Homage from Catalonia

An article in the Barcelona newspaper El País (“Existió otro mundo“/ “The series of my life”) pays homage to the 1981 Granada TV series of Brideshead Revisited. The article is written by Carles Geli who recalls seeing the Spanish TV broadcast of the series over the period 31 January-8 February 1983, so it must have been back-to-back episodes. Whether it was dubbed into Spanish or subtitled isn’t mentioned. At the time, he was in his early university days. The Google translation from Spanish is a bit wonky but a few lightly edited excerpts may give some idea:

It was one morning in June 1923 when Charles Ryder first entered Brideshead, the family mansion of his friend Sebastian, and could not help but throw his hands to his head: there, a Titian; Sèvres porcelain as far as you can see, after the greeting of the nth butler; a Canaletto; Helen of Troy emerging from a tapestry of William Morris … He was on the edge of Stendhal syndrome. And I also. But I was protected by lying with my head on the right ear [?] of the sofa and my legs hanging from the left armrest: I never saw TV better or felt so far from the world.

After describing what he thought to be the highlights of the production, Geli concludes:

The effect of the 11 chapters was prolonged: I bought the novel I read at any time and place, painfully happy to be in a world of the elect when I challenged the rest of the subway car. […]  Today, when dynamiting the most elementary social conventions is cool, I miss them like never before. His     [Waugh’s ?] world has vanished. Let’s not talk on television anymore: recurring voiceover (Charles’s seducer, a Jeremy Irons who consecrated himself here), literary phrases, prolonged monologues, seven-minute scenes, not a shout, a single bed scene … Unrepeatable. “I would like to bury something in the places where I have been happy; and as an old man, dig it up, remember it and be happy again”, Sebastian confesses. I have just done it.


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