Today, Saturday 13 May, is the 30th anniversary of the premiere of kitten, monkeythe movie of Leonardo Favio about Constitución’s shoe shiner who became Juan Domingo Perón’s favorite boxer.
And if you want to find trivia, the first was six months before the 30th anniversary of the death of Jose Maria Gatica. She was 38 when he was in a car accident in Avellaneda, which we will discuss later.
At that time, the director of Chronicle of a lonely child I was coming off a drought, in terms of filmmaking, for 17 years. The last one he had presented was dream, dreamwith Gian Franco Pagliaro and Carlos Monzón, in 1976. After the coup that overthrew María Estela Martínez de Perón, she went into exile in Colombia, from where she made concert tours in the region.
That year, 1993, was the year of a certain revival of national cinema. If 1992 had brought the public back to the theaters of Calle Lavalle, not with passing comedies, but with dramatic proposals –A place in the worldby Adolfo Aristarain; The dark side of the heart, by Eliseo Subiela; AND Voyageby Pino Solanas-, Marcelo Piñeyro made his directorial debut with fierce tangoand it was devastating.
Strangely, kitten, monkey It was not a film born from an idea by Favio. Era Edgardo Nieva, who would play him after undergoing three surgeries on his facecreator of the project.
Nieva had not even done a gig in films, and went to the Argentine Actors Association to ask who were good screenwriters. They quoted Zuhair Jury, Leonardo’s brother. She contacted him and told him she wanted to hire him to write the script.
A few years ago, Nieva himself recalled that “he advised me to buy time and learn to box, because it would take a year. I went to Abel Laudonio, a former boxer, and he gave me a very hard workout.”
Zuhair handed him the script in mid-1988. When he asked who would direct it, Nieva told him “You”, because he didn’t know anyone. Zuhair told him this script was for “his little brother”. Leonardo was, as we said, in Colombia, far from the world of cinema.
He got Favio’s phone number, called him and the director asked him to send him pictures dressed as a boxer. Nieva would do it until Zuhair stopped him. It seems that the portraits were disastrous, she told her that Leonardo was coming to Buenos Aires to give concerts and that she wanted to meet him in person.
“He came and sang and went away. He never called me, ”said Nieva. To summarize: in 89 Favio came to Argentina with the idea of filming the life of Severino Di Giovanni, but the revolt of La Tablada was very fresh, and it was not the right time to portray an anarchist.
Zuhair convinces him to do it kitten, and Favio asks Nieva to meet in a bar. And he says:
-I dreamed of a teenager Gatica, 18 years old.
And he offers Nieva… the role of co-star.
After a few exchanges – that if he wanted he would have returned the money he had paid his brother for the screenplay, but Favio wanted to direct it; that he was abandoning the project-, the director convinced Edgardo to change “a little face”.
Nieva underwent three operations, during which her eyes were gouged out, her nose enlarged and her earlobes cut off.
The rest is history. Argentina in the shortlist kitten, monkey for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 1994 Oscars, but it was withdrawn by Leonardo Favio himself, it was said that it was a way to denounce the problems of Argentine cinema.
Then Nieva dreamed of being Juan Manuel de Rosas. He failed to do it.
Perón was president when, together with his wife Eva Duarte, he attended the front row at Luna Park. They were the godparents of the first daughter of Gatica-he baptized her María Eva-. The Presidency of the Nation financially supported Gatica’s first trip abroad. He came to fight at the legendary Madison Square Garden. Although he has never won a title, he has gained respect and popularity, whether for his boxing, his charisma or his Peronist militancy.
On November 10, 1963, Gatica left the Double Visera, Independiente’s stadium, in Avellaneda, where he sold Red Devils stickers to earn a living. Independiente beat River Plate, who had reached the top of the table that match, 2-1, but with two dates remaining in the Torneo, the Reds exited as champions.
He was hit by a 295 bus. He was in Herrera and Pedro de Luján. The medical side indicated that he had suffered fractures to several ribs, vertebrae and pelvis. He was admitted to Rawson Hospital in Buenos Aires, where he died two days later on November 12.
Today there are neither Favio nor Nieva, nor Rodolfo Mórtola, who oversaw the artistic direction of the film and was more than a friend of Favio, to recall the premiere. The film didn’t break any public records, as they had Juan Moreira (1973), with Rodolfo Bebán, e Nazareno Cruz and the wolf (1975), with Juan José Camero and Alfredo Alcón.
But those are other stories.
Charles Hurd is an entertainment journalist for News Rebeat. He brings a fresh and engaging voice to the world of pop culture, covering the latest developments in film, television, music, and more.