San Sebastian, Sep 21 (EFE).- Portuguese director Marco Martins presented this Wednesday at the San Sebastian Film Festival ‘Great Yarmouth-Provisional Figures’, a drama in which emigration and the impossible ambitions with which he enters into competition for the Golden Shell.
Set in the English city that gives it its title, Martins has built a sordid and suffocating atmosphere in which its characters, Portuguese immigrants expelled from their country by the crisis, seem to live in the worst dreams.
The film takes place in the three months preceding Brexit and features Tania, a Portuguese woman married to an Englishman whose project is to renovate abandoned and unsanitary hotels belonging to her husband to transform them into residences for the elderly.
At the moment, he uses them to rent them to his compatriots, whom he helps find jobs in a turkey slaughterhouse where their meat is also processed.
There is also violence in this dark story, a violence born of frustration. “Nobody is born violent, he becomes violent with frustration, transformed by the system itself”, declared the director of the film during a press conference, who was accompanied by part of his team, including the actors who make up a top-notch cast. by Beatriz Batarda.
The screenplay is based on the stories of the Portuguese who live in Great Yarmouth, a town that used to be a seaside resort and has a majority Brexit supporters.
10,000 Portuguese live there and the director landed there in 2017 invited by a theatrical association of factory workers who wanted to put on a play with their experiences, about the terrible conditions in which they worked and in a city like Great Yarmouth where the English call the people of his country “pork and cheese”.
“With the crisis, there was no more work in Portugal and in 2009 many people emigrated in search of work and for this reason they accepted pre-industrial conditions, with people working up to 16 hours a day, with toxic products and without insurance, without any protection”, explained the director, who began his career as assistant director to Wim Wenders, Pedro Costa, Manoel de Oliveira and Bertrand Tavernier.
Martins ended up taking the story to film, in a co-production of Portugal, France and the UK, convinced of the value of art to change things and also to make known stories that, according to what ‘he says, many people do not know and relate to Europe as a whole.
In addition to having professional actors, he also involved in the film workers from factories and theater associations, people who live like ghosts in a city that is also a ghost, in which some of those who arrived in 2009 managed to settle and in whose conditions worsened after Brexit.
A place where one of the actors, Nuno Lopes, a taxi driver said “welcome to the circus”, when he replied that he was Portuguese and that he had not come for tourism, but work.