Joaquín Sabina, terrified before going on stage, crying in a bullring for the gored right-hander, or taking stock of his life at home. Intimate moments portrayed in “Feeling it a lot”, a documentary presented last Saturday at the San Sebastian Festival.
It is a work by the Spanish director Fernando León de Aranoa, a close friend of Sabina, who had privileged access to the singer, poet and painter for 13 years.
”The first thing I did was tell him (León de Aranoa) that he didn’t need a key to enter anywhere. Summarizing in bad Spanish: that he caught me shitting. And that has done it that way, ”said Sabina with a laugh at a press conference in the city in northern Spain. So “it is not a documentary to the glory of an artist, but rather a piece of a singer’s life,” continued the 73-year-old artist.
“My wife, who is not at all prone to compliments, (…) the first thing she told me was that Fernando had taken my soul” in the film, Sabina recounted with her characteristic raspy voice.
León de Aranoa intersperses images of the singer in various facets of his life with pieces of conversations in the living room of his house in Madrid, in the hours before a concert or on the way to a dinner with mariachis in Mexico City, to draw a in-depth profile of the artist. “Not a particularly testimonial documentary, with people giving their opinion about his music or his work, but live situations,” said the director. The film, screened in a special presentation during the San Sebastian festival, is full of revealing moments, such as when Sabina has to go to the bathroom to vomit because of her nerves before going on stage.
“It seems unbelievable that with 40 years of profession this happens to me”, he confesses at that moment.
“It was sex, drugs and rock. It lasted until the age of 50. Not bad, huh?” says Sabina on another occasion, who is still active although with a healthier life. The idea for the documentary came from Sabina himself, who first invited León de Aranoa to follow him with a camera 13 years ago, when he was on his way to the south of Spain to compose songs for a new album.
From the back of a car, Sabina can be seen as the co-driver discussing the lyrics of the song Cristales de Bohemia with the poet Benjamín Prado, with whom she discusses words to make it more sonorous.
León de Aranoa is a front-row witness to events that have marked the singer’s life, such as when he was in the Aguascalientes bullring in 2010, Mexico watching his friend José Tomás fight, and the right-hander received a goring that almost ended his life.
Shocked, Sabina can’t help but cry. Just hours later, when the bullfighter was undergoing surgery and was not yet out of danger, the singer had to get on stage to give a concert in front of thousands of people.
There is also his spectacular fall from the stage when he gave a concert with Joan Manuel Serrat in Madrid in 2020, which caused him a stroke; but the documentary still includes many happy moments, such as when Sabina visits her hometown of Úbeda (southern Spain) to receive recognition.
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“It is a pleasure to work with friends and I think that is one of the good things about the documentary, that you see that joy of being with loved ones,” he summed up Sabine At the press conference. After a break due to the accident in Madrid and the covid-19 pandemic, Sabina announced that she is preparing an album with unreleased songs and that next year she will tour Latin America and Spain to present it.