Josep Guardiola & Fernando Trueba
JG: I've always thought, in your profession...directing a movie is such a slow process, how can you derive pleasure from that? In what moment do you tell yourself: "yeah, this is it, this is.."
FT: To me when I'm directing time goes really fast.
JG: Come again?
FT: It's really fast, for me.
JG: Puta madre...
FT: I mean, when I'm directing, I feel like everything is happening so fast..
JG: Oh yeah?
FT: Joder---You don't have time to think, it's like you're running after something all the time. They look at each other, FT turns to the crew.
FT: We haven't started yet. Or have we started?
Crew: Ok, we can start now.
JG: When I'm in the changing room, the thing I most envy my players is that I can't go with them in the tunnel, in those spaces where they are before training and after.. those are the best moments for a player, and it reminds me constantly that sometimes I still feel like I'm one. When you work with younger people, watch them interact, in the changing room, on the pitch and so on, you realize you're a grown-up and have graduated from all that.
FT: But that's nostalgia. Do you long for those times? The camaraderie, tha laughing...
JG: Yes, very much. And at the same time I don't want to intrude on my players because they see me as someone superior in rank, as a coach... I try to change that, you know if you're working with other people you need the complicity, the human touch...
FT: And when you were their age, did you ever see yourself as a coach one day?
JG: At 25 I already knew I wanted to be a coach.
FT: Wow. You reached the future you had imagined when you were 25. And now, how do you imagine your future now?
JG: Not a day goes by in which I don't think "I'm leaving tomorrow". I think whenever you're in a position where you're managing something, you have to think that if you want, the next day you can just walk away. I think I work best when I know I have the freedom to decide my own future. Those long-term contracts where you have to stay, even if you're not comfortable anymore... they give me so much anxiety. Do you think that you keep making movies because your passion spurs you on?
FT: Yes, but that is the problem.
JG: Have you lost your passion?
FT: No way! If I ever lose my passion, I'll call it quits. I don't think I could ever direct a movie without that. But it's more than that... I'm not religious, never have been, but I always say, the only thing I pray for, if you can call it praying, is that I never lose that passion. I have always obsessed about it: when directors get old, some of them make their best movies, others their worst. And human beings in general: some age well, others less well. We all have our own rhythm: some people give their very best at 20, others at 80, there is no written rule. There are many differences between being a movie director and a football player, but for example I see many directors that get left behind when they're older, they can't find work anymore because then come new directors, you know, younger ones who are making movies to connect with the so-called "young audiences" that the whole world is obsessed with pleasing right now... and then there's the "older director syndrome", which is: they accept whatever project comes their way. I mean they'll accept *anything*, just to stay alive: to get out of their homes, to still be part of the profession. The other day a French actor, he's old now, he told me a really interesting story about Belmondo. He and [famous French actor] Belmondo are close friends; they're over 80 now. So, Belmondo suddenly stars in this horrible movie, and so the other French actor asks him "but why did you have to go and make that terrible movie" and Belmondo answers him "because I need to wake up in the morning and walk on a set, and see the electricians and the rest of the crew there, and talk to the poeple. To still know what it is to be part of a film crew. I couldn't care less that the movie was bad." I thought it was a very nice story, I really understood what he was telling me.
JG: I learned this too in a way. I was coached by Javi Clemente, he was Spain NT coach and La Liga champion with Athletic Bilbao. After that he signed a contract and went on to manage the Iraq NT! Or José Antonio Camacho, he coached Real Madrid, he won 200 million Ligas with them (
were saying about Belmondo...
FT: Yes, yes. Your past gives you what people call "experience". But for example Perich [Jaume Perich i Escala, T/N], great humorist and philosopher, used to say that you can't teach experience, that experience is useless. That maybe it is our fate tomake mistakes, you know, and we should focus on the future, because the past is gone, for instance, in your case, you can't go back to being a player.
JG: That's right. Um. What do you think of the idea, seems to be a trend lately, that "young people nowadays never make an effort", that they have become lazy...
FT: It doesn't surprise me. It's because they are overestimated.
JG: Young people?
FT: Yes. We live in a world that is obsessed with youth. Old people want to be young again, everything seems to be cenetered on the importance of being young. Magazines for young people, young fashion, movies made for a young audience. I've had it up to here with young people!
FT: There's this overproportionate "cult of youth". I mean, I think we should have a little more attention towards elder people, there's so much you can actually learn from them, they represent "experience" in the good sense of the word.
[there seems to be a change of subject here]
JG: I think people make plans based on what their life has been up to that moment, and not necessarily because they have thought things out. For example, I cannot seem to be able to plan things long-term, that is, further than six months, a year, tops. I get tired thinking further ahead than that. It's impossible for me. What I like to plan on the other hand, and this is the best part of my job, is planning the next week game. The most exciting thing for me is trying to imagine what's going to happen on the pitch tomorrow. I have my players, like set pieces, and I know my opponent's, and I try to imagine exactly what's going to happen.
FT: And does what you imagine actually happen?
JG: With Messi, yeah, all the time. Man, of course [smiles].
FT: I mean, exactly how you imagined it?
JG: Well, not exactly, of course. But you think, ok, our opponents usually play a certain way, so if we do this other thing, we're going to fuck with them. I mean, it's a game. We have perverted it of course, turned it into a business, many people live off of it, but at the end of the day we mustn't forget that it's a game - that is what gives meaning to my profession. It's a game. You want to play it better than me, and vice versa. You have your pieces and I have mine, and if I know you well enough I'll know how you're going to use them, and I'll plan the next day's game accordingly. That's it. Planning the game and explaining to your players exactly what you want them to do. That's what fuels my profession. And still, it's a game, nothing else. Know your opponent, and try to play better than him. The whole point is not to defeat your opponent, to say "yeah, we beat them". I never think that, I focus instead, during the game, on thinking if what I imagined the day before is happening on the pitch or not. If it is, then I'm completely fullfilled as a coach. If it isn't, it's because I was wrong wrong about something and I have to understand the reasons why things are not going as I planned.
FT: Yes, but there's no such thing as "things went wrong". Things just happen the way they happen, you have to accept it. Happens to me all the time with movies. Directors usually say "I'm going to direct a movie, let's see if I can make the movie exactly as I imagine it in my mind". That movie is a dream, it doesn't exist. What matters is not what you dream it will be, it's the movie you actually MAKE. You have to concentrate on the movie you are making while you are making it. Work with reality, not some stupid dream in your head. Try not to be too hung up on utopias. Utopias don't exist. You can dream about them, think about them, even write them in a book, but they don't exist in reality. Dreams are just the spark to light up the fuse, but they must remain that. That's why we say when we talk about politics that utopias are dangerous, because real people are always sacrificed on that altar. I'm not saying dreaming is wrong. But it's also important to try to change reality for the better bit by bit, realistically. If you think you want to create the perfect society, you're never gonna get there. So step by step you go, and try to have as much fun as you can while you do so. I like this philosophy of a life full of pleasures. I hate what they teach you growing up, that life is suffering and sacrifice. I despise that concept. I do not want neither sacrifice nor suffering, I want to concentrate on the pleasure only.
JG: [talking about Messi here:] When you see this kid playing in a stadium, you can't forget he was a kid playing on the streets. People say "Yes, but now they're winning trophies and stuff". Yes, they are, but if they weren't they'd still be playing, with friends, maybe meet up for a bbq and then playing for fun. I have yet to meet a footballer who doesn't like what he's doing. The great majority of the things I've learned in life was through sports. I've learned that you can lose, that someone can be better than you, to get back up after a loss, to know when you haven't done things well, to strive to do them better next time. When there's a teammate that is better than you, to have the coach tell you "you're benched today" or "you behavior was bad today, so you're not going to play next time".
FT: Sport was your education.
JG: That's right. Sport was my education. And it wasn't about learning notions, you just learn by being a part of it, every day, through interactions. That's why team sports have an added plus with respect to individual sports. Today I work hard and I help you, but tomorrow I know you'll help me in return. We work together to reach a common objective. And on top of that, there's the game, you know, you get to play! We've erased that word from sports nowadays but that's what we do. We play a game. I play when I'm dreaming about tomorrow's game, and the players are playing, every day. And always, always there's the ball involved. You give them a ball, and they're all over it, it's like throwing dogs a bone.
FT: You know, it's the same thing in both theater and film. Actors act in so many different languages, and they're playing too. What you and me do, at the end of the day, is a game. It's something we have in common. And in particular, your job as a coach and mine as a director, which is extremely important to point out, is that we have to be able to draw out the best in the people we work with.
JG: [nods] Yes, and it's also the most difficult thing about our job.
FT: Exactly, because you have to be a bit of a psychologist, you have to be a little manipulative... you must know how to talk with people, to explain yourself well. And it's complicated, because you work with all sorts of people.
JG: [nods vehemently]. There's a volleyball coach, Julio Velasco, he's Argentinian. He revolutionized volleyball in Italy, he won everything with them. One day I approached him, I really wanted to meet him. He told me this, it's a great truth and I learned it from him: coaches keep telling you "you're all the same, youare equal" but that's the biggest lie ever. Especially in sports, they're not all the same. And you cannot treat them all the same. Yes of course, they all deserve the same amount of respect, that's a given in all relationships between humans. But you have to treat different people in a different way if you want to draw out the best in them. For example, you may have to invite a player out for dinner outside of the work environment [
FT: Exactly! Sometimes they ask me "what's your method of directing?" they speak of it as a single act, 'directing'. And I'm like, I direct every single actor in a different way! With some actors you have to talk and talk for days; others will get you without having to utter one word. So we can't speak about one single "method" of directing. Every human being is part of a different species! You can't speak the same language with a giraffe, and elephant or a chimpanzee. Same goes for actors and footballers.
JG: You also have to behave differently according to what you perceive about them in a given moment.
FT: Well, yes. According to that intuition and based on how well you know them, on what you know something will motivate them. With some actors you have to have a very delicate approach when you talk to them, with others two words and they've got you, you don't have to tell them anything, they're the ones who could explain it to you! So yes, each of us is different.
JG: [looks around] You wanna go for a bite? Future is our topic, right? Then lunch is what the future holds for us [smiles].
[They get up]
FT: Señor... It was a pleasure.
JG: The pleasure was mine.
"This has been a Banco Sabadell production, it was recorded on Sept 6th 2011 in Barcelona."
Note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julio_Velasco <-- this entry on wiki doesn't even begin to make justice on what Velasco represented and still represents to Italian sports, or how much I actually love the guy. Check him out if you can :33