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Three decades throwing ‘more wood’ into the boilers of transgressive cinema in original version

Who is capable of bringing together more than 150 people on a winter Thursday in Benalmádena, at nine o’clock in the evening, to see an Iranian film in its original version? Only, the Más Madera cinema club. This Benalmadan cultural association has been doing magic for 30 years, but the true one, which is in unexpected and surprising moments, that magic that movies have that allow you to look through other eyes, that sadden you, excite you, they make you scream, laugh or sigh …

The Más Madera cinema club, according to members of its board of directors Ole Benalmádena, was born into a group of about twenty friends who stayed with him worm of taste for the seventh art that the disappeared left them Semana Internacional del Cine de Autor de Benalmádena (Sicab). Thanks to her they discovered the transgressive author’s cinema, the one that circumvented Franco’s censorship and, for a week, made Benalmádena the culmination of reference in the continent’s cinematographic panorama, in a window of fresh air towards freedom that in addition to projecting to the general public another type of cinema, -the prohibited one-, also managed to teach them another way of seeing life.

Once la Sicab disappeared, it left a great void, but it also planted a seed that has given life to different events and cultural associations that continue today, such as the Club Más Madera cinema.

30 years ago , according to Ole Benalmádena, “it was impossible to see an auteur film in Benalmádena simply because they didn’t show up”, and this group of friends decided to organize themselves to promote the projection of films that are outside the commercial circuit , “and they are very good … they remove you from the inside.”

They have always screened in original version with subtitles because they indicate that “the dubbing was great accomplices of the censorship and everything related to adultery, homosexuality, prostitution and of course those referring to the Franco regime itself, were suppressed and changed by other phrases that have nothing to do with the original script ”.

It is a non-profit entity with losses, but with great profitability for the more than 150 people, of different nationalities, who meet every Thursday to see a movie of those little known, and above in original version with subtitles, which sometimes you they make them leave the House of Culture laughing out loud and others, crying their eyes out because the films they show Más Madera They are the kind that do not leave you indifferent, the kind that stir your soul. Perhaps this is the secret that hooks the public so much: knowing that when you finish watching the film, you feel alive. It allows you, as Aristotle would say, to do catharsis, one of the moral purposes of tragedy that, according to the classical definition, consists of an emotional, spiritual, mental and bodily purification, which occurs when the viewer manages to discharge his own passions by seeing them. projected on the characters of the play.

In these thirty years, people from Benalmádena and foreigners have enjoyed 870 quality films – with a total of 88,000 spectators – at the Casa de la Cultura thanks to the Más Madera cinema club.

And these years have also given many anecdotes. They tell us that changed films arrived – they asked for the first part and, for example, the second part arrived -, the lights broke, the tapes were burning … even, on one occasion when they were fixing the roof of the House of Culture, it began to rain and it was filled with leaks, or how they used the wall of the house next door to show some movies … on one occasion, Más Madera, -who worked through the now defunct Andalusian Federation of Cinema Clubs- brought an independent film by a Córdoba director. When they were charging the tickets, -two euros for members and three for non-members- a man suddenly appeared “very angry and told us that he was the producer and director of the film and that we could not put it on because there was an open dispute with the distribution company and all the tapes had been deposited in the Andalusian film library on deposit, until the conflict was resolved ”.

The members of the association were cold, because if it was already strange that the director of that film, unknown to the vast majority of mortals, had found out that it was being screened in Benalmádena, it was even stranger that it had been done. the trip from Córdoba to prevent the “premiere” at the Casa de la Cultura.

The room, as usual, was from boat to boat and, “when the director observed the number of spectators – surely the film never had an audience of such caliber – not only allowed it to be screened but also went on stage to present it before the ovation of those present ”.  

Although there is currently no commercial movie theater in Benalmádena, “whoever wants to see a movie of this type has it very easy because there are large movie theaters in neighboring towns or in the province and the different internet platforms, but there is also another part in the cinema; the human, the cultural, and those films are not accessible to everyone ”, they explain to us from the association.

There is a lot of cinema that does not reach the Spanish market, they are good films that tiptoe to the general public even though they have even been awarded in renowned competitions, and these are the ones that are premieredat the Casa de la Cultura through Más Madera. The cultural entity, with more than 700 members -who only have to pay a single inaugural fee-, can boast in addition to its continuity in time, of having a loyal audience that comes every Thursday at 9:00 p.m. to its obligatory appointment with the cinema in its original version.

In addition, they also collaborate with other cultural associations in the city such as Ficcab, in which they sponsor the Best Malaga Short Film award, or with the Ateneo Libre, with whom this year they have started developing cinema forums. In fact, the next one will be on the 24th and will revolve around the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the end of terrorism in Spain. It will include screenings of films related to the subject and the visit of figures such as the journalist Luis Rodríguez Aizpeolea and Jesús Eguiguren.

Within their programming they have combined celluloid and live music, a fusion that has delighted the audience through the experience of going to the cinema but demanding attention in the melodies of some musicians playing live, in communion with each frame, in a kind of great visual theater.

They also promote cinema within the Benalmádena Flamenco Week programming, where in this edition they will screen Menese, a film that shows the portrait of a free, indomitable artist who loved flamenco above all else. And they also don’t forget the most didactic part of celluloid and organize daytime screenings in secondary schools in the city.

For its part, the Arroyo de la Miel Public Library has organized for November 26 a talk to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the cultural association, an appointment in which a review of the history of the Cine Club, with both founding members and the current board of directors of one of the flagships of culture in Benalmádena.

And from Ole Benalmádena, we will inform you in the Billboard section of the next cinematographic appointments proposed by this association for Thursday night. Of course, be very careful because the Más Madera cinema club creates a healthy addiction.

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