BE HAPPY!

SYNOPSIS

The MGMC presents a great show in London. Between the audience: Peter, a freudian psychiatrist married to a Finnish actor, Mika, David, a young British gay living in Banyoles, addicted to Grinder, and Coco Lamour, a Parisian French actress.

 

Peter is a friend of Maria, also a Freudian psychiatrist, and Betsy, David’s mother, living in Cadaqués. Maria prepares a trip to spend some days with Betsy. David works at a computer company in Girona directed by a very talented young Indian, Usha. David has a great crisis with his partner, Daniel, a Mallorcan living in Barcelona. Albert is a famous British writer retired in Begur passing the mourning for the loss of his partner. Gilda, a great actress, half Scotish half German, lives in Mallorca and is very close to Joan Laínez and MGMC. At her house every day there’s a great party.

 

Everyone is worried about the ending of the love story of David and Daniel, the young guys.

 

But, as Shakespeare says "All’s well that ends well" on a trip of the whole group to Mallorca.

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The MGMC presents a great show in London. Between the audience: Peter, a freudian psychiatrist married to a Finnish actor, Mika, David, a young British gay living in Banyoles, addicted to Grinder, and Coco Lamour, a Parisian French actress.

Now, a musical
BE HAPPY! 
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BE HAPPY! 

TRAILER V.O.

 
BE HAPPY!

DIRECTOR'S NOTES

NOW, A MUSICAL

 

 

 

I’ve always been very fond of musicals, both in theatre and cinema.  When I worked in the theatre many years ago I directed quite a few. Bestiari, which I based on texts by Joan Oliver/Pere Quart, The Rocky Horror Show, in Narcís Comadira’s magnificent translation, and Don Juan Tenorio, when I revamped with the wonderful Mary Santpere the production her father mounted in the 1930s with music by Josep Torrents. We did that with two great actors, Joan Capri in Barcelona and Joan Monleón in Valencia.

 

            I also helped in Maria Aurèlia Capmany’s cabaret shows directed by Josep Antón Codina and I staged three musical shows for Núria Feliu at the Cúpula Venus. But I have never made a film musical until now. Be Happy! will be my first. My 33rd feature film.

 

         A musical is a desire I have always wanted to do, and an ambition I now share, among others, with the music and songs of two exceptional artists, Lluís Llach and Mimar, Maria del Mar Bonet. Colleagues with who I have pursued parallel paths over the last fifty years that have complemented and enhanced us as individuals. That is why I chose them for this light-hearted, joyous film, full of memories and supportive of our country.  

 

            From early childhood I was very clear that my life was the cinema or that cinema was my life. My passion for the industrial art of the twentieth century par excellence, for this tough but splendid trade, was born in the grim, miserable years of the Franco dictatorship when I began to wake up to what life was all about. Memories I retain only in black and white or in a murky, depressing grey, except when I see films from my childhood: an explosion of colour in between the regime’s dreary propagandistic news reports. Colour reached me via the cinema, the only window that allowed us to see a little of the outside world. A window that seduced me, opened my horizons and created a fascination for telling stories through movies. A dream I felt was impossible to realise: to express myself through images.

 

            The narrative styles and themes that appear in my films were already implicit in the work for the theatre that I directed. Bold formal innovation, the exploration of expressive freedom, sexuality as a key recurrent theme, a liking for the choral, minimalism and the use of different dramatic forms… These are all present in the first works I chose to bring to the stage. The theatre taught me how to work with actors but, above all, the discipline of the text, as well a liking for different, provocative stories that you don’t often find in the cinema, something, I believe, that has marked my career.

 

            In my films you can see how I have always focused, in a free, independent way, on themes that affected me personally, ones where I could reveal my own perspective. Most of the stories I have selected aren’t easy or conventional, and often implicitly brought a degree of risk. Stories based on characters immersed in the need for love, communication and the need to find the other. All kinds of emotional relationships, whether heterosexual or, especially, homosexual. We directors often use alter egos to speak about ourselves.

 

            Whatever story I tell, whatever theme I explore, I am who I am. And you also see that in the work of Lluís Llach and Maria del Mar Bonet. If there is anything at all in my cinema, it is my voice and my gaze. Stories I feel passionate about, that I transform into images. A film is rooted in the story, language, concept, structure, inner rhythm, and its innermost intention: its very own voice. Whether they are fiction, drama or comedy, memory or reality that are finally transformed into ghosts, which may be true or deceitful, they are always recognisable and distinct. Whether people like them or not, you reach others, enabling them to understand your singularity, a singularity that becomes universal, or nothing at all.

 

              William Faulkner used to say that he was able to articulate his own confusion in his best stories. The empire of disorder that was something that went beyond himself. That was scattered over dreams, whether his own or those of others, and his ghosts. Our world matters to us and moves us to translate it to the screen, with imagination, observation and experience. When Faulkner received the Nobel Prize, he praised the ability of human beings to endure and resist, to withstand and survive, their principal virtue, in the face of injustice, bad luck, misfortune or unhappiness. The past never dies, and is never simply in the past.

 

            A film is based on three essential elements we must get right: story, concept and cast. The story is the most important and its realisation in images must be in the director’s head, for this is what gives meaning to the narrative. And in the actors who supply the faces for our ideas. Our trade requires time for study: everything must be ready for the shoot, a unique, unrepeatable moment that has a counterpoint, because of its own complexity, in the need for thought that is intrinsic to a sense of sequence, to an overall plan. It isn’t merely that the subject is risky, but ensuring that element of risk within the narrative is carried through to the end.

 

            It isn’t about shutting anything out, but about offering yourself to the world from the deepest wells of the self. And this is the path I follow, in the belief that work that has been done well will always function and that the only defence we have, apart from whether people more or less understand our films, is the creation of a good product. If we want to win the battle, we must make interesting cinema that has content and ideas.

 

            Without my ever realizing, life has thrown itself at me. Time flies by, intensely. I have lived my life immersed in the universal territory of images, maintaining my independence, which is perhaps a Pyrrhic victory, but one where I have found my refuge, even though I often feel quite flummoxed by the need I have felt to take the journey I have travelled. With the hindsight of years, I could perhaps say that cinema saved my life.

 

            Now a new challenge. The idea came to me when I went to a great show put on by the Majorcan MGMC conducted by Joan Laínez. A challenge happily that comes in the form of a film packed with songs.

 

The songs of my life.

 

 

Ventura Pons

 
BE HAPPY!

A production of

ELS FILMS DE LA RAMBLA, S.A.

Screenwriter, Director and Producer

VENTURA PONS

Line Producer  

MERCÈ CARRERO

Photography Directors

ANDALU VIL-SAN-JUAN / TITO ARCAS

JOAN BORDERA

ANDREA RESMINI

Music 

LLUÍS LLACH / MARIA DEL MAR BONET / JOSEP TORRENTS

JOAQUIM BADIA

Art director   

BEL·LO TORRAS

Editor

JUAN CARLOS CARRANO

Casting UK

LUCI LENOX

Direct sound

ANDREA CREMININI / RONEN GEVA

Sound mixer

XAVI SAUCEDO /WAVE FACTORY

Graphic design  

ESTRADÉ CREATIUS/ NEGRETE FILMS VFX

 

© 2018 ELS FILMS DE LA RAMBLA, S.A.

 
 
BE HAPPY!
David 
BILLY CULLUM
 
Daniel
TONI VALLÈS
 
Maria 
SIÂN PHILLIPS
 
Peter
GARY WILMOT
 
Betsy
VICKY PEÑA
 
Albert
MATHEW WHITE
 
Gilda
MINNIE MARX
 
Avni 
USHA JADHAV
 
Mika
JUHA SOROLLA
 
Joan 
JOAN LAÍNEZ
 
Coco 
KARME MÀLAGA
 
And
 
MALLORCA GAY MEN CHORUS
Coming soon
 

OPINIONS

Coming soon

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© 2015 ELS FILMS DE LA RAMBLA S.A. ||  VENTURA PONS