Early Cinema in Catalonia

Misterio de dolor (Frgm.)
R: Adrià Gual. B: Adrià Gual (screenplay and story). K: Alfredo Fontanals, Juan Solá Mestres. Ba: Juan Morales.  D: Aurora Baró, Emilia Baró, Joaquín Carrasco,José Durany, Enrique Jiménez. P: Barcinógrafo. Sp 1914
Print: Filmoteca Catalana

“A rather well told and well acted little short in the attractive setting of the Catalan mountains on a theme where early film-makers rarely dared to venture. A young shepherd attracts the love of a widow with a grown-up daughter. He marries her but increasingly finds himself drawn to the daughter who is secretly in love with him.”

“Adrià Gual (Barcelona 1872-1943), who was a playwright, poet and painter, was one of the most innovative Catalan theatre writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As a theatre and film director, he synthesised the different arts with the aim of achieving the total spectacle. He started out as a painter but soon gave his attention to theatre. The influence of French symbolism and, above all, of the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck marked his first stage as a playwright. ‘Nocturn. Andante. Morat’ (Nocturne: Andante in Purple, 1896) and ‘Silenci’ (Silence, 1898) are two of the most representative works of this period of his life. However, lack of public interest in this type of theatre increasingly alienated him from the ‘decadent’ turn-of-the-century aesthetics. Although the presence of symbolist elements would remain in works such as ‘La culpable’ (The Guilty Woman, 1899), his theatre steadily acquired a more realist tone. ‘Misteri de dolor’ (Mystery of Pain, 1904), considered by Gual to be a ‘drama of the world’ was his first great success. This work, which was translated into several languages, inaugurated a new phase that was notable for its naturalist dramas such as ‘La fi de Tomàs Reynald’ (The End of Tomàs Reynald, 1905). (…) Gual created and directed the company Teatre Íntim (1898-1927) with the aim of modernising Catalan theatre. Later, commissioned by the Mancomunitat (a federation of the four Catalan Provincial Councils), he founded the Escola Catalana d’Art Dramàtic (Catalan School of Dramatic Art, 1913-1934). He was also an outstanding representative of the early years of cinema in Catalonia.”
Francesc Viñas
L’Associació d’Escriptors en Llengua Catalana


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