatory of 'La Carta de los 102' ("the letter of the 102"), which was sent to the Minister Fraga to complain against the repression of the Asturian miners during the strikes of 1962, reason why Rabal had problems and was repressed in Spain. It is said that Franco, great admirer of Rabal, had a great dislike when knowing his political ideas. That would be the general context of the interviews.
There is a total of three recordings about Francisco Rabal in the catalogue (see: 'Interview to Francisco Rabal' and 'Francisco Rabal in front of the students of Paris'). The first of them was recorded in 1964, Paris, by Julián Antonio Ramírez, in the hotel room in which the actor was living at that moment, very close to the Champs Elysées. It belongs to the period in which the filming of 'La otra mujer' (The other woman) was resumed. It was a Hispano-Franco-Italian coproduction directed by François Villiers, based in the novel 'Soy otra mujer' (I am other woman), by Luisa María Linares. A shooting that had to be suspended because of the dramatic car accident suffered by the actor, that broke his leg and his arm and wounded him in the face. The others two recordings belong to a period in which Francisco Rabal moved to Paris, hired by the famous producer Georges de Beauregard (very linked to the New Wave movement) to shoot a total of five films, although with the right to take part in other productions between the filmings, always when authorised by the producer.
Once installed in the French capital, Francisco Rabal received an homage at a cinematographic festival in a hall in the core of the Latin neighbourhood, organised by the Association of Arts and Hispanic Cultures of Paris, with great inflow of the French youth. At the end of it, and after a press conference, the actor recited the monologue of Segismundo of Life is a dream, a poem by Miguel Hernández and another by Rafael Alberti, and afterwards he was interviewed by Julián Antonio Ramírez in the café of the premises. In fact, the third recording is about the filming of 'Amor de vida y muerte' (Love, life and death), a telepoem by Michel Mitrani, shot in Esquivias (Toledo), which surely was part of the series 'Los ángeles exterminadores' (The exterminating angels), about the Spanish classics, with screenplay by José Bergamín. There is besides an interview to Michel Mitrani in Spanish, with great symbolic value.
University of Alicante. University Library. Fonoteca