EXCLUSIVE ’24/7 VALENCIA’ INTERVIEW
24/7 VALENCIA: Could you tell us in detail about the process and concept of making ‘TRANCE’, the road movie about the legendary Spanish musician and globetrotter ‘Jorge Pardo’?
EMILIO BELMONTE: Trance is the second film in a trilogy of feature films, “La piedra y el centro”, which I am dedicating to contemporary flamenco through great figures who explore the limits of this art form. The first was “Impulso”, in 2018, a film about the creative process of the flamenco dancer Rocío Molina. For the second, focused on music, we have been lucky enough to work with the maestro Jorge Pardo, one of the most important flamenco musicians of recent decades. Jorge Pardo was a founding member of the legendary sextet of guitarist Paco de Lucía, a group that revolutionised flamenco by opening it up to new instruments and influences. Jorge brought the wind instruments, the flute and the saxophone, from the world of jazz to which he belonged. He also collaborated for thirty years with Chick Corea in numerous bands. He is an essential musician in our culture.
The film is neither a biography nor an interview documentary. It is a fictionalised road movie in which Jorge tries to put together a great fusion concert, for which he travels all over the world to meet numerous musicians. A journey to the heart of flamenco music led by Jorge, a film made from the inside, because it is a music that I know well as a fan. We have tried to make the most ambitious Spanish music film in recent years, with a spectacular protagonist, who has a very particular and bohemian vision of art and the music industry. His way of looking at the world interested me a lot, and it is one of the strong points of the film. In addition, ‘Trance’ features some of the best artists of the moment in a shoot that took a year and a half in Spain, France, India, the USA, Morocco. On a technical level, ‘Trance’ dazzles with its photography and sound quality. It’s an interesting challenge to try to be at the level of the artists who appear. Above all, ‘Trance’ is a declaration of love for music.
What have you learnt most about the people, music and culture in general from your travels around the world with Jorge Pardo?
I have been able to see how the cliché that music is a universal language is true. I have discovered how flamenco travels from traditional Andalusian villages to India, to New York, and how musical energy has a positive influence on all of us. At the same time we have discovered that Jorge Pardo is a legend for musicians all over the world, because of his career, his skill & mastery, his boundless generosity and his curiosity.
You have Andalusian roots, could you tell us about your award-winning documentary “IMPULSO”?
I am Andalusian, born in Almería. ‘Impulso’, which I mentioned earlier, was a turning point in my professional career. I’ve been living in France for 20 years, and with this flamenco trilogy I’m trying to find my own identity. I grew up with flamenco music and I am proud to be able to give something back to this culture that has given me so much. ‘Impulso’ was at festivals all over the world, it was released in cinemas in many countries and above all, it was a lesson for me, a lesson in art, to share so much time with such a genius as the dancer Rocío Molina. Being so close to artists like her and Jorge Pardo is a privilege, a lesson in humility, and one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.
You studied in Valencia, how did you find it as a place to live, has it changed a lot over the years, and would it be fair to say that Valencia is one of the cities in Spain with the most potential?
I lived in Valencia for 5 wonderful years, from the age of 18 to 23. I was lucky enough to live in the historic centre, El Carmen, a very charming neighbourhood where students, older people, alternative cultures lived together, very authentic at that time, at the beginning of the 90s. Of course Valencia has changed, the whole world has changed, but it is still a friendly, tolerant city, full of life and people who like to live. Valencians have a very beautiful, Mediterranean & hedonistic component to their character. We are Mediterranean, and that makes us different from other more… methodical Europeans. Obviously Valencia has a lot of potential, but it already has a lot of present, as one of the most modern, dynamic and cultural capitals in Spain.
Report by ’24/7 Valencia’ team
Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’