Lifting the veil of oblivion, fitting one by one like pieces of a puzzle the memories of a destined meeting: this is the premise of the documentary that brings to the big screen the “long love” between the famous Mario Benedetti and his “accomplice and all” Luz Lopez.
Although today little remains to be known about Uruguayan author this, with enormous work which has sold more than three million copies and been translated into more than 20 languagesbecame an essential part of universal literature, continues to exist without revealing an aspect which, reserved for the inner circle, was left out of public notice: that of “his Light.”
This is as he points out in an interview for the director of the film “Benedetti, 60 years with Luz”, Andres VarelaDuring an investigation for the writer’s centenary, in 2020, the team of the production company Coral Films discovered a character “absolutely unknown, but so fundamental to his life”, as Luz Lopez, his wife.
“When I met her / she was only twelve years old and she had black braids / and a stupid dog that served as our doormat / I was fourteen and I wasn’t even a dog,” he says
Benedetti in “Bodas de Perlas” from 1976, a poem in which, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the relationship, he recounts what it was like to meet the love of his life.
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There he also says the phrase that opens the trailer for the documentary, in which, Varela says, the author himself is often responsible for telling the story with his poems dedicated to Luz: “I calculated a future and riffs in my mind / And I knew I was destined / Rather that I was destined / I still don’t know the difference.”
So, says the director, in the film, which will premiere this Wednesday – the author’s birthday – the figure of a low-profile woman who has “a very deep education in art” motivated by her parents, but he comes from a family with right-wing politics a tradition far removed from the left-wing militancy that characterized Benedetti.
For Varela, this is one of the biggest discoveries the investigation has made because, he notes, Benedetti’s relationship with his in-laws has not been severed despite these differences. “One would never have guessed that one of the people Mario loved the most was Luz’s first cousin, who was a colonel in the army, and we discovered that this man often helped him leave the country when he was in the -big danger,” he explains.
As Varela describes it, one of the challenges of the film, which tries to “recover” the “very deep” a love affair that crossed the life of the creator of “La Tregua” or “Thanks for the fire” was in putting together this “eternal puzzle” as most of the images are from the archive and combining them was “a very difficult equation”.
“We have pictures of her from when she was a girl to her last days, and we capture it all in one moment like it’s a storybook,” she points out, adding that they are supplemented with some “wedges” or reproductions of key moments in history, such as the first asthma attack that left the Uruguayan on the brink of death.
“We tried to tap into that ability that Mario had to go to the simple, to say the right thing. That was also like a slogan that it should be simple, and based on that we were putting together this puzzle with all those pieces,” he notes.
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To which he specifies that although there are interviews with family and friends, such as the composer Juan Manuel Serrat or the Argentine Nacha Guevarawanted them to be more in an “off” format than on camera, Varela also emphasizes the role of music in the film.
“There are two musical themes (written by Benedetti in collaboration with musicians), but then the entire soundtrack was composed specifically for the film,” he points out regarding the film, which does not lack Guevara’s voice singing the romantic “if I want you because you are/my love, my accomplice and everything”.
A turning point in the relationship between Benedetti and López, who accompanied the author in his various exiles – first in Cuba, then in Spain – was, says Varela, the impact caused by the sudden onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which affected her in old age. and which deeply affects the author.
“It’s like a terrible dagger, it’s almost a Greek tragedy, and it’s completely unknown in Mario’s life. Three years later, he dies in a state of loneliness and pain, so it’s very interesting in contrast to this good-natured, likable author,” the outsider points out.
“The person he decided to spend his whole life with, the love of his life, forgets him,” the director adds, saying he’s recreating that first night when he didn’t find her by his side because he was wandering around confused a special two-hander with cinematographer, César Charlon.
“But if one afternoon you get lost/Between the sea and the mirror/Always remember that here we are/My soul and my body,” concludes “Farewell and Flute Sonata” by
Benedetti and it is this and other passages, such as the one that recalls that “long love has no splits”, which will also play with the emotions of those who, once in the cinemas, watch the 60 years of love written in verse.