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Carlos Fernández de Vigo • Director of Memorias de un hombre en pijama

"Including sex scenes was a necessary balance"


- Spain's Carlos Fernández de Vigo directs an adaptation of Paco Roca's comic strip Memorias de un hombre en pijama, starring Raúl Arévalo and with music by Love of Lesbian

Carlos Fernández de Vigo  • Director of Memorias de un hombre en pijama

After competing at Malaga Film Festival, Memorias de un hombre en pijama [+see also:
interview: Carlos Fernández de Vigo
film profile
is due to hit Spanish theatres on 4 January with Begin Again Films. The film is an adaptation of the eponymous cartoon by Paco Roca (Arrugas [+see also:
film review
interview: Ignacio Ferreras
interview: Ignacio Ferreras
film profile
) and will be directed by Carlos Fernández de Vigo. Playing the film’s main character is actor and director Raúl Arévalo (The Fury of a Patient Man [+see also:
film review
interview: Raúl Arévalo
film profile
), while Love of Lesbian and its lead singer, Santi Balmes, contributed to the soundtrack. We interviewed the director about his ‘adult’ film, which combines animation with scenes starring Arévalo and María Castro.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: Over the course of your career, you’ve tackled short films, video games, special effects, production, and now animation.
Carlos Fernández de Vigo:
I originally studied economics, but dropped out in my fourth year as I didn’t feel particularly fulfilled by it. I then started working on a video game and soon turned to animation in order to combine technology with film and video games. And now I’m working on a filmed project, a sci-fi horror film that will hopefully be shot in Los Angeles. After completing a master’s degree in special effects and having been a special effects director and supervisor on several films, I decided to set a budget per page when writing the screenplay for my new science fiction film in order to avoid unnecessary expenditure on aspects that don't really add anything to the story.

Were there any points of references other than the comic strip that inspired Memorias de un hombre en pijama?
I re-read and reviewed all of Paco Roca's work. I thought it was important that the camera movements and shot compositions didn't match the original thumbnails, but subliminally, yes, I wanted readers of the comic to see how the film interpreted the thumbnail images. So in that sense, one of the film's main points of reference was Paco's graphic novel universe. In terms of cinema, I re-watched a lot of films in order to learn about composition and intentions, etc.

It's an adult film, with sex scenes...
It's part of the romanticism. I was given a lot of freedom with it, I didn't feel hindered at all. I wanted the camera to immerse itself in the relationship. If the couple just sat in front of the television every time they were alone, the viewer wouldn’t feel truly immersed in their relationship. There is a very intense emotional connection between the two characters, and that's why it was important to approach sex naturally, without giving it more weight than needed in the moment. It was a necessary balance.

At the same time, the film talks about the freelancers who constantly work behind the scenes...
Independent heroes... There is a brief sequence, when the hero finds himself with a hamburger brand’s logo, that a lot of people will certainly relate to. We also wanted to pay tribute to the world of drawing, graphic arts and illustration.

How did you select the actors for the filmed scenes, and those who lent their voices to the animated characters?
I was very lucky because  Ángel de la Cruz, my producer and co-writer, and Paco were very interested in having Raúl Arévalo play the hero. Maria Castro was already on board and I was very happy with that decision, too, because she has a fantastic energy, besides being a great actress.

Music by Love of Lesbian gives the film a certain melancholy tone...
It was the cherry on the cake, really, not just in terms of the music, but also in relation to the band's level of involvement. The crew suggested that we include a lot of independent Spanish music in the soundtrack and before long, Love of Lesbian's name had cropped up and we’d signed them onto the project. They not only composed two new songs, but also recorded new versions of some of their classic tracks. It was an amazing experience and we ended up changing some of the scenes according to their music.

How long did it take to get this project up and running?
It took a total of four years, if you count the development phase, with nearly 200 people working on it, including staff and facilitators in Valencia, Madrid, Catalonia, Galicia and Los Angeles. Behind an animated film, there is a whole world of people, a world of work that never loses sight of the project's artistic intentions while simultaneously and resolutely resolving all technical issues. It is a very complicated equilibrium. If you’re primarily a creative person, technical tasks can sometimes be a bit of an energy drain.

(Translated from Spanish)

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