Friday, August 10, 2007

Article by Juan Manual De Prada about me, Rena

click on the link to read, it is in Spanish.

August 5th, 2007
The previous night, I had accompanied Chencho Arias to a mansion on Mulholland Drive, where a wealthy woman was hosting a concert of classic Spanish guitar. Darkness did not facilitate orientation and Chencho, who was at the helm, missed the place. The car wound the snaking road, as it became narrower, until it had a menacing look; at our feet, the San Fernando Valley twinkled like freezing fireflies, adding helplessness to being lost. Stuck in that winding road, I must confess I was a little scared; but it was a delicious fright, because I imagined I was starring in a scene of the David Lynch movie that has immortalized the name of this road. Afterwards, this Lynchanian impression - a mix of a dreamlike restlessness and unhinging comedy - would be magnified at the mansion of this millionaire woman, who had that arquitectonic air, between syncretic and out of control kitsch, very characteristic of the area.
I was telling Rena Riffel the adventure of the previous night while she put on make up in her apartment. Rena worked on Mulholland Drive, under the direction of Lynch, in a smaller role that both she and I would've hoped. My compulsive mythomania makes her crack up laughing; it was that mythomania that drove me to meet her, after having discovered her in "Showgirls" and after obsessively looking for her face in horrible "B-movie" productions. As I see her delineating her lips in front of the mirror, I'm met with the same impression of unreality and exultation, like Mia Farrow in "The Purple Rose of Cairo". On this night, sweet and warm like a breast-fed baby's dream, Rena has a surprise for me: we will visit Philippe Mora, a director friend of hers. Mora, at one time, was in charge of finding out that I was in reality, as my passionate emails to Rena claimed on the eve of my first visit to Los Angeles, a cinephile Spanish writer, and not a closet psychopath; to that end he asked the actress Ruth Gabriel, daughter of the writer Ana Rossetti, for information about me, with whom he had worked in a not to distant past. Ruth Gabriel's reports must have been appeasing, or at least not excessively intimidating, as Philippe Mora encouraged Rena to meet me, considering not very probable that I would cut her up with an electric saw. We were now on our way to meet the one responsible for our meeting.
Rena knows of my obsession for Rutger Howard, the android from Blade Runner, with whom Philippe made a couple of movies in the 80's, one of them starring with Kathleen Turner, another of my venerated goddesses of the Olympus. She also knows I will enjoy listening to the juicy anecdotes Philippe would later tell me, as he, like I, is a mythomaniac. Philippe Mora lives around the 1400's of Havenhurst Drive, in West Hollywood, in a complex of apartments by the name of "La Ronda", built during the 20's of last century, in an arquitectonic style that around here they call "Spanish Colonial", in which a mix of Mexican and Andalucian elements merge , passed through the blender of California delirium. Mora is a slight Australian, with jumpy eyes and impetuous conversation; his apartment crowded and chaotic, nevertheless conserves that aroma of the Golden Age of Hollywood. He tells me very juicy tales of some of the actors with whom he's worked, authentic icons for any "B-movie" aficionado. But when I think my mythomaniac thirst has been quenched, Mora surprises me with a revelation that is close to making me dizzy from joy. The apartment in which we stand was rented in 1935 by Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, a few days after he divorced Virginia Cherrill, the beautiful blind girl in "City Lights", apparently pissed at the cryptogay wanderings of her husband. We will never know for sure what happened inside the walls of this house while these most illustrious tenants inhabited it, but the mere idea of standing on the ground where Cary and Randy treaded, drives me crazy. Mora shows me a picture in which both actors pose, with a languid virility, in the same room in which we stand. I ask Rena to pinch me, to make sure I'm not dreaming.
Juan Manuel de PradaXL Semanal

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