February 24, 2024

As one of five intriguing titles selected by the Madrid Film School’s ECAM Incubator, now on its sixth year, Charli Bujosa Cortés’ feature debut “¿Es usted secuestrable?” (“Are You Kidnappable?”) offers a hybrid of sorts. He describes it as non-binary, just like him. 

Developed at Eurodoc, Mallorca Talents Lab and the Mentoring Project of L’Alternativa Desarrolla among others, the film turns on Bujosa Cortés’ eccentric aunt Carmen, who in 1977, was one of the hostages in a plane hijacking that criss-crossed the globe for almost three days. 

In the event that made headlines around the world, Italian car mechanic Luciano Porcari hijacked the plane to the Ivory Coast to gain custody of his young daughter as well as a ransom. He then forced the pilots to take him to Morocco but they ended up hop scotching to Seville, Zurich, Turin, Warsaw, and ultimately failed to reach Moscow where the self-confessed communist wanted to turn himself in.

“Identity, belonging, subjectivity or one’s own memory seem to be my great songs as a creator,” says Bujosa Cortes. “My aunt Carmen, who knows me well, one day suggested that I make a film about one of her experiences, her top, probably most-told story: Her delirious and surreal letter of introduction, the time when, aged 24, she found herself stuck for almost three days on a hijacked plane and traveling halfway around the world.”

Her Aunt Carmen always starts her story by saying, “I have to admit that I had a great time.” A retired family doctor, she is now 70 and lives happily ensconced in her house that resembles a vaulted cave or perhaps, the interior of a plane.

As they revisit the memory of that momentous hijacking, other hidden and less noticeable “hijackings” come to the surface: Carmen never leaves the house, and Charli doesn’t understand why it took so long to accept herself as a trans person or how to deal with it now.

Although Carmen doesn’t step out, she receives a good number of visitors, enchanted by the Alice in Wonderland look and feel of her home. 

“She has not isolated herself from the world, instead she has created her own world,” Bujosa Cortés points out. As they together dig into the facts of the case, the documentary turns into an investigative true crime story and shifts into a fiction format before reverting to a documentary construct again, says Bujosa Cortés. 

“We’ll be filming mostly in Carmen’s storybook home and any archival material we dig up will be brought to her so that they can go over it together,” says producer Veronica Galán, who sees the shoot beginning this autumn until the next. Charli acts as a bridge to the outside world, providing testimonies, experts, and archives that help advance the narrative and attempt to validate or refute Carmen’s memories.

Given their company Mansalva Films’ work in animation, co-founded with David Castro, producer of the Goya-nominated short film “Uka,” Bujosa Cortés has not ruled out including some scenes in stop-motion animation, perhaps to re-enact some incidents. 

“With such a unique character like Carmen, who is incredibly charismatic, audacious, and magnetic, much like Julita in ‘Muchos hijos, un mono y un castillo’ or Carmina in ‘Carmina o revienta,’ a director like Charli, with her boundless imagination, is the only person I see capable of carrying out such an experimental proposal in terms of mixing genres, tones, and languages,” said Galán, adding: “This project promises to be a profound and contemporary reflection, and I am excited to see how it unfolds.”

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