Raúl Arévalo: “Filming in Africa is a vital experience”

Raúl Arévalo (Móstoles, 1979) is not running out of projects. Present at the last San Sebastian Festival to announce the filming of ‘El lodo’, he participates these days in ‘Traición’, Harold Pinter’s classic, which was staged at the Kamikaze Theater in Madrid, and promotes ‘Black Beach’, which hit the bill a few weeks ago, where he plays Carlos, a senior executive of a multinational who must mediate in the kidnapping of an engineer in Africa.

-What seduced you about the project?

-First, Africa. Filming there is a vital experience. I knew Esteban Crespo for his shorts, which I loved, and he had met a couple of times at festivals. When he told me that he was thinking of me for a film to be shot in Ghana … Before reading the script I was already seduced. Then I found out that he would work with Candela Peña, and that was an incentive.

-Have you been before?

-Never. At most he had reached Morocco, Tangier and little.

-And how was the experience of filming there?

-As wonderful as it is complicated, but in the end it is an experience that you will always remember because of how beautiful and intense it has been. The negative is actually more of a personal issue than seeing what we already know in the first person. You feel more than ever a privileged person who says: “How horrible this is!”, But finally returns home knowing that there is little solution to the problems of inequality and social injustice.

-Give me an example.

-We were filming in a visually impressive, yet terrible place, on the outskirts of Accra. It was tons and tons of technological waste, pieces of mobile phones, computer screens … It was a town full of that. We asked if this was legal and a Spaniard told us that it was the largest technological dump in Europe, that all countries, including Spain, sent shit and made up donations.

“Real sweat”

-And where is the positive?

-The powerful energy that the earth has and the wonderful people there are. We were lucky that nothing serious happened on the set and the experience was tremendous. Acting is even easier. For me the complicated thing is what American actors do, that of acting with the green screen behind, but when you are in Africa, with the heat and the real sweat, it is easier.

-It is a ‘thriller’ with a message about how the resources of developing countries are exploited. Do you think you can contribute to raising awareness?

-More than we see it every day on television … I think that, among the objectives of the cinema, is to denounce and publicize injustices, but unfortunately we already know these kinds of things. In the end, perhaps what interests me most about the film is that thing that until you get close to something, you don’t get involved. And this is something that can be transferred, saving distances, to the pandemic. The people who participate in the bottles or in the demonstrations I doubt that they would do so if they had a sick close relative. And that’s what happens to my character a bit.

-Do you think human beings are selfish by nature?

-I don’t know if I’d say that much. I want to think that it depends on the person but that we tend to be selfish or that the system leads us to that, of course.

-You stick your good careers in the film, did you train a lot?

-I’m not very athletic, but I did work to be a little fit. Running there in hot temperatures and 95% humidity was a beating.

-He starred in ‘Betrayal’. Does seeing the public with a mask detract a lot?

-A very curious thing happens. In the theater, there is always someone who coughs, who opens a candy wrapper … There are always little noises. We have already done ten days of performance and not a cough, I only heard a throat clearing. Now we are embarrassed to cough and concentration is maximum. There is a deathly silence. It has become sacred.

-He has been chaining papers for many years. Does one stop fearing the blank year?

-No, because you know it comes sooner or later. My mother always tells me: “Save for the lean cows!” If you watch the races of the greats, there are always stops. I have reread the autobiography of Fernando Fernán Gómez. He had long periods when he needed money and work. It goes by streaks.

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