R t V f F I

The Alfredo Landa Experience

In 1971 Alfredo Landa played the role of a countryman that set forth to emigrate in the film Come to Germany, Pepe.

Category: Cultura | 2 August, 2012
Editor: Daniel Vidal Hussey

In 2012, history repeats itself for many young people in Spain who only see three ways out ahead: by land, by sea or by air.

Pepe checked in at Munich Airport (MUC) on Foursquare“. That could be the start of a hypothetical remake of Vente a Alemania, Pepe [Come to Germany, Pepe]. It is an old film starring Alfredo Landa that is often rescued on Saturday afternoons on Spanish television. A remake would be fully justified: now, just like the time when the film was set, young Spaniards have to pack their stuff and migrate to find employment, quite often in Germany.

This new version of that 1971 film would tell us that now the youth unemployment rate is 50 %, half of the best-educated generation in the history of Spain. The leading role would probably be a youngster who is been to university and knows foreign languages. After 20 years educating him, the State is unable to keep him and he will be forced to migrate to more prosperous economies where he will not just be able to find work in his field of expertise but he will also do it for a salary that would be unimaginable in our country. In fact, this Come to Germany, Pepe 2.0 is screened every day on our Facebook wall, which is full of instagrams taken in the UK, France or Germany. The living conditions of the new emigrants are certainly better than what our grandparents lived when they went abroad to earn a living in the 60s, but ultimately that generation and ours go hand in hand: while their children — our parents — have always enjoyed a certain stability and constitute the basis (and the top) of our economy, we have found ourselves in the prime of life limited by a catastrophic setting.

There is no doubt that taking the exodus route has its appeal. If during the 60s Volkswagen and Telefunken were all the rage, today it might be extending an Erasmus stay and the euphoria of moving far away from our families’ wings. The television programme Españoles en el mundo [Spaniards form around the world] has also helped idealise emigration. However, exodus has its bitter side. The 1971 film disguised as a comedy a story of frustration, of running away to nowhere, of Spaniards in exile who were not quite sure of having a home country to go back to. Just like then, we will now hear of people missing tortilla and Iberic ham, but behind these frivolities lies a sense of having left your home and a scattered diaspora of friends around the globe with whom we share more WhatsApps than pints. It is the price you have to pay for having the balls to face the harsh reality.

Of course, both those leaving and those who stay to fight the crisis from within prove worthy heirs of their grandparents. That hardworking and honest generation that that made the “Spanish miracle” possible through effort and sacrifice, fighting to inch ever closer to the living standards of the Europeans that visited Spain and made people green with envy with their pounds, francs or marks. Yes, we are quite similar to our grandparents. Despite them not having any education nor being able to speak foreign languages. Despite us not listening to Juanito Valderrama singing: “When I left my land / I looked back crying / Because what I loved the most / Is what I was leaving behind”.

Category: Cultura | 2 August, 2012
Editor: Daniel Vidal Hussey
Tags:  Alfredo Landa @en, culture, film, Germany, Jaime Barber @en, Juanito Valderrama @en, La Barbería @en, paseo de gracia @en, passeig de gracia @en, Pepe @en,




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