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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Spain / USA

Four Spanish filmmakers resurrect Historias para no dormir

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- Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Paco Plaza, Paula Ortiz and Rodrigo Cortés are directing the remakes of four episodes from the television series by Chicho Ibáñez Serrador

Four Spanish filmmakers resurrect Historias para no dormir
Actor Miki Esparbé and director Paco Plaza on the set of Freddy (© Leticia de Zuloaga Ocaña)

Many Spaniards grew up enjoying a generalist, state-run and single-channel television that through the 1960s and 70s offered audiovisual classics that harmoniously blended quality with entertainment, something that is not easily found on the television of today. One of the great professionals who placed TVE (Televisión Española) at the cutting edge of world television was the recently departed Chicho Ibáñez Serrador: his prolific work included, in addition to his two films, the suspense series Historias para no dormir (lit. “Stories to keep you awake”). Now, a group of four filmmakers have taken four of those stories for a remake using their own personal vision.

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series serie

La broma (lit. “The Joke”), written and directed by Rodrigo Cortés (Buried [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Cortés
film profile
]
, Red Lights [+see also:
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Cortés
film profile
]
), is a free recreation of Ibáñez Serrador’s original story, starring Eduard Fernández (winner of three Goya awards), Nathalie Poza (winner of three Goya awards) and Raúl Arévalo (three Goyas, and not just as an actor) in a triangle of characters willing to betray each other for personal interests and selfish motives. This is a piece bursting with sharp dialogues that draw the viewer into more than a few guilty laughs, proving how avarice –like any other human drive– can be both terrible and comical at the same time.

El Doble (lit. “The Double”) transports the viewers to the near future, to a more and more de-humanised world where artificial intelligence and machines occupy a huge and ever-expanding space in human relationships. The protagonist of this 50-minute episode is Dani (played by David Verdaguer), a normal guy going through a rough patch with his girlfriend (played by Vicky Luengo, who made it big with Riot Police [+see also:
series review
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
series profile
]
). In an attempt to save their relationship, Dani makes a decision that will force them to rethink the essence of their identity as a couple. Rodrigo Sorogoyen (May God save us [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
film profile
]
, The Realm [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Isabel P…
film profile
]
) has directed this disturbing account whose script co-wrote with Daniel Remon (The Art of Return [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Pedro Collantes
film profile
]
).

Freddy tells the story of André (Miki Esparbé), a terrible actor who can’t bring himself to tell the woman of his dreams (Adriana Torrebejano) how he feels. On the advice of Ibáñez Serrador himself (who plays the changeable character Carlos Santos), André starts using a mysterious ventriloquist’s dummy, which helps him to overcome his insecurities and take charge of his fate, leading to macabre events. Paco Plaza (who has now completed The Grandmother - read more), directs this tale of suspense with a script by Beto Marini.

Finally, El asfalto (lit. “The Asphalt”) tells the story of Baldo (Dani Rovira), a downtrodden and frustrated fast food delivery man, happily married to Rut (Inma Cuesta), whose feet become inexplicably trapped on the surface of a road. His efforts to free himself only make him sink deeper, while passers-by just take no notice of him: his cries for help are useless and everyone just walks on by, while the poor man, in amazement and despair, gradually keeps on sinking. Directed by Paula Ortiz (The Bride [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Paula Ortiz
film profile
]
), and written by Manuel Jabois and Rodrigo Cortés, this adaptation is an original and ground-breaking combination of suspense and surrealism, just as Chicho himself created back in the day.

Historias para no dormir is a production by ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS), Prointel and Isla Audiovisual for  RTVE and Amazon Prime Video, where it will be shown in autumn 2021 after its presentation in early October at the Sitges Film Festival.

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(Translated from Spanish by Alexandra Stephens)

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