When Manuel Vicente stopped bathing in the sea for “something deeper”

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It was 12 o’clock on a bright day in the coastal town of Benicissim. The bells tolled extensively. Manuel Vicente was a child and decided to undertake an act of rebellion. Instead of listening to the priest, as ordered by his family and custom, he went to the beach and took a bath in the sea. She hasn’t stopped doing it since, nor has she stopped remembering the sensations she experienced. He tells himself in the documentary open sky which airs this sunday in space Required, In RTVE’s La 2, dedicated to the 86-year-old Valencian writer. “It stuck with me. I thought that bathing in the sea was also a religious act as well as something much deeper, the sand, the water, the smell of salt, the landscape…”, recalls the novelist and journalist.

A recurring scenario in Vicente’s life and work, as evidenced by the film where he was born, Castellon to La Villavella; where he studied, Valencia; Where he made a name for himself and lives for a good part of the year, Madrid, and where he flees as quickly as possible, Alicante to Denia. It’s “very embarrassing” to look back and review your life in the presence of an audience, he says. “It is an indecent act, especially when you present a documentary in front of friends. It is as if a piece of plaster has been torn from a wound. I think they are the result of innate shyness,” he tells this newspaper in a telephonic conversation.

Manuel Vicente, in the documentary 'Open Sky'.
Manuel Vicente, in the documentary ‘Open Sky’.

“I like to focus on my trajectory of my work and documentary because it is a description of a time, of new ways of life, of a way of being, the political history of a certain era such as the transition, the profound change of that which Spain in”, explains EL PAÍS columnist and former parliamentary historian. “I had the privilege of being there, deputy in Congress, and in his bar where politics, passions and contradictions were humanised. Everything is concentrated at once, a very Spanish thing”, he adds.

And were you also in Madrid Movida? “My son knew him from inside, I from outside. I lived it as a spectator, it made me old, I was able to write and describe it. Life has always seemed like a show, in which instead of being a part of the scene, I have always been in the stalls”, he explains.

Testimonies of journalists such as former directors of this newspaper Juan Luis Cébrián or Soledad Gallego Diaz, writers and filmmakers such as David Truba, politicians such as Javier Solana or singers such as Miguel Ríos, among others, alternate actresses Leonor Watling with the reading of their paragraphs. and with books and memoirs from Emma Suarez and part of authors Ray Loriga and Manuel Jabois and directed by the author they are from the sea,

“I did not want to be the spokesperson of eternal values, but the enjoyer of momentary pleasures. I began to think that there was more structure in scent than in any thought, that there was more truth in emotion than in logic”, explains Vicente. Tram to Malvarosa, Perhaps the most popular novel by the author who became famous in literature in 1966 when he won the Alfaguara Prize easter and oranges, His father, however, never took his son’s dedication seriously until he heard an interview in which then-minister Francisco Fernández Ordóez referred to a remark by his “friend Manuel Vicente”.

Manuel Vicente, in a file image collected in the documentary.
Manuel Vicente, in a file image collected in the documentary.

Directed by José ngel Montiel and produced by Voramar Films for the regional television punt, in which it has already aired, and for RTVE, the documentary directed by José ngel Montiel recalls the author’s smile the most. The film is a synthesis of the way he sees the world and the literature of a writer who tries to “create his own world”, acknowledges Vicente.

“I have changed the way I write a lot,” he adds. “I go for simplicity. Naturalness is a very difficult victory that always leads to the end. One realizes that the simpler and simpler things are, the better. Later, life experience leads you to think or doubt that it all boils down to one thing. Humans have a series of passions that repeat. It can be said that according to Christians, life is reduced to seven sins; According to agnosticism, for simple feelings, intelligence and reason”.

Is the adjective overrated? “The adjective worthy qualifies itself. I think there are two ways of writing: in the Anglo-Saxon way, in which the verb draws the verb and people are defined by their actions; and Latin culture, the more atmospheric”.

Vicente considers himself a conformist writer, a far cry from the current hegemonic digital culture. “Today we live in one in judicial inquiry. You cannot write what was written 20 years ago. There is a terrible moral censorship, a brutal anonymous tribunals that network, judge and punish you and stifle fiction and writing”, he affirmed.

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