martes, 18 de enero de 2011

Días de sombras (desclasificados sobre Qué bello es vivir)


Todos los años desde hace ya varios, una o dos semanas antes de la navidad me entrego a la rutina de ver Qué bello es vivir, el célebre relato de Frank Capra.
Funciona como puerta de entrada al espíritu navideño.
Termino con los ojos a punto de explotar cada vez.
Y espero volver al verla.
Al flaco George Bailey corriendo desgarbado por las calles de Bedford Falls, al malvado Potter en su silla de ruedas y la historia de amor, de entrega, de sacrificio, de amistad que la película renueva una y otra vez.
Con los años supe que no estoy solo en la rutina. Que Capra es de alguna manera el inspirador de tantos cineastas que aprendieron con sus películas básicas, casi cursis, cómo debe contarse una historia. En algún reportaje leí que Juan José Campanella es miembro de esta legión, y buen discípulo.
También con los años, logré juntar material, conocer más y más detalles del rodaje, compré ediciones especiales en DVD, el libreto, fotos, pósters.
A fines de 2010 una de las actrices, que en la película hace de una niña, ahora sesentona, es la cara de una campaña de un lugar llamado Bedford Falls en los Estados Unidos.
Esta revelación que hoy comparto es una rareza.
Simplemente porque, cuando pensé que había escuchado todo, o casi, un amigo me revela esta carta, archivo clasificado, que argumentaba en 1947 que la película era pura propaganda comunista, parte de un sórdido complot para desestabilizar el sueño americano y llenarlo de rojos.
El cine de los Estados Unidos estuvo envuelto en esa locura, en esa casa de brujas. El cine y la literatura.
Creo que es bueno tener esto fresco.
Esas persecuciones no son ficción.
Perseguir, escudriñar, tamizar todo lo que se dice con el anteojo de deformar, forzar las interpretaciones. Les suena?
Ese no trabaja más. Aquél dijo tal cosa.
Hay buenos trabajos, dolorosos, pero muy buenos a la hora de comprender esa etapa.
Las listas negras en el cine, libro del colosal Homero Alsina Thevenet, una fantástica película documental y de ficción sobre la vida de Dalton Trumbo (se consigue) o la conmovedora El testaferro (The front) de Martin Ritt, con la enorme actuación de Zero Mostel y un papel inolvidable encargado a Woody Allen actor (en la banda de sonido hay una versión de Young at heart por Frank Sinatra).
En fin, miserias de los que creen que pueden decidir por nosotros.

Les copio la carta.

No sueñen con esto y no intenten esto en casa.

May 27, 1947
To: The Director
D.M. Ladd
COMMUNIST INFILTRATION OF THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY
(Running Memorandum)

There is submitted herewith the running memorandum concerning Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry which has been brought up to date as of May 24, 1947. . . .

With regard to the picture "It's a Wonderful Life", [redacted name of informant] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a "scrooge-type" so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. . . .

In addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. [redacted -- suggests that the informant is a film director] related that if he made this picture portraying the banker, he would have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiner in connection with making loans. Further, [redacted] stated that the scene wouldn't have "suffered at all" in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown. In summary, [redacted] stated that it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and "I would never have done it that way."

[redacted] recalled that approximately 15 years ago, the picture entitled "The Letter" was made in Russia and was later shown in this country. He recalled that in this Russian picture, an individual who had lost his self-respect as well as that of his friends and neighbors because of drunkenness, was given one last chance to redeem himself by going to the bank to get some money to pay off a debt. The old man was a sympathetic character and was so pleased at his opportunity that he was extremely nervous, inferring he might lose the letter of credit or the money itself. In summary, the old man made the journey of several days duration to the bank and with no mishap until he fell asleep on the homeward journey because of his determination to succeed. On this occasion the package of money dropped out of his pocket. Upon arriving home, the old man was so chagrined he hung himself. The next day someone returned the package of money to his wife saying it had been found. [redacted] draws a parallel of this scene and that of the picture previously discussed, showing that Thomas Mitchell who played the part of the man losing the money in the Capra picture suffered the same consequences as the man in the Russian picture in that Mitchell was too old a man to go out and make money to pay off his debt to the banker.


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