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Filming of 'Uncertain Glory' kicks off

The filming of award-winning director Agustí Villarongas' new movie, a cinematic adaption of the classic novel by Catalan author Joan Sales about the Spanish Civil War, has already started in Aragon in north-eastern Spain. Written in 1956, 'Uncertain Glory' is considered to be one of the most important works in Catalan literature of the twentieth century, and its English translation by Peter Bush was chosen on the list of 10 best novels of 2014 by The Economist. It is the first Catalan novel portraying the Civil War through the losing Republicans’ eyes, and for many it is the greatest depiction of the whole war. The film is scheduled to arrive in cinemas in 2017. 

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10 May 2016 06:34 PM

by

ACN / Julia Matinniemi

Barcelona (CNA). – The film adaptation by award-winning director Agustí Villarongas of ‘Uncertain Glory’, one the most celebrated works in Catalan literature, has begun in Aragon in north-eastern Spain. The novel, written by Joan Sales in 1956, tells the story of the Republican front and rearguard through three protagonists and for many is the greatest depiction of the Civil War. The book has been translated into many languages, including into English in 2014. The film version of the novel is going to be shot in Catalonia and Aragon which were both Republican zones in the war and therefore locations which feature in the book. The director Villaronga is best known for his movie ‘Pa Negre’ (‘Black Bread’) from 2010, which won 13 prizes at the Gaudi Awards and nine at the Goya Awards, as well as being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars that year


Mallorcan director Agustí Villaronga and his crew have begun filming the visual depiction of one of the most celebrated works in Catalan literature. Author Joan Sales' novel 'Uncertain Glory' tells the story of the Republican front and rearguard through three protagonists, who are former student friends from Barcelona and who all share love for the same woman as well as a youth affected by war. As a combatant in the war himself, the author Sales infused his own experiences into the book.

The book, written from the Republican point of view, excludes eloquent partisanism, giving the honest view of the losing side. For many, Sales' work is the greatest depiction of the Civil War. He does not only describe the fighting, but focuses on the boredom, banality and brutality that war brings into everyday life.

The film version of the novel is going to be shot in Catalonia and Aragon, two different autonomous communities of Spain which were both Republican zones in the war and therefore locations which feature in the book. The locations in Catalonia will vary between Barcelona, La Garriga, Jafre de Ter and Rubí. In Arago, the filming started in the Carthusian monastery Nuestra Señora de las Fuentes in the municipality of Sariñena.

The director Villaronga is best known for his movie 'Pa Negre' / 'Black Bread' from 2010, which won 13 prizes at the Gaudi Awards and nine at the Goya Awards, as well as being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars that year. In Villarongas' work, the Spanish Civil War is often present, as his father was a child of the war period. 'Uncertain Glory' is co-produced by Isona Passola, who was also behind the successful 'Pa Negre', and the Catalan public television station TV3, along with the Governments of Catalonia and Aragon and also the Spanish Ministry of Culture. The movie includes actors Marcel Borras, Nuria Prims, Oriol Pla, Bruna Cusi and a special collaboration with Luisa Gavasa.

From censorship to awards

The novel 'Uncertain Glory' was first published in 1956, during the Francoist dictatorship and strict pro-regime censorship, and was highly censored due to its "heretical ideas" and "obscure language". The French translation of the book published in 1962 contained text that was not included in the "original" Catalan version. The heavy censoring of the first publication could be seen when in 1971 the uncut version finally saw daylight. The final edition was compared to the works of Dostoyevsky and Stendhal.

For an English-speaking audience, the Spanish Civil War is familiar largely through the work of George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway, but with Peter Bushs' translation of 'Uncertain Glory' a novel with a local view was given to the international audience. The Economist chose Bush's translation as one of the 10 best novels of 2014. Along with English, 'Uncertain Glory' has also been translated into Spanish, French and German.

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  • 'Uncertain Glory's film crew at one of the locations, the Cartuja de Nuestra Señora de las Fuentes de Sariñena, in Aragon region (by ACN)

  • 'Uncertain Glory's film crew at one of the locations, the Cartuja de Nuestra Señora de las Fuentes de Sariñena, in Aragon region (by ACN)