“In Spain, success is expensive”

The overcoming drama set in the world of sports is part of the imaginary of Hollywood. The story is well known, the downtrodden guy who finds a life-saving goal in baseball (The best1984), boxing (Rocky1976) or football (I want to be like Beckham, 2022). A genre that has been used very little or not at all by Spanish cinema, perhaps due to the skepticism inherent in our cultural tradition, as Dani De la Orden and Álex Murrull, directors of 42 seconds.

Set during the Barcelona Olympic Games, that moment in which everything changed not only for the city, but also for Spain. The film tells of the meteoric improvement of the water polo team: at first we see some unmotivated kids with no ambition to win a title, but everything changes when he appears a Croatian coach subjecting them to harsh discipline.

Not only that. The new coach also changes the composition of the team, originally made up only of Catalans, and mixes them with those from Madrid. Those from Barcelona stand out for their mastery of technique; those of Madrid, for their good physical condition. misgivings are served and they are embodied by two apparently very different characters. On the one hand, the super champion Manuel Estiarte (Álvaro Cervantes), a brilliant guy but unable to enjoy playing and isolated in himself. At the other extreme, Pedro García Aguado (Jaime Lorente), a water polo ace weighed down by his addiction to drugs. Both, however, will end up being more similar than they thought.

Ask: Why did you decide to shoot the film together?

Alex Murrull: It was a complicated film and we decided to join forces. We have known each other for a long time through mutual friends and we were also excited to shoot together. Friendship above all we have forged now.

Danny of the Order: In the face of funding for a big movie like this, just for sheer background: They saw it more viable to raise a film if I directed it with another person. The question was: what were the best elements for this story? I think that with two heads and two visions it is enriched.

P. How does this story come about?

Murrull: That magic of the Olympic Games in Barcelona struck me a lot when I lived them as a child. That water polo final marked me. Then you see that in that generation of athletes there is a very interesting story. They are stories that speak of overcoming, of what success is… We also wanted to do a sports drama with Anglo-Saxon bill, which is a genre that does not occur much. But why not? With these elements we were fascinated to tell the story of Estiarte and García Aguado. There haven’t even been any movies set at that time.

Of the order: It is a time when Barcelona presents itself to the world as a modern country. We had that hindrance from a previous stage: it was a cover letter to say that we are modern and cosmopolitan. It was also the moment when tourism exploded. In addition, in the film we see a country that was still very conservative.

[Dani de la Orden: “No me interesan las críticas que me llaman pijo”]

P. On the one hand there is that solipsistic Estiarte, while García Aguado is the opposite: he is unable to control his addictions. Do we see two very different ways of reacting to trauma?

Of the order: Estiarte manages that trauma from neurosis: dreams, nightmares, confinement… He focuses on the medal to “win something” when in reality he will not get anything. Aguado acts from evasion and the goal of forgetting. We want to teach that muscular strength is not more important than mental strength. we see it in the case of simon bills. We see more and more athletes talking about what it takes to train to be an elite athlete. There is a physical sacrifice, but it is important to take care of your head.

Murrull: They are two characters who have a trauma that manifests itself in what they have in common: playing water polo. One loses hope because he is obsessed and takes it too seriously, and the other is irresponsible because he embraces his passion for playing but is unable to focus. Manuel must learn from Pedro to let go and the other to focus. It’s about learning from each other. In addition, Aguado’s addiction problem goes beyond 92, that is, it does not end in the film.

“This country is a very large neighborhood ladder”

P. Why in Spain there are no sports dramas of overcoming?

Murrull: The Americans take this part of overcoming to a very pompous extreme and here we have a deficit. When someone stands out, we point it out and don’t take the positive part. We want to talk about people who can inspire and we see their struggle. It is not taken with tweezers. It is easy to empathize.

Of the order: We tend to admire the picaresque more. The clean victory without malice costs us more to see. For some reason our hero is SuperLopez and no Superman. In Spain, success is expensive. If you are successful, they immediately look for the pimple and you are old fashioned because your moment passes very quickly. We are a very large neighborhood ladder in some respects. We always get that mini pullita that we can’t avoid. Maybe it also happens in other countries, but I only know mine. When we see a story of overcoming, we say “what an American”.

P. Did they want to make a song of harmony with that meeting of Barcelona and Madrid athletes?

Murrull: They ask us a lot but it was never the intention. What we want to show is how some people go from mistrust to mutual trust and form a real team. We have not wanted to make a political metaphor.


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