He started producing films in the late 1970s and worked with all the capocomicos from the neighboring coast. Carlos Mentasti He has a successful career that includes films from Olmedo, Emilio Disi, Guillermo Francella Y Natalia Oreiro, although he arrived in Montevideo to promote a play. Is for mother of the musical who star Viviana Puerta, Sabrina Garciarena, Anita Martinez Y Laura Comfort and there will be performances on August 19 and 20 at the Metro Theater. Mentasti spoke to The Saturday Show about his career, changes in humour, producing theater and the present of cinema.
— You started producing films in the seventies. These movies like Mr. Lopez’s little loopholes or the holy manthey would be complicated to implement today, wouldn’t they?
— You are touching a sensitive point, because El Manosanta was Negro Olmedo’s last film. We had written another related to it, different because it wasn’t from Manosanta. I think these movies will not be released today because everything has changed a lot. These were films of the time and I wouldn’t make them today. I would look for another story or theme to work with. To me, and I know it sounds weird, they were superheroes because what El Negro did, or Emilio Dice, or what Guillermo Francella did with that comedy is amazing. This sexualization extends to everything. It was normal back then, it wasn’t just movies or TV: it was society.
“When did it change?”
— In the last 10 years of the valorization of women. There is one thing that bothers me and that is another person’s joke to make fun of and that is normal. This is a little that happened at that time, laughing at the other or the other. It seems to me that, thank God, we have evolved and this is connected with the transformation of society. My head today must be alert to changes and people’s feelings. I got into a rut, understanding and changing my films, looking for other things. This is reflected in my recent films, such as My Masterpiece. With all the love I have for my 70 films, there are many of them that would be impossible to make now. If someone is stupid and continues to play with this style, you lose.
— This change is also reflected in the staging of the play “Madres”, for example, which you are producing and which will be presented at the Metro Theater on August 19 and 20.
-yes It has to do with women’s sense of worth. I think it was to my credit to put together a team of 100 percent women and to be like a radar in the back to let them shine. This is what allows the work to be what it is, an award winner everywhere. This is the manufacturer’s vision. Many people ask me what the recipe for success is, and for me it is hiring people who are more capable than me to improve what I do. So when you get together, in the case of the Mikey play, I listen to them and all I can do is run the product and explain to the girls that when the show is over, the look they have is different than that , which accepts the public.
-How is that?
“They might have forgotten a line or had a hooker, and I tell them, ‘You don’t know what happened to the audience, which is different than what happens to you on stage.’ That you notice forgetting the text has nothing to do with what they are conveying. This is the role of the producer.
– Is it much different to produce cinema than theater?
— Since I am a film producer, the theater makes me make a film every day. In the cinema I shoot every day and here I have to do the same, otherwise I wouldn’t be me. So I feel like a creative producer, I’m not what they are in an office. I’m down to earth, I’m the one who listens, shares and is with everyone, whether it’s for photos or during lunch breaks. I also work with people’s eyes, so what excites me about theater is the community, the back and forth with the audience, and I experience that every day.
— When a script arrives on your desk, what makes you want to make that film, series or work?
— I don’t accept scenarios, I accept ideas. I tell them, “Don’t bring me a script. On a sheet of paper in 10 lines, tell me the idea”. If I like it, the second step is to think about how to sell it. If I know how to do it, I make the movie or whatever. If I don’t know how to sell a product, I don’t, because to me the sale is so important before the story told in the 70 pages. That’s how I work.
— Streaming services are displacing the cinema, and the series today is like a great eight-hour feature film. What is it like to find a story that is for a feature film and not a TV series or vice versa?
— It’s not the same, because in the film I have 90 minutes, and in the series I have eight chapters, 50 each, or four years. What you have to consider is whether the product I have allows me to do it in an hour and a half and I can close the story, or do I have to have an open story to tell in steps. Also, each chapter requires interest for people to keep watching.
– How do you see the present of cinema in Argentina?
– For the first time I see that cinema is complicated and that I have gone through all the crises. There’s something serious going on here, and there’s a very harsh word for it: habituation. This is what happened to us in this year and a half of the madness we experienced in Argentina, people gave up the habit of going to the cinema. There used to be people who went to premieres on Thursdays, put on a jacket and tie and went to the cinema on Saturday night; on Sunday afternoons women used to go; on Wednesdays they went because the entrance was half price. The pandemic has swept all this away and changed us to the comfort of “stay at home”. There you don’t take risks, you don’t pay for parking, you don’t get caught in the rain and you watch the movie. Although the experience on the big screen is not the same as at home, it has greatly affected the cinema. This time it worries me because going back to that with the big rival we have, the screen in your house, is difficult. Hopefully he’s on the mend, but it’s going to be a long time until people come back and say, “Movies are in theaters.” The cinema is the most wonderful thing that exists because of the complicity, the darkness of the room, the fear of something or the contagious laughter.
“How do you get out of this?”
“You have to fight with ‘we’d better stay,’ and that’s complicated.” It comes out with time, improves cinemas and gives people more quality.