Archive of films The Dead Man and Being Happy / El muerto y ser feliz

Spain / Argentina / France
2012, 94 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2013

Five thousand kilometres of black comedy about a weary and ailing hired assassin fleeing Buenos Aires, an unfulfilled contract, and his past. The film won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 60th San Sebastian IFF and lead actor José Sacristán was presented with a Silver Shell. The film was also a hit at the 50th New York FF and at Toulouse.


While shooting a documentary about terminally ill patients, Javier Rebollo met a man describing himself as a "tumour factory” who became the inspiration for the director’s third feature film: as an elderly, hired assassin, Santos knows that all roads lead to the hereafter. This time, lying in a room on the top floor of a hospital in Buenos Aires, he realises he’ll be heading that way as well pretty soon: he’s 75 and has three tumours. But despite his pain and waning strength, he is talked into accepting another job. Instead of carrying it out, however, he decides to do a runner; he doses himself up with morphine and sets off on a trip across Argentina, heading nowhere in particular. Taking a simple plotline, the unclassifiable film director develops his road movie as a modern chivalric romance and as an experiment in which he makes consistent use of voice-over (provided by the film’s scriptwriter Lola Mayo, whom Rebollo describes as his spiritual twin), however, the narrative gradually opens out into a multi-layered tale about the origin of myths.

About the director

Javier Rebollo (b. 1969, Madrid) started out working as a news editor for Telemadrid (1993-99). In 1996 he co-founded Lolita Films production company, where he shot a series of internationally awarded documentaries. He regularly collaborates with Lola Mayo, cofounder of the company and screenwriter on his documentaries and features. His feature film debut Lo que sé de Lola (2006) was nominated for a Goya Award and it won the FIPRESCI Prize at the London IFF. His second film Woman Without Piano (La mujer sin piano, 2009), co-starring Jan Budař, won Best Film at Los Angeles, a Silver Shell at the San Sebastian IFF for Best Direction, and was also named Spanish Film of the Year. Both films were screened at Karlovy Vary. His third feature The Dead Man and Being Happy won a Silver Shell at the San Sebastian IFF 2012 for best male actor.


Urban Distribution International
14, rue du 18 Août, 93100, Montreuil
Tel: +33 148 704 656
Fax: +33 149 720 421

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Javier Rebollo
Screenplay: Lola Mayo, Javier Rebollo, Salvador Roselli
Dir. of Photography: Santiago Racaj
Editor: Ángel Hernández Zoido
Producer: José Nolla, Lola Mayo, Damián París, Luis Miñaro
Production: Icónica, Lolita Films, Eddie Saeta
Cast: José Sacristán, Roxana Blanco, Valeria Alonso
Contact: Urban Distribution International

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