More than a journalist, a writer. More than a writer, a ludic observer of reality. On this point, Ana Porrúa –writer from Mar del Plata- and Fernando Martín Peña agreed on, who presented Elvio Gandolfo in the Masterclass held at Un Puente.
"We’re close friends”, said Fernando Martín Peña, a friendship that began back in 1991, when they were introduced by Homero Alsina Thevenet. "Back then I wasn’t familiar with his films because for me, only the cinematographic experience determines the rest”, said the artistic director, half-jokingly. So, apart from a personal relationship, Peña developed care and admiration for the person who is now the President of the Jury of the International Competition.
The reason of the table was the presentation of his book La mujer de mi vida. Notas y margaritas, a compilation of his essays and brief articles, whose distinctive feature is a corrosive humor and his particular view on culture. Also, his view on the special relationships between the different aspects of cinema, literature, everyday life, small but eloquent experiences. Everything has a latent meaning. The result: a master class with the shape of a book that any book or story lover should read.
The discussion had the warmth of a cafe chat between friends, which could be in Rosario, Buenos Aires or Montevideo. Gandolfo belongs to nowhere in particular. "A man of many worlds”, that is how Peña introduced him. The presentation showed his critical abilities, his lucid argumentative strength, seen throughout his work. In the final Margaritas of this compilation with his "I love, I like a lot, I like a little, I don’t like at all”, Elvio Gandolfo analyses films, books and life in general.
"When I was very young, me and a group of friends made a short film in a format that back then seemed like the future: Super 8”, told Gandolfo. That was his first approach to cinema. "I lost that short film on a taxi in Montevideo”, he confessed. "I always expected somebody would find it and give it back to me”.
Relaxed, he read a random section of the fabulous Margaritas for the audience, gaining a spontaneous reaction, a mixture of admiration and kind laughter.
I don’t like at all: hot Coca Cola, installations, people’s pedantry –mine I like-, all reality shows, the rotten dust of bananas during springtime, which ruins your eyes and sticks to your throat, mother’s day, friend’s day, secretary’s day, children’s day, journalist’s day, the bus transportation system in Montevideo, Rosario’s heat, the dividers of Uruguayan taxis, loneliness without money in Buenos Aires, Adornoians, bad sweet milk, bad quince, the latest announced issues of literary magazines.
As part of the review of his vast work, Elvio Gandolfo told the anecdote of his first literary attempts-. "I read Joyce’sUlysses during a summer when I was 17. It drove me crazy. I never read a better novel about what a city truly is. Based on that, with the stupidity of extreme youth, I wanted to write a novel about Rosario. Huge mistake. I threw all that away and from there came El Instituto, which turned out to be a masturbatory piece about an English student who falls in love with his teacher and many other things, using tricks from horror films”.
Gandolfo also spoke about Argentine literature and confessed he feels very comfortable being part of it. And stressed his admiration for Jorge Luis Borges: "He causes an enthusiasm comparable to the most extreme football fan”.
To round it off, he spoke about his duty as Jury, and stressed the importance of not having "stubborn” people, in order to reach a consensus in a group that is to make such an important decision. "I’m very happy to be part of this and I hope everyone will be pleased with the final verdict”.
Inspiring, pleasant, relaxed. One hour is not enough to listen to such a prolific man, but the audience had a unique chance to witness the genius of a man who puts into words difficult things and turns them, by magic, in simple, every day, real things.