Albert Madaula

by Gemma Cuadrado Soler,

CONTRA2 La Contraportada: Albert Madaula |

Limón is the result of something that I had to explain right now

Albert Madaula. 27 years. More bud than ambitious. He plays being different people. Smell of oil and paint. Introverted and simple. The human relationship is the base of his work. In June presents Limón, his first short film.

Sweet and firm. Shy, but secure. He looks away to return it fixedly. Observes, shreds and silences. Sometimes his gaze is elsewhere and it reminds me of the absence that he paints his portraits. He explains to me that it is difficult to express something that is not lived and inevitably he asks me what stories are hidden behind so much serenity. He breathes deeply and smiles. We have agreed to meet after lunch or during the nap time. I take advantage of the trouble sleep atmosphere, maybe it is the ideal moment to me to get into and understand what shakes the most intimate part of Albert.

Piece by piece

What did Albert draw at age 8 or 10? “I liked to draw but at the same time to design. I designed houses and cars I wanted to have. In fact, I created a car brand and I began developing cars. I had a two seater car, a family car, a minivan…” Do you remember the name of the brand? “Do I have to say this?” Please! “Well, okay. It was called Silexform.” That’s a great name. “There was also a moment when I loved to draw dinosaurs.” Kids when they are little want to become firefighters or astronauts. What do you wanted to be when you grew up? “When I was little it settled in my brains being an architect. I played a lot with the Playmobil toys and I liked to take cardboard boxes and built houses or cabins. I liked very much the matter of construction and creating volumes. In fact, I began to study architecture but after three months I saw that it was not what I wanted. Still, I have great admiration for this world.” And what about the photography? “Photography is the last thing I’ve abandoned in order to immerse myself into the film.” Have you abandoned it or is it in stand by? “I don’t want to be photographer. If I do photography is as an artistic and personal work.” You have also done an editorial standstill. “Yes, and with a little bit of sadness. I had a new project that I wanted wholeheartedly to launch, but now it is not the right moment. When I’ll have more time and more money I am sure that I’ll retake it because the editorial world amazes me.” What did you have in mind? “A picture magazine. I like the idea of pictures dying or resting in a magazine format.” You are also a model. When you are in front of a camera, don’t you ever think about changing to the other side? “Yes, many ties. In fact, if it were a commercial, I would love to get up and direct or to help to do make a project. Sometimes, but not many, I feel the opposite, that I would like to put myself in front of a camera. When I’m in front of a camera, it’s not that I like specially the fact of a camera focusing me, rather than I like to create a character. It’s a very interesting feeling in which the real world disappears and you can get into a human being and a story and be carried along.” ¿Have you ever wanted to be an actor? “I thought about it, but no. I have never doubt about if I should have gone that way”.

An exchange of gazes

How does it feel to be raised in a family of artists? “Very comforting. Unlike other families in which the artist is the weirdie, in a family of artists and precisely mine is full of them (my uncles, my father or my brother), the artistic thing is the daily bread. Sometimes even too much, especially to those ones that are not artists who will surely think that we are tiresome.” How was it when you were a child? “I was raised in a very calm atmosphere, even though sometimes it was chaotic. I remember my father painting and with a smell of oil and my uncles were always talking about film.” Are they demanding with you? “I have always had an artists struggle with my father. Call it artists or call it artists’ technicians, because he doesn’t like to call himself artist. And it’s not that I don’t like it, but it exists and it’s used to designate a group of people that do art. What we do have is a vision struggle and it is linked to the own vision of life. We have a very different vision of life and of art.” What’s your vision? “The human relationship is the base of my work. For example, one thing that divides us very much is that he paints landscapes and, despite being shy both of them, he has a more introspective point. I like his way of working because he is more meditative and more private. But, I prefer a more external work, working with other people. He doesn’t like anything with a commercial view or on a show. He gets irritated. I don’t dislike spicing up: a gala dinner, an exhibition, an awards or presentation.”

Acid and brilliant

With Limón you make a debut as screenwriter and director. Do you think that your artistic career got you where you are naturally? “Yes, I believe that it has been journey from the most technical one to the most artistic one. It has been strange, because I’ve been skipping, but the sum of all the parts has leaded me to the cinema, a discipline that for many years I have respected and even I feared.” Which obstacles does someone of 27 years that directs for the first time find?  “My biggest fear was to see how the people around me would receive this. Money issue aside, my biggest hurdle was that security, that people will embrace and believe the project.” Most of the portraits tend to have a blank stare. Do you hide any story behind your creations? “I believe that it is a point in which all the stares are more interesting because they are not seeing outside but from the inner side. My portraits depart from a person I like or a person who interests me. I analyze him or her until I find the most adequate gesture so I can paint and it always ends with the absence moment.” You undress people. What story hides behind Limón? “A love story or a heartbreaking one.” A lemon is aesthetically beautiful but is sour in its essence. “It has to do with all these beautiful things which, in truth, are not. We wanted to choose a relationship that to the naked eye would seem ideal: a young man and a young woman, good-looking, with a great house, with great jobs and who have created their own world. But, even those couples can get to the point of the love’s decadence.”

When do you decide to start a project so different as it is Limon? “Limón was born when I was going to London for work, in the second floor of a bus. In that precise moment I was paralyzed, I didn’t know where to go, what to do; because neither painting nor photography convinced me as professions. The picture that came to my mind was a bathroom and the relationship of a couple. It also came to my mind my mother, who is directly related with the character of Bega, the main character of the short movie.” Describe me Bega. “She has a strong personality. She is special and she is in a deadlock. She is the character who is in decadence. She was a very full of life person and because a series of circumstances she has come to this low point. Her personality has changed and she discovers finally that her ideal relationship doesn’t exist anymore and there is only the skin.” Is there any guilty party? “No, it is life throwing you curveballs and sometimes it can come in a good way, and sometimes in a bad way.” The story of Limón occurs in one space. Why does it happen in a bathroom? “Because it is the most intimate space of the house and of a couple. The place where you throw away your shit, literally.” When can we see Limón? “If everything goes well, in June.”

Villa Rosa

And even with the obstacles of directing, you are now creating a feature film. Do you consider yourself ambitious? “Yes, bud and ambitious. Sometimes, depending on the situation, it could be a virtue because it makes you lead the way, but sometimes you have to control this ambition because it takes you to the wrong way. You have to take ambition coherently.” What is Villa Rosa? “It is more of the same, human relations. It could be a salad with different ingredients and characters. It’s Limón but more completed. More characters, more complex plot and more stories to tell. We will see what kind of a movie will emerge.” Do you think you can tell a story without living it? “Yes, you can do it, but I would not dare to judge something that I really do not know because I can’t put myself into it. Limón has occurred because of the experiences I had and because I have seen it closely during these years. It has been the result of something that I had to tell right now. Villa Rosa is more positive. In Limón I had to get through things and in Villa Rosa those things are in the past. In Villa Rosa, I haven’t lived the story, but I have seen and lived the concept.” In addition of a good story, I imagine that as a film director you will take especially care of the aesthetics. Hoe would you describe your personality in that sense? “I like very much the aesthetics but when it is always justified. I get nervous when there are no grounds that justify an aesthetic and especially when it is exaggerated. If the story can’t handle that aesthetic, it doesn’t make any sense.” Where and how would you like to see yourself in five years? “I would love to see myself as a film director and painting in my spare time.”


Photography: Carlos Moreno