surinenglish

No 'Wylers'

If I had been born in the UK I am convinced I would be one of those people who enthusiastically wave the British flag at the Queen's jubilees. I don't even need to specify which queen, because Elizabeth II is the only one who honours an institution in which I don't believe, but in her case I think it can almost be permitted because, after all, it is the English who invented nearly everything, including the monarchy.

Beyond the over-reaction that everything about the House of Windsor normally provokes in me, the British character has always fascinated me. I always think of that sequence in William Wyler's master work 'Mrs Miniver', in which the sacrosanct afternoon tea of Lady Beldon - an aristocrat in a fictitious village in England in 1940 - is interrupted by sirens warning of a Nazi air attack. The butler comes in and, after bowing, says "A bombardment, Milady".

This comic scene was Wyler's way of highlighting a decline in a certain way of life, because when deaths do not understand social class and pain is democratised (I won't say more because I don't want to spoil the film for those who haven't seen it), the world becomes, ironically, fairer.

Something similar is the central theme of another great work of cinema, because this is precisely 'Gone with the wind' in essence. That famous film, which very recently managed to fill the Cine Albéniz screening room 80 years after it premiered, illustrates the end of an era due to the American Civil War; the slavery in the southern United States. And although the prologue is practically an apology for racism, anybody who watches the film understands that the change that war produced turned that country into the great reference of the west.

I don't know if we are coming to the end of an era at the moment or not, but it isn't coincidental that I am talking about the British character, the monarchy and a changing trend.

In Britain the radical positions which caused Brexit have given the United Kingdom the dubious honour of no longer being a benchmark for democracy and unity which is deserving of a film by Wyler, and have transformed it into a dreadful sitcom which could have been produced for Netflix by a director nobody has heard of.

In Spain -and now that Iñaki Urdangarin is trending again - a new era also began when royalty was promenaded through the law courts in Palma for the first time. It is true that changes do always cause something in the way of vertigo, even if they are for the better, but I have to say that what really frightens me is not having someone like Wyler during this century, to tell us all about it in such a brilliant manner.