If there is an artist who represents the history of Spanish cinema from its beginnings to now, is Fernando Fernán-Gómez. It’s not only his constant presence (with a debut at 43 -with Juan de Orduña- and continual workflow up until this past year with young Gustavo Ron in “Mia Sara”), but because of the excellence and force of all his work.
Fernán-Gómez belongs to a group of actors who does everything right. Whether the film is bad, average, good or fantastic, he makes difficulties or the implausible seem close, easy and quotidian. Gifted with a boundless versatility, he could go from “La Venganza de Don Mendo” (The Revenge of Mr Mendo) to Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s songs with the same brand of excellence and efficiency.
With Fernando, a perfect and irreplaceable artist has disappeared. He not only stood out as an actor, he was an essential director both in theatre and films. In cinema, he debuted in one of the most brilliant but at the same time difficult periods of Spanish cinema. I refer to the 50’s. With delightful comedies such as “La Vida Alrededor” (Life Around Us) , “La Vida Ante Sí” (Life Upon Itself) or the wicked and acerbic masterpiece “El Crimen de Mazarrón” (El Extraño Viaje – The Strange Voyage).
Theatre author and successful novelist he portrayed his profession and life in another masterpiece: “El Viaje a Ninguna Parte” (The Trip Nowhere). Having only just received the news of his departure to eternity, such a title gives me chills.
Fernando was eternal before passing away. In my films, there are only a few older male characters. Fortunately, when there was a possibility in “Todo sobre mi Madre” (All About my mother), Fernando agreed to do it. It’s one of the best gifts I have received as a director. In a film, created on the basis of restrained emotions, he performed one of the most emotional and beautiful scenes: the walk in the park with his dog when he finds Penelope, his daughter, whom he doesn’t recognise.
He was very affectionate during shooting. We then saw each other every now and then. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to show him my absolute admiration and affection while still alive.
Fernando’s ferocity is a fallacy. He simply did not stand stupidity or mediocrity, and he didn’t hide his feelings about it. He was a free individual with no commitments to anyone but himself and his work. He had no need to make concessions or appearances.
Personally, I will always remember him and will continue to watch his films.